Reading for pleasure in Alternative Provision schools

As part of a series of pilot projects, the first of which was run with Gloucestershire Hospitals Education Service (GHES), we also explored how we could adapt our projects and resources for other educational settings. This led to us work with Gloucester & Forest Alternative Provision School (GFAPS), an alternative provider of education, to get a better understanding of how we could work with staff there to help the pupils to read for pleasure more.

Gloucester & Forest Alternative Provision School is a large, diverse school with three sites across Gloucestershire and space for 150 children. Its pupils range from the age of 4 to 16, none of whom have not been receiving the support they need to flourish within mainstream academic settings, and get referred there by the local authority. GFAPS works with its pupils to improve their academic performance, socio-emotional skills, and autonomy, helping to reintegrate them into regular educational settings wherever possible.

Given the varied, substantial benefits of reading for pleasure, ranging from escapism and mental health improvements to empathy and better educational outcomes, GFAPS seemed like an ideal setting for a pilot project with reading at its heart whilst drawing the school community together.

To put these ideas into practice, Read for Good worked with the expert staff at GFAPS to help them to use the following:

The project drew on learnings from both Readathon®, our sponsored read in schools, and the original pilot project in GHES. We knew that a wide range of appealing books, extrinsic encouragement, and staff expertise were all crucial in making the project the biggest success possible:

  • Staff at GFAPS and Read for Good set an initial reading target of 2,000 minutes, which could be tracked using Track My Read and/or the paper resources.
  • If beaten, this target would ‘unlock’ a donation of brand new comics for families using a local foodbank.
  • We supplied 60 brand new and enticing books, suitable for pupils across all three GFAPS sites, that staff used in amazing and creative ways.

At the end of the project, an interview with the lead teacher from GFAPS provided some surprising and amazing feedback. Some of the best elements include: pupils reading their socks off, beating the 2,000 minute target in just the primary site alone, hearing about the ways that staff chose to highlight the books, such as by bringing in drinks and biscuits to story sessions, and pupils asking for books to be added to the school’s rewards system.

Click the link above for the full report. For settings like GFAPS that support children outside of mainstream education, we hope that this shows the impact of a reading for pleasure project like this.

To apply for a Brilliant Box of Books to support a reading for pleasure culture in your setting, please click here.

If you work in a similar setting and would like to know more, please email

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