THE Wellington Academy has been recognised on the national stage for its commitment to encouraging students to love reading.

The Society for Authors – the national trade union representing 11,000 professional authors – has established an award scheme that allows individual children’s authors to celebrate schools that encourage reading. Reading is a core skill that enables children to access all other aspects of education.

In May 2022 fantasy author B J Mears visited The Wellington Academy in Tidworth to see its newly revamped library and learn about the creative writing workshops that students can attend. B J Mears was so impressed by The Wellington Academy’s commitment to reading for pleasure that he nominated the school for a Society of Authors’ Reading for Pleasure award – which the school has now won.

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B J Mears told the Society for Authors that The Wellington Academy, which is part of the Royal Wootton Bassett Academy Trust, has ”excelled” in its literacy drive, committing to many actions that encourage reading and literacy skills.

“Not least of these was the revamping of the school library, and the subsequent creative writing workshops,” he said.

“The school has implemented star tests, appointed literary champions in each department, focused on classroom displays that promote and celebrate literacy, made use of vocabulary wall-mats, set in place leaders to listen to children read in the library, and implemented many other incentives.”

He also cited the unique programme of welcoming military personnel into the school to hear children read as particularly innovative good practice.

“Since the re-opening of the library, a book vending machine has even been installed. I am pleased to commend the academy for its brilliant work,” he added.

Headteacher Steven Paddock said he is very proud of the work that his colleagues continue to do to put literacy and love of reading at the heart of the school’s programme.

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Mar Paddock said: “Literacy is one of the most important things we can master, because we all rely on strong reading and writing skills to navigate our way through life.

“Teachers and other colleagues at the school are constantly coming up with new ways of engaging students in reading, and I’m amazed at their creativity. One of the recent incentives was for students to win their height in books from the library, which has been very popular.

“We’re also very fortunate in having a strong collaboration with our military partners, who are very committed to helping develop students’ fluency in reading. We are very grateful that someone of B J Mears’ standing has identified this and gone the extra mile to get the school recognised nationally.

The award certificate is signed by author and chair of the management committee at the Society for Authors, Joanne Harris.

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