Pinsent Masons and St Matthew's Primary School

Education Award, supported by UKCES 2014, Big Tick, Reaccredited 2015, 2016.

Pinsent Masons’ partnership with St Matthew’s Primary School in Birmingham has helped raise academic standards and improve children’s confidence, while supporting staff training and development.

Social impacts

  • According to the school, Pinsent Masons’ work has helped raised academic standards
  • The students' confidence, expectations and willingness to interact have all increased.
  • Encouraged greater confidence in the school from the wider community, which is important as it is located in an area of social deprivation where child poverty is 47%.

Business impacts

  • Volunteering has broken down barriers between teams, encouraged greater interaction and increased staff motivation and retention.
  • Volunteering opportunities complemented the firm’s training programme and enabled its staff to develop new skills, in a cost effective way.
  • Created opportunities to raise the firm’s profile in the local business community.
  • The partnership has created new opportunities to develop closer working relationships with clients.

Pinsent Masons is committed to doing business responsibly and to making a positive contribution to the lives of our people, clients and the local and global communities in which we operate. Part of our expression of that commitment comes through our responsible business initiative, Starfish. One of the aims of Starfish is to galvanise Pinsent Masons’ people to support projects in our local communities through volunteering and fundraising. We believe that it is vital to support children in gaining key literacy and numeracy skills, and we are proud to see the results of our ongoing partnership with St Matthew’s Primary School.

- Chris Mullen,
Senior Partner
St Matthew’s Primary School is in an area of high social deprivation, where many students face language and cultural barriers which prevent them reaching their potential. Some 79% of students receive free school meals and 19% have special needs. Unemployment in the area is higher than average for Birmingham, students come from a diverse range of minority ethnic backgrounds and more than half are new to speaking English.

The foundations of the firm’s seven-year partnership with St Matthew's are a literacy support programme, Right to Read, and a numeracy programme, Maths Buddies. The partnership is part of Starfish, the firm’s responsible business programme.

The school identifies children who need additional support and Pinsent Masons’ volunteers offer one-to-one mentoring each week. In order to maximise impact, the programmes provide dedicated support to just 12 pupils at any one time.

The firm also provides positive working role models and raises aspirations, giving students more awareness of the opportunities available to them.

Staff from all departments participate in the programmes, which helps break down barriers between teams and increases motivation. St Matthew's believe the firm’s contribution has played a part in raising academic standards. However, what staff find most rewarding is the visible increase in the students' confidence, expectations and willingness to interact.

The firm’s training team has helped create a skills-based volunteering programme which complements its formal staff training. For example, one member of staff is chair of the board of governors at St Matthew's.

Through volunteering, staff develop new skills and enhance skills such as communication and teamwork. Feedback from volunteers has been positive, with all rating their volunteering experience as good or excellent. The firm has also involved its clients in the partnership, with various team challenges to improve the school environment.

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