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27 Mar 2017
The school first approached Stagecoach North East, one of the largest bus operators in the region, after hearing of a similar scheme in Billingham, and the local bus operator was more than happy to get involved by donating a decommissioned bus that would usually be scrapped.
Nathan Stanislawski, Operations Manager for Stagecoach North East’s Teesside depot, said: “We always try our best to support projects which will benefit the local community and it feels brilliant that we are helping to make a real difference to so many youngsters at Oak Tree Academy.
“Being able to lend a helping hand to community projects like a new library for a school on our doorstep is always important, especially when it comes to youth learning and development.”
The bus will be turned into a reading library which will be a permanent fixture within the school grounds and will be open throughout the school day to all year groups. Rachel Waites, English Lead at Oak Tree added: “The introduction of the bus will bring about a lot of new opportunities for our students. We hope to instil a love of reading in our pupils and the facility will also be used as an opportunity for increased parental involvement, as this is vital to the student’s personal development.
“Our student council were a key part in the organisation of the library bus as the pupil voice is very important to us here at Oak Tree. We are all delighted with the arrival of the bus; it is great to see our pupils so excited and ready to learn.”
The school will be raising funds to cover the cost of the literary fit out which will involve Oak Tree pupils working alongside local artists and suppliers to design the interiors and fixtures. The school also hopes to install a café-style reading area to the exterior of the bus, with artificial grass and seating which will maximise capacity. With an upper and lower deck, there is plenty of scope to develop multiple internal storage and leisure areas to create a relaxed and comfortable environment for reading and storytelling which the children can enjoy.
Ian Kershaw, Chief Executive of the Northern Education Trust said: “At Northern Education Trust, it is a priority for us to encourage innovative ways for our schools to deliver high standards of teaching and learning. This exciting new addition to Oak Tree is a great investment and will be sure to motivate our pupils to embrace a love of reading which is crucial as they develop into developing into independent and confident learners, which is the epitome of our work within the Trust.”
The bus conversion is set to be completed by the end of the summer term in preparation for the new school year.