Book Clubs in Pupil Referral Units (PRUs)

A scrapbook filled with pictures from the book of Kerb Stain Boys by Alex Wheatle

Book Clubs in Pupil Referral Units (PRUs)

Thanks to funding from the People’s Postcode Lottery, we created a pilot project to run book clubs with an animation project in two Pupil Referral Units (PRUs) in 2020/21.

We began the project in Francis Barber PRU in Wandsworth and the Manchester PRU in January 2020. Our patron Alex Wheatle, the author of our featured book for this project Kerb Stain Boys, visited them to talk about his life and answer pupils’ questions. 

We then went into Covid restrictions and although the schools remained open, it was difficult to work with them to run the workshops. But they did run book clubs and gave useful feedback to develop our work with PRUs. 

In September 2021, we re-started the programme working with two new PRUs and Animating Education to create the project around Kerb Stain Boys. This worked really well as it allowed children who were not usually engaged with reading to see the book as a means to draw, model, animate and create voiceovers and music to accompany their work.

Brent River PRU created an animation using drawings and Street Vibes used clay modelling and wrote a rap. The school links show the finished animations. We also interviewed the Deputy head of Brent River, Andy Connick as part of the evaluation process.

‘This kind of project really brings reading to life. It makes them enjoy the book more as they are now looking forward to reading it. We also have a lot of really creative students who didn’t really know what to do with that outside of an art lesson. I think showing them the different parts of an animation project…shows that there are so many artistic outlets.’

You can watch the full evaluation film here 

This year, thanks to funding from John Lyon’s charity and Sir Richard Whittington Charity administered by The Mercers’ Company, we have extended our work with Animating Education to four more PRUs. This time we are working with the graphic novel edition of Kwame Alexander’s book The Crossover. We look forward to sharing their work. We are already planning for next year and working out how to develop our offer to PRUs further, exploring working more closely with authors and illustrators and testing if drama and music could also be used to engage pupils in the books. 

If you are a PRU and interested in working with us, please get in touch. 

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