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Jake Swinburn

Reading Development Consultant

As a Reading Development Consultant, Jake provides initial training and support to the schools in his areas that have identified a need to develop students’ comprehension, fluency, and vocabulary.

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Before joining our team, Jake worked at Park View Academy of Sport and shares some of his most enjoyable working years came whilst working in the education sector. His role at RSUK allows him to use his knowledge and experience in the education sector to help teachers successfully implement Reading Plus in their schools.

What did you do before becoming a Reading Development Consultant at Reading Solutions UK?

I started out working in a role that combined communications and sales at a North-East-based boxing promotion before transitioning into a similar role at Park View Academy of Sport. I took a couple of experimental roles after that before finding my feet at a North-East-based lead-generation company. I went on to work for a tender-writing company before taking a role in online accessibility. Both roles were end-to-end sales roles.

What attracted you to the education sector?

A combination of things. The first is that some of my most enjoyable working years came while working in the education sector. The second is that it is so important that the work you do makes a real difference to people. I am passionate about reading and writing, and to work somewhere that can support schools to help students develop those skills is a real pleasure!

Describe yourself in 3 words.

Bouncy, eccentric, & conversational.

Tell us more about your role at Reading Solutions UK.

Day-to-day, I like to think of my role as one that builds strong relationships and one that allows me to have meaningful conversations that eventually lead to positive change. I connect and speak with schools about how Reading Plus can support them to help students build and develop their reading fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary.

What do you enjoy most about being a Reading Development Consultant?  

The ever-changing nature of the role is important. No two conversations are the same, and no two schools are ever solving the exact same issues with the exact same children. It is amazing to see the students develop through usage of the programme, and I take a lot of pride in helping so many students develop vital skills that I am so passionate about. Empowering students to become fluent and efficient readers means that they are more likely to read for pleasure and, therefore, to open their minds to new stories and experiences that they would not have access to outside of reading.

When you are not working, what do you enjoy doing?

Once upon a time this would have been a one-word answer – boxing. These days, being a loving father and boyfriend is the main priority. I enjoy time with my family, I am a season-ticket holder at Newcastle United, and I have a borderline-unhealthy obsession with Star Wars. Oh, and if you can’t tell from my answers to the other questions, I also read and write a lot!

What advice would you give to your younger self?

I’d do a lot of things differently. There’s a saying that goes something like ‘The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life’. That is probably true of any age gap. I’d have paid more attention in school and focussed less on sports. I’d have spent a lot more time in my teens trying to learn and understand how to process emotions in a healthy way, and for sure, I would have explored my other passions in far greater depth.

What was your favourite childhood book?

It probably would have been ‘The Iron Man’ by Ted Hughes or ‘The Hobbit’ by J.R.R Tolkien. As a very young child, I always loved ‘Teddy’s Christmas’ by Pete Bowman – because who doesn’t love Christmas?!

 What piece of tech can you not live without and why?

My speakers, without a doubt. Listening to music is, at this point, nothing short of therapeutic. It’s something that I make time to do every day, even if just for half an hour. It relaxes me and helps me to separate the working day from evenings with the people that I love.

If you had a superpower, what would it be and why?

I’d want to have the power to travel through time and space. The knowledge and understanding that you would be able to gain on not only the world that you live in but also how past events have helped to shape modern society would be fascinating. The more you understand, the better prepared you are for new challenges. So, I am sticking with that.


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