Students from Oasis Academy Connaught were delighted when two special guests arrived at their school on Friday 15th March to present certificates to children who have made outstanding progress in reading.
Lord Mayor Lake and Brian Jones listened to children read aloud, praising them for their effort and for completing the Reading Recovery programme.
Reading Recovery is a literacy programme designed to help children reach age-expected levels within 20 weeks. It involves a short series of daily one-to-one lessons for 30 minutes with a specially trained teacher.
During their visit, Lord Mayor Lake and Brian Jones also gave inspirational talks about their careers. Lord Mayor Lake explained how she devotes most of her time to the promotion of the city, chairing council meetings and hosting citizenship ceremonies. Bristol-born aviator, Brian Jones, shared his story of flying a hot air balloon around the world with his co-pilot, Bertrand Piccard.
Jones grew up in Knowle and lived near the Broadwalk Shopping centre. He learned to fly at the age of 16 and joined the Royal Air Force at 18 years old, before becoming involved in ballooning in 1986.
Piccard’s and Jones’ record breaking journey began on 1st March 1999 in Switzerland and took them three weeks to complete, landing in the Egyptian desert miles from civilisation. Students were captivated by his story, with many gasping at the thought of being stranded in the desert.
Children were gripped by Jones’ talk and one child asked if it was a scary journey. Jones described how he came close to death three times; when the pilots were breathing in poisonous fumes from the balloon, how they had to climb on top of the balloon to make urgent repairs caused by icicles and when they flew through a thunderstorm.
Lord Mayor Lake commented on her visit, “I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and was very impressed with not only the reading ability but also the outstanding behaviour and inquisitiveness of the pupils. It was important to me to share the visit with a local legend and I was particularly proud to bring world record breaking balloonist from Knowle West, Brian Jones, along with me as part of my tour of South Bristol Schools. I know so many would have gone home inspired.”
Mrs George Fraser, Principal of Oasis Academy Connaught, said, “We are hugely proud of the significant progress our children have made using the Reading Recovery programme. They have shown commitment and determination to improve their reading skills which will have a positive impact on all of their learning.
Our students were thoroughly engaged by both Brian Jones’ and the Lord Mayor’s talk. It was a great opportunity for our children to find out what the Lord Mayor does for the city of Bristol and to listen to Brian, who grew up in their local community and achieved great things.”