School’s ‘textbook’ response to windfall from Bolehall Co-op

Pupils at a Tamworth primary school are set to enjoy a huge influx of new and exciting books after being handed a handsome windfall from Tamworth Co-operative Society.

Ankermoor Primary Academy was awarded £826 from the Society’s Community Dividend Fund which this year will distribute more than £10,000 to local schools in its trading areas.

The money was raised by big-hearted shoppers at the Bolehall food store donating the dividends they earnt on their purchases to their local school.

Bolehall Community Dividend Fund presentation. Pupils with books look on.

Bolehall pupils open the first box of books to arrive at the school, watched by Hayley Gilbert, manager of Tamworth Co-op’s Bolehall food store, who presented the cheque for £826 to headteacher Simon Russell.

The cash is being used to purchase a large number of traditional books by different authors which are outside the set reading programme.

Headtacher Simon Russell said during lockdown many pupils might have spent long hours on computers, often playing computer games because of the restrictions on their freedom. As a result, the school is launching a major drive on reading, with youngsters being encouraged to take books home.

“We want to foster reading for pleasure as it also helps pupils to enhance their vocabulary and develop a deeper love of reading and writing.

“At the moment each classroom bears the name of a different author such as Jill Murray and Judith Kerr. This money will help us to take this love of literature a step further and introduce them to many new authors.”

Mr Russell says the books will benefit all 145 pupils in the main part of the school. He described the Community Dividend Fund as an ‘outstanding’ local scheme.

“We are extremely grateful to both the Tamworth Co-op and the shoppers who helped to raise the cash,” he said.

“We are a very small school which has been in existence for 54 years and we are located in a difficult demographic which includes a good number of vulnerable families. We have a high percentage of children here who receive free school meals.

“Massive respect to all those involved in getting us this funding. It has come at a time when the children have greater mental health needs. The pandemic means that we need to establish a healthier new normal for our pupils and we believe investing in entertaining books for pupils will help them on a number of levels.”

Hayley Gilbert, manager of the Tamworth Co-op food store in Bolehall, said she was delighted that the money was being spent on new books.

“Reading is so important and the sheer number and variety of the books that the money will buy should see every pupil benefiting from this donation.”