New reading bus for Hollymount Primary School
Hollymount Primary opened their new 'reading bus' on Saturday 1 July 2017. The official opening of the new library was held as the school celebrated their 60th birthday at the annual summer fair, with one pupil from each year group cutting the ribbon.
The bus, painted bright blue to match the school colours, sits in the playground providing a fun and exciting environment to promote reading to pupils aged 4 to 11 years.
Eric, who is 6 and in Year 1 said:
“I like it that it's in a bus, that's really different.”
The 'reading bus' was the brainchild of headteacher Philippa Jackson, who explained: “Our school has expanded in recent years and although we have a wonderful new extension, the one thing we did wish for, a library, was not included in the final plans.”
Two parents procured the double decker bus from bus company London General. But while the bus had been offered for free, the school suddenly had a 13-metre-long vehicle on their hands and nowhere to put it. The site needed to be cleared and a concrete slab installed where it could safely stand. Luckily another parent, stepped in to store it for several months.
Ms Jackson explained she had been inspired by another school:
“A double decker bus seemed a unique way of providing a dedicated space for choosing and reading books and promoting reading for pleasure. It’s been a long road since the bus arrived on site in summer 2015 and we couldn’t have done it without many parents helping out at various stages and the funds raised by our wonderful PTA. Now that it is in use, the children are clearly delighted, as am I!”
With the help of local architect Peter Lindsay and others who gave their services for free (including a former pupil), the project was completed in the spring of 2017.
Hollymount's assistant head Irene Lindsay said:
“Reading is the most powerful tool available to inspire, motivate and develop the whole child. Reading for pleasure has been linked to a life-long love of learning and provides the child with skills, wellbeing and the chances to open doors and provide choices throughout life. This bus links pleasure and reading in a way that can only serve to encourage children to develop and pursue an interest in books for life - what more can we as educators want for our children?”
Pupils have already started using the bus and from September each class will have a weekly library visit.
The bus currently has 3,500 books and as they work to build their catalogue, the school has launched a project whereby a pupil or family can make a £10 pledge and in return a named bookplate will be placed in one of the books.
For more information about Hollymount Primary School see the school website.