Extra Time

The Extra Time Literacy Scheme is Portsmouth charity Faith & Football's response to an increasing number of younger children who are underachieving in reading. Being able to read is a basic building block for life which all children need to fulfil their potential.

Faith & Football have designed and written a reading scheme based on Bible stories, which is delivered in schools to year 2 pupils (6 & 7 year olds). The scheme aims to equip children to become confident and literate so that they may be enabled to realise their full potential as they progress through their education.


The school identify the children who would benefit from this extra help and obtain the permission of the parents. Trained volunteers go to the school for 1 hour a week between October and July. Each child spends 30 minutes with a mentor and then there is a 30 minute group session where they explore Bible Stories, Prayer and life lessons from the Bible. Reading books are sent home to encourage the children to read with their families.

We are now in our 8th year of running the scheme in St Johns School and have had the privilege of working with 88 children in this time. Some of these have had English as an additional language and been from other faiths.

At Christmas, Easter and at the end of the scheme the children’s families are invited to join us for a celebration of the children’s progress and achievement. At the end of the year each child is presented with a Bible.

Some of the families we have got to know through the scheme have connected in with our mid-week activities.

The school assess the children’s reading levels at the beginning and end of the year. Last year we saw all the children improving their reading levels between 11 months and a massive 52 months. It is a privilege and joy to be part of their progress.There are many highlights throughout the year – often in things the children say

A prayer written by one of the boys “Dear God Thank you for Billy Elliot and sleep overs. Please be my friend. Amen” A worksheet completed by one of the girls: “My best friend is….. God and Jesus because…… I love them so so so much”

At the end of the year we asked the children “What have you learnt about Jesus?” Some of their answers were:
That Jesus does miracles
That he saves people
That Jesus loves me
He was a good man
I learnt that Jesus is the son of God

We have some great conversations with the children. In our first group session this Term we were looking at the story of creation. One of the boys asked “why did God make bad things like bees and wasps?” The following week we did the next part of the story with Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit. The same boy suddenly said “so that’s why bees and wasps sting!!”

It is a privilege to be part of a programme that changes the lives of children in our community.

© 2019 Locks Heath Free Church