THE head teacher of a school that took part in a national “Life-changing Libraries” initiative says it has done just that — and helped “level the playing field” between disadvantaged and better-off pupils.
Sarah Reason of Dinnington Community Primary School said the school’s revamped library was “not just a room with lots of books — it is much more than that”.
She added: “For the children, it’s opened a window — no, a door to the world.
“You can’t walk in there and fail to pick up a book.
“Twelve months ago, some children would not choose to go in there.
“Now they are badgering us if it is not open early enough at break or lunchtime!”
The school was one of six pilot schools involved in the initiative by Waterstones Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell, who earlier this month published her report into its impact, with teachers reporting increased attention, engagement and motivation to learn among students, as well as a boosted sense of confidence and self-worth.
“We are in a deprived area with a really high proportion of children having free school meals and were in special measures at the time,” said Mrs Reason.
“Lots of children don’t have access to books at home and, while the pandemic was tough on everyone, it was particularly hard on children as, understandably, books weren’t a priority for families, so this has been a way of levelling the playing field a little more.
“For some, it provides a safe space. For others, it’s a door into the world for disadvantaged pupils who are now finding their interests as a reader and discovering themselves.
“The furniture is absolutely gorgeous and the reading list has been carefully thought through — the sheer range and quality of texts is amazing.”