West Lothian schools project enters second phase

A research project led by the University of Strathclyde is seeking a new group of West Lothian volunteers aged between 60 and 85, to help find out how older people can help primary school pupils in their attainment. 

The study, by Strathclyde’s School of Psychological Sciences & Health, is exploring ways in which older adults can support pupils from P1-P4 in activities including reading and writing. It is also considering the benefits offering this support can bring to older people. 

The project, entitled Generation for Generation, is aiming to promote health and wellbeing in older adults, while also improving young children’s attainment at school.

The project has been running at four primary schools in West Lothian and has seen a positive response from volunteering adults.

One of the volunteers, Mona, said: “I am thoroughly enjoying working with a Primary 2 group.  The children are enthusiastic, well mannered and well behaved. It's great to be able to help and encourage them to meet their potential.”

Another adult taking part in the project, Jerry, said: “I am really enjoying just helping the children plus teachers and I am certainly experiencing and seeing things in a fresh light. I should have done something like this before I became a parent myself!”

Volunteers will be asked to complete questionnaires and tasks looking at abilities such as memory and attention, on three occasions - before, during, and after taking part in the programme. Prior experience of working in schools or with children is not required.

Eileen Brennan, head teacher of a participating school, said: “This is a really exciting project which we are delighted to be part of.  Our volunteers are a real asset to our school, helping and assisting our teachers to raise pupil attainment in a variety of ways.   Please get involved if you can.”

The researchers are seeking volunteers who would be willing to commit four hours per day, two days per week, for six months in the current school year. They can apply to join one of the six participating primary schools, which are in Bathgate, Whitburn, and Blackburn.

Information on the study, including participation, can be obtained by emailing Anna Krzeczkowska or calling 07376 468498.