A word with the big guys...

7th August 1998 at 01:00
BURLY MEN most certainly read books, that's the message. At least, they do when they visit the Douay Martyrs school.

The Catholic comprehensive in Ickenham, north-west London, wants a more rounded profile for its hero males. So for the past two weeks its summer reading scheme has featured a succession of literary hard men.

The RAF, police dog-handlers, the fire brigade, and the US Navy have all pitched in for an hour or so to talk about their work, uniforms and reading habits.

"Having 'big' guys endorsing reading is really important," says Dawn Rimmer, who organised the summer school. "We're aware that underachieving boys could benefit from positive male role models."

"There's a definite respect," says her colleague, Nanci Lister. The visitors have been enthusiastically received by the 30 "emergent readers", all taken from nearby primary schools.

This is one of 500 schemes around the country funded by the government. It gives 11-year-olds a chance to strengthen their reading before facing up to secondary school for real next month.

The US Navy played its part. First-class petty officers, in full Gene Kelly gear, spent their time with the boys on the better points of life: warfare, cars, horror and, naturally, global disaster. More Janes Book of Fighting Ships than Jane Eyre.

In fact they did fine job in shrugging off the stereotypes. For a start, threee of the six naval visitors were disconcertingly female.

The guys proved to be religious programme specialist Patrick Turner, who supports the chaplaincy, and Legalman Bill Brock - who is a lawyer. They have not done much fighting. Based at nearby RAF West Ruislip, they help to co-ordinate US Navy operations in Britain.

Had they actually been to sea? Well not entirely, says Legalman Brock, who hopes to go on an aircraft carrier, soon.

As for books, they pronounce Stephen King to be good stuff. Their colleague Barry Owens, a reservist military policeman, claims to be chewing through a history of the Scottish bagpipes.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now