Back to school appeal

Help us stop the lockdown from stealing children's futures

Among those who have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 lockdown measures are children.

As a result of the pandemic, children are now facing unprecedented disruption to their education.

The closure of schools has meant that many disadvantaged children have been without access to technology or learning resources that would allow them to continue their academic progress.  With limited access to people outside of their household and with the restrictions of social distancing, there has been little or no support from wider members of the family, their friends, their teachers or the support networks at school. This is an emergency we cannot ignore.

Even before the crisis, 1 in 4 children leaving primary school last year didn’t reach the expected standard of reading – that’s 174,000 children left behind. 

We need to be there to support children’s wellbeing and education when they return to school, to make sure that disadvantaged children are not permanently left behind.

When schools go back we will:

  • Provide dedicated one-to-one reading help for children who struggle with reading.
  • Offer 6 weeks of prepared lesson materials for children’s return to school.
  • Support for teachers with online resources to strengthen children’s mental and physical wellbeing. 

With your support, we can help more children learn the joy of reading and flourish at school and ensure the crisis does not hold back a generation of children.

Will you join us in protecting children’s wellbeing and transforming the future of those who are left behind?

Let us introduce you to Sophie, one of the children whose reading progress was disrupted by the lockdown.

Sophie’s story


When Sophie* first met one of our dedicated Coram Beanstalk reading volunteers, she could not engage at all. Sophie was unresponsive, refused to read, and would ask to go back to class as soon as their session started. She was failing most of her classes.


Barely able to get a few words out of her, our reading helper thought of talking to the school coordinator about the difficulties she was experiencing. However, just before she approached the school coordinator, Sophie opened up and confided in her reading helper that she lived alone with her mother and did not know who her father was.


This is when she knew she had found a way in with Sophie. She remembered the story of Pippi Longstocking, a nine year old girl with no parents who led an incredible life! Sophie’s attitude completely changed: she fell in love with every adventure, reading page after page, recognising herself in Pippi’s stories.


The impact that Pippi Longstocking had on Sophie’s wellbeing cannot be quantified. Through Pippi Longstocking, Sophie found someone she could finally relate to, a story she engaged with and made her feel excited about her own life. Her individualised reading support also helped to build her confidence, her focus in class and her academic skills.


But the lockdown has put a halt on Sophie’s wellbeing and that of thousands of children like her.


*Not her real name

Your support can mean that children like Sophie will not be left behind once they return to school.

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