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Ashington Central

Inspiration Award 2014: Judges' Citations

Ashington Central First School

Ashington, Northumberland

Principal: David Godfrey


Finalist in the Primary School Category, 2014

Ashington Central is a large first school in the middle of residential houses, a new build on the site of a former Victorian school. The area has high unemployment because of closed mining pits. After a visit to local Seven Stories, and hearing Neil Griffiths (Storysacks creator) talk to adults, the Head of Centre and Principal decided transformation was needed to stimulate children's senses. Using the same space, the library now is themed in zones chosen for their timelessness. A castle corner welcomes history, building and of course fairytale princesses. A rainforest (a former walk in cupboard) covers habitats, a circus ring houses music and the arts, a starlit canopy twinkles above a space station, all approached via a sea themed lobby and staircase. This only took six months from start to finish but it was well thought out, everyone was consulted, and it works.

Rachel, the new Reading Champion, takes all classes weekly and the children pack a lot into their library time. Books are exchanged for pupils to take home and read either alone or with parents. Rachel reads to the children in the storytelling chair, transporting them into a world of stories, yet they still have time to dress up as princesses in fairytales or superheroes and read Captain Underpants. Independence in research is taught and reinforced by teachers who enjoy their visits to the library as much as the children.

Its value lies in the enthusiasm generated by the creative environment which has raised literacy standards, and more importantly, enjoyment of reading and books in pupils and parents alike.

Further information about the SLA School Library Inspiration Award.