New Primary School Library Alliance pledges to transform 1,000 school libraries across the UK and highlight need for investment

The National Literacy Trust and Penguin Random House UK have launched a national alliance to address the chronic lack of investment in primary school libraries in the UK. The two organisations are calling for large- scale public and private funding, alongside collaboration from other charities, publishers and ambassadors, to transform and equip 1,000 primary school libraries by 2025. This will support half a million pupils over the next four years. Partners from across the public and private sectors including Arts Council

England and new digital retail bank Chase are among the first to fund the work of the alliance, with many others soon to announce their commitment. They have already pledged significant investment into primary school library provision – to train educators and inspire children to become the readers of the future. The announcement of the Primary School Library Alliance comes as a new

report shows 40% of primary school respondents say they have no dedicated school library budget, from data provided to the National Literacy Trust by the School Libraries Association and Softlink. The evidence also suggests teachers often have to buy reading materials with their own money. The report also shows 1 in 4 schools in England’s most disadvantaged

communities do not have a library or designated reading space, compared to a national average of 1 in 8 schools. This reflects the widening literacy

Juniper Education announces strategic partnership with the Multi Academy Trust Association (MATA)

Juniper Education has announced a strategic partnership with the Multi Academy Trust Association (MATA), the only free to join education association for trust leaders. MATA is a

community created by MAT leaders to enable members to stay up to date with news, policy guides and attend free MATA events. Members also have access to an anonymous Q&A feature, “Find answers to what MATters”, where they can raise those “tough to ask” questions to gain feedback and guidance from MATA’s expert advisory board, members and partners. Graham Cooper, chief marketing officer at Juniper Education said:

“The pandemic highlighted the importance of being able to share ideas and initiatives in education. This alliance reinforces our goal to make life easier for schools and MATs by giving them first-rate software, solutions and support they can trust. We’re looking forward to working on some exciting projects together.” Matt McDermott, founder & chair of the MATA advisory board said:

“It’s great to welcome Juniper Education as our Principal Partner. There’s a natural synergy between our two organisations. Through this partnership, we can fulfil a shared vision to ensure that trust leaders can receive expert guidance and support to tackle the challenges they face.”

u 12 Gotta have faith…BGS style!

A Bradford school used music, art, dance and drama recently to explore different religions as part of its annual Faiths in the City event. Year 9 pupils took part in several workshops to promote discussions and

understanding around Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Christianity and Islamic faiths. Workshops included Sikh music and dance, Christian theatre, and

Islamic art and calligraphy, with the theme being ‘religious teaching and attitudes towards racial equality and harmony’. Among those delivering the workshops were the York-based Riding

Lights Theatre Company, Manchester Buddhist Centre, Keighley Buddhist Centre and musicians Dhol Drillerz. Richard Skelton, Head of Religious Studies at BGS, said it was the tenth

year they had held the Faiths in the City event. “BGS is a unique environment. It’s a superb reflection of how

communities and different faiths, and those of no faith, can come together and learn and flourish,” he said. “We use the arts – dance, music and drama mostly – to bring students

together. The workshop leaders are really good at providing the children with new experiences to communicate fresh ideas, such as new ways of thinking about faiths. It allows the pupils to see themselves through different November 2021

attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their better-off peers as a result of the disruption of COVID-19 on children’s education. School libraries have a proven positive impact

on all areas of primary pupils’ learning, including the development of reading and writing skills, wellbeing and overall academic attainment. Recent economic analysis(iv) has also shown supporting reading for pleasure can result in

more children achieving five good GCSEs, in turn boosting their lifetime earnings by an average of £57,500. However, many teachers lack the knowledge, skills or time to manage their school library effectively. To support the work of the Alliance, Arts Council England has awarded

over £900,000 through its National Lottery Project Grant programme to expand World of Stories, a library programme run by Penguin Random House and the National Literacy Trust. With additional investment of over £1 million from Penguin Random House UK in both cash and in-kind support, World of Stories will transform and support 500 primary schools and thousands of children to become life-long readers and learners. Over the last three years the programme has already transformed 225 primary schools and offers bespoke training, new books and resources to participating schools. The calls have been welcomed across the education and literacy sector.

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