Pupils of The Grove Primary School in Consett, Co Durham, have been given a ticket to read, as the Stagecoach North East Sunderland depot donates a bus which will be transformed into a library.
The school first approached Stagecoach North East, one of the largest bus operators in the region, after visiting a school involved in a similar scheme at Highfield Primary School in Gateshead, and the local bus operator was more than happy to get involved by donating a decommissioned bus that would usually be scrapped.
The bus will be turned into a library which will be a permanent fixture within the school grounds and will be open throughout the school day to all year groups. Downstairs will be the library and upstairs will offer a comfy chill out area which children can bring books to and a space to tell stories.
William Gray, Year One teacher at The Grove Primary School, said: “We are always looking into new and exciting ways of engaging children in their academic subjects. One area we are particularly passionate about is reading for pleasure, which is why we want to develop this further in our school.
“The idea is to convert a double decker bus into a library and engaging reading space. After visiting a school whose library bus project has been running for three years, we saw the clear difference it had on reading throughout the school and the life changing effect it had had on children. We would like the same for our amazing children at The Grove.”
As well as securing some funding, the school will be raising additional funds to cover the cost of the literary fit out, which will involve The Grove Primary School pupils at every stage of the project. Parents will also be involved in the fundraising and in the long term the school hopes to open up the bus to community groups to use.
William added: “We will be asking pupils to come up with interesting ways to fundraise, their designs for the bus, and some will even be involved in the painting and decorating. We want it to be their library bus and we want to capture as many of their designs as possible. The bus will totally enrich our literacy curriculum as well as developing our provision of art, design and technology, and many more. It will also teach life skills - if we work hard for something, then we will reap the rewards.
Jacqueline Handy, Year 1 teaching assistant at The Grove said: “We could not say thank you enough to Stagecoach North East. Without their help in donating the bus, this project would not have been possible. We believe this project will change lives and we are so happy Stagecoach is a part of that.”
Marni, age 6, added: “I am super excited for our new library. It was so fun to see our bus. Thank you so much.”
Laura Smith, Operations Manager for Stagecoach North East’s Sunderland 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 The Grove Primary School.
“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.”
Once complete, there will be a grand opening event of the library bus for pupils, staff, parents and all involved in helping to bring the project together.