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New school library makes for happy reading
Buy this photo » Teacher and literacy coordinator Carlene McClean reads to children at St James Primary School
CHILDREN have helped to design and stock their new school library.
Youngsters at Church Cowley St James Primary School, in Bartholomew Road, Oxford, came back after the summer holidays to a new library.
The pupils were involved in every stage of the process, helping choose which books would line the shelves and working with architects on how they would like it to look.
The school is one of several in Oxford that have been invited to take part in both the Oxfordshire Reading Campaign and Oxford City Council’s drive to improve primary school standards.
It is currently deciding whether to sign up.
Headteacher Jonathan Walker said the school had identified reading as a “significant priority”.
He said: “We genuinely believe being enthused and competent readers opens doors to the rest of their learning and success.”
This year, the proportion of children achieving level 2 or above in Key Stage 1 reading rose almost six percentage points to 83 per cent.
In Key Stage 2 the proportion of children achieving level 4 or above in reading jumped nearly 13 percentage points to 86 per cent.
Over the past few months, the school has gone into each classroom, installing new reading corners or class libraries with new furniture such as bean bags and new books. The second phase of the programme was to replace the main school library at a total cost of £50,000.
Mr Walker said: “We had a library that was a corridor library and wasn’t fit for purpose.
“Like many schools, we are tight for space but we identified a room and decided to renovate and refurbish it as a library.”
The work was carried out over the summer holidays.
Along with work to fit out the room, about half the books were replaced and more new ones bought.
Now every class in school has at least an hour in the library every week.
Mr Walker said: “The children are very positive about using it.
“They are enjoying their sessions and they love the design of the library.
“I am delighted with it.
“It is a really lovely space which really engages children with enjoying books and developing their reading.”
The library will be officially opened tomorrow by Oxford illustrator Korky Paul, famous for the Winnie the Witch books.
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