MORE than 100 people have volunteered to take part in the Oxfordshire Reading Campaign.
The Oxford Mail-backed campaign was launched in September, in a bid to improve the educational achievements of the county’s young people. The National Literacy Trust, which is running the campaign, set a deadline for applications to be involved in the first wave of the programme last month. Project manager Leena O’Hara said: “The response from volunteers has shown just how much the community has got behind the campaign.
“I was really quite overwhelmed by the volunteers that came forward – we didn’t expect such a fast response to the request.
“Now we want it to start so we can start getting some feedback from the schools participating and feedback from pupils as well – we have won the hearts and minds, now we really want to see some action on the ground.”
Among those who has put themselves forward as a volunteer is Tammy Lawson.
Mrs Lawson, 43, from Chipping Norton, has two sons, Lexi, eight, Benji, six, and girl-boy twins Bea and Albie, four, who attend Holy Trinity Primary School.
She said: “I am always encouraging my children to read and I run a reading group, so it’s something I felt I should be able to do.
“I help in school as a parent helper and sometimes you are asked to read.
“As kids we were encouraged to read and once children can read, silent reading is such a great thing to use at bedtime – they all sit down really quietly with a book and it feels the day has come together.”
Training for staff taking part in the programme is set to start this week with each school offered a place for one teaching assistant and a teaching member of staff or senior manager.
Further training will take place throughout the year.
In addition to the focus schools taking part, at least one other has decided to sign up to the programme, St Peter’s Primary School in Cassington, which will pay for staff to have training but take advantage of the discounted resources.
To date 44 schools across Oxf-fordshire have signed up to take part. Ms O’Hara said: “We are ecstatic. We initially thought between 20 and 30 schools was what we would have given the restraints we had on launching at the start of the academic year.
“The fact we have got over 50 per cent of the target schools signed up to a voluntary programme that requires them to make a commitment not just financially but in terms of resourcing and staff is brilliant.”
Oxfordshire County Council education cabinet member Melinda Tilley said she believed the reading campaign was already proving it had ‘legs’.
She said: “I feel very positive about it, it is very exciting.
“A lot of people are getting enthusiastic and it seems to be taking off.”
Schools which have not signed up will have a second chance to do so before the end of the year.
All Saints Primary, Didcot
Barley Hill Primary, Thame
Benson Primary School
Brookside Primary, Bicester
Bure Park Primary School, Bicester
Caldecott Primary School, Abingdon
Church Cowley Primary School, Oxford
Cutteslowe Primary, Oxford
Drayton Community Primary, Abingdon
Dry Sandford Primary School
Edward Feild Primary School, Kidlington
Faringdon Infant School
Gateway Primary School, Carterton
Glory Farm Primary School, Bicester
Great Milton Church of England Primary School
Harwell Community Primary
Hill View Primary School, Banbury
Horspath Primary School
John Hampden Primary, Thame
Long Wittenham Primary
Madley Brook Community Primary School, Witney
Millbrook Primary School, Wantage
New Marston Primary, Oxford
Our Lady of Lourdes, Witney
Our Lady’s Catholic Primary, Oxford
Queen’s Dyke Primary, Witney
St Christopher’s Primary School, Oxford
St Ebbe’s Primary School, Oxford
St John The Evangelist Primary School, Carterton
St John’s Primary School, Wallingford
St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Carterton
St Leonard’s Church of England Primary School, Banbury
St Nicholas’ Primary School, Oxford
Stephen Freeman Community School, Didcot
Stockham Primary School, Wantage
Stonesfield Primary School
West Kidlington Primary
West Oxford Primary School
Windmill Primary School, Oxford
Wroxton Primary, Banbury