A children’s book which encourages primary school pupils across Lincolnshire to aim high in their ambitions has won a commendation at a national education awards.
The Lincolnshire Puppy is an illustrated story telling the tale of a mischievous dog who gets into all sorts of scrapes until his friends show him that learning is fun and a route to be anything he wants to be. With references to famous Lincolnshire landmarks and institutions, from Lincoln Cathedral to the Red Arrows, the book aims to build confidence and aspiration in young children so that they can realise their ambitions – and discover that learning can also be fun.
It is a publication from the Lincolnshire Outreach Network – a partnership of higher education providers from across Lincolnshire led by the University of Lincoln. It is written by Elly Sample with illustrations by Ruddocks Design of Lincoln and a foreword by the broadcaster and naturalist Chris Packham, a Visiting Professor at Lincoln.
Free copies of The Lincolnshire Puppy were posted to almost 300 primary schools across the region for Early Years and Year 1 classes in the 2016/17 school year. A competition was also launched for children of other age groups to claim their free copy by sending in stories and pictures about what they want to be when they are older. The first print run of 10,000 books quickly ran out and a further batch of the same size was ordered to meet demand.
The Lincolnshire Puppy was Highly Commended in the Best Community / Business Engagement category at the national HEIST Awards 2017*, which celebrate the excellence and innovation of everyone involved in education marketing, from regional colleges to global university brands. Elly Sample, Director of Communications, Development & Marketing at the University of Lincoln, said: "We are delighted to be recognised by HEIST for our engagement with primary school children across Lincolnshire.
"Higher education is a life-changing experience and yet for many reasons there are still significant barriers that mean young people from less advantaged backgrounds are under-represented at universities. Lincolnshire in particular has some stark higher education cold spots – places where the percentage of teenagers progressing to university is significantly lower than would be expected based on their academic achievements at school."
"There is evidence that children's journeys in education are largely determined before they reach secondary school, which is why The Lincolnshire Puppy aims to encourage and inspire young children, their parents and carers to aim high, whatever their ambitions."
Paul Banton, Managing Director at Ruddocks said: “As a company we are very focussed on our local community and we are delighted to be working with the University of Lincoln to promote and encourage ambitions of the young people in our county, whether that be academic or vocational. This is just one of many educational support projects Ruddocks are currently involved in; it is an important role of local businesses to provide guidance and mentoring for the workforce of the future.”