Catholic Life

Essex school introduces new ‘buddy’ system

New Hall School sixth-formers are shown practising the buddy system as they teach reading to junior girls

New Hall school in Essex has introduced a new “buddy” scheme this year which involves the oldest students in the school (age 18) working alongside the youngest pupils in the school (aged three).

Interested sixth-form students were invited to meet the head of Pre-Reception, Carole Hedditch-Grey, to have a mini-interview and to discuss the expectation of the role, including taking part in differing types of activities with the children.

The response was fantastic, so much so that at least 24 applied, too many for Pre-Reception, and so some now support other pupils in the preparatory school with their reading.

Pre-Reception now has 16 students visiting weekly who do various activities with the children including storytelling, baking, painting and garden play. The students were also invited to devise and plan their own activities, if they wanted to, which might correspond to their own interests and study.

For example, one student who is studying science plans to carry out an experiment with the children, looking at the growth of beans into plants, which will involve helping them to watch, tend for and talk about their own plant.

Carole Hedditch-Grey said: “The sixth-form students have been taking their roles very seriously and the results have been incredibly pleasing. The children get so excited when their students arrive and it is fantastic to see the relationships moulding and a lovely trust emerging.”

New Hall School in Chelmsford, founded in 1642, is the oldest Catholic school in England that has always taken girls.