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Stirling school wins First Minister’s national reading award

Tuesday 11 June 2019
Cowie Primary School has scooped a national award in the First Minister’s Reading Challenge.
Cowie PS - FM Reading Challenge Award

The school came out on top in the prestigious School Reading Journey Prize, impressing the judging panel with its investment in building a reading culture.

Along with creating a new library, which was opened earlier this year by Olympic legend, Sir Chris Hoy, the school has ensured that every classroom has a beautiful space to encourage reading for pleasure.

The school also runs a lunchtime ‘Crafty Characters Club’, created by older pupils to help younger children with their reading, while teachers have committed to building a reading culture, with a staff book club focusing on children’s literature, as well as engaging with authors and the local library.

Delighted to have won the School Reading Journey Award

Donna Bullivant, teacher at Cowie Primary School, said: “What a year and what a phenomenal journey we have been on.

“As a school learning community we have read, read and read even more by immersing ourselves in reading and authors to develop a reading culture and enjoyment for reading – it has been transformational.

“We are delighted to have won the School Reading Journey Award. Participating in the First Minister’s Reading Challenge has inspired and motivated our learners and wider learning community to read widely for enjoyment and develop a love of reading.”

At a ceremony in Glasgow’s Doubletree Hilton Hotel on Monday, Cowie was presented with its prize by Ross MacKenzie, the multi-award winning author of The Elsewhere Emporium (Floris), with the Scottish Government Minister for Mental Health, Clare Haughey, also in attendance. 

Outstanding work in reading and literacy

Convener of Stirling Council’s Children and Young People Committee, Councillor Susan McGill said: “Huge congratulations to everyone at Cowie Primary School on winning this national award which recognises the school’s outstanding work in reading and literacy.

“Having visited the school for the opening of their wonderful new library earlier this year, I am well aware of the novel ways in which the school has developed a reading culture and how it has been embraced so enthusiastically by pupils.

“Reading has the power to transform lives, with huge benefits on educational attainment, and as a Council, we will always encourage reading among our children and young people.”

Magnificent achievement for Cowie Primary

Vice Convener of the Committee, Cllr Margaret Brisley, said: “To come out on top out of all the schools in Scotland in the Reading Challenge is a magnificent achievement for Cowie Primary and a fantastic story for the entire school community. 

“I remember Sir Chris Hoy was really impressed at how the school was inspiring children to develop a love of reading when he cut the ribbon on its new library.

“Cowie Primary is a shining example of the excellent work going on across all our schools in developing important literacy skills which helps children achieve positive outcomes.”

Almost 2,000 schools, community groups and libraries registered for the First Minister’s Reading Challenge, a 20% increase in registrations from the previous year.

Now in its third year, the Challenge encourages children to read for pleasure and develop a lifelong love of books.

The awards recognise the efforts of schools and pupils to support reading for enjoyment and create a reading culture in their school, home or community.

Schools, libraries and community groups who submitted to the Challenge received a party pack, including certificates signed by the First Minister.

Hard work of the pupils, teachers and librarians

First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon said: “I’m delighted that over 1,100 primary schools, secondary schools, libraries and community groups from every local authority in Scotland participated in the third year of the First Minister’s Reading Challenge.

“My warm congratulations to all those who have taken part - the submissions demonstrate that Scotland really is a country of readers, and showcase the hard work of the pupils, teachers and librarians who were involved.

“I launched the reading challenge in 2016 to encourage reading for pleasure, which is key to raising attainment and improving literacy. Even more schools registered for it this year, and it was wonderful to see so many examples of how a shared reading culture can build and improve relationships within a community.”

The First Minister's Reading Challenge was launched in 2016 for primaries 4 to 7 and the third year has expanded to include all primary and secondary schools as well as libraries and community groups.

Scottish Book Trust, the national charity changing lives through reading and writing, delivered this exciting reading initiative on behalf of the Scottish Government and every school in Scotland was invited to take part.

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said: “Congratulations to all those who took part in the First Minister’s Reading Challenge. Scottish Book Trust was delighted to see so many secondary schools take part in the challenge for the first time. The submissions showcased the fantastic work that schools, libraries and community groups across Scotland have achieved in order to build a reading culture.”

Photo details: 

Photo shows the school receiving the prize from author Ross MacKenzie. Pictured, from left, P7 teacher Donna Bullivant, and P7 pupils Tyler Crawford-Malley, Chloe Montgomery and Ramsay Snedden