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Investment Bank

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Pupil reading in the library
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As part of our citizenship commitment, Barclays colleagues volunteer their time to help engage and inspire pupils at Thomas Buxton Primary School in Whitechapel in the East End of London.

For young people growing up in inner cities, life experiences can sometimes be limited to what’s happening in their family and local community.

When we started working with Thomas Buxton Primary School, where many of the pupils do not speak English at home, they wanted to focus on broadening the children’s horizons. We agreed to embark on two literacy projects, focusing on reading and writing to help prepare the pupils for the rest of their school career and beyond.

The pen pal scheme for Year 5 students, which has now run for four years, puts pupils in regular contact with Barclays team members working all across the business, and gives the children the opportunity to learn about the different jobs people do at Barclays.

“It’s great for the children, and it’s also a great opportunity for colleagues to engage with the communities we work in”
Richard Martin, Investment Bank, Barclays

Richard Martin is one of our pen pals and a helps co-ordinate the scheme, ensuring all sixty pupils at Thomas Buxton who take part receive letters from their pen pals every month. He and the children said one of the highlights of the scheme was the class trip to visit the Barclays offices, meet their pen pals in person and discover what it’s like to work for a large financial services company. They meet lots of different members of the Barclays team, including bankers, analysts, security and hospitality staff, and take part in inspirational sessions, like coding and robotics workshops.

Barclays has also worked with the teachers and staff at Thomas Buxton to enhance the learning environment of the school itself.

The 2nd project, the Library Of Everything, was a fundraising and renovation project to create a new, exciting space in the school’s library where children could come together with their friends and families to discover new stories and be inspired to write their own too.

The projects have been tremendous successes, helping excite and inspire the children at Thomas Buxton about reading, writing, and the world of business. We’re delighted that the school was recently ranked as outstanding by Ofsted, with a special mention for the development of literacy skills.

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