Tees Valley Mayor impressed with new...

Tees Valley Mayor impressed with new...

4 Sep

Tees Valley Mayor impressed with new-look school library

Tees Valley Mayor impressed with new-look school library

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has given his seal of approval to a new school library.

Children at Sunnyside Academy in Coulby Newham have taken a leading role in giving their school library a whole new look.

Pupils were asked earlier this year during World Book Week to put forward their ideas to make the school library more appealing.

Some brilliant ideas were put forward including soft furnishings, brighter colours, new shelving, a communal area to share books with others and lap trays for braille readers.

Kirsty Smith Hodgson, the school’s English lead, said: “The library is in a great location within the school, but it was a little outdated, so we wanted to breathe new life into it to encourage children to read more.

“The Friends of Sunnyside made a kind donation and overall, we had a budget of around £2000. We got some fantastic suggestions from pupils, so we chose four winners and then sat down with them to develop their ideas.”

Sunnyside Academy is home to over 300 pupils between the age of three and 11. It is a mainstream school with provision for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), particularly those with visual and hearing impairments.

Julie Sutton, Headteacher of Sunnyside Academy, commented: “The redesigned library is very impressive, and I am so proud of our children for their input.

“Our aim was to move from a culture of learning to read to loving to read and I am confident this will be achieved with the new look library. The new features and layout will certainly raise the profile of reading for pleasure.”

Kirsty Smith Hodgson added: “Inclusivity has been at the heart of the design. We now have lap trays for our braille readers, water features, a sensory LED tree and salt lamps.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen cut a ribbon on Thursday 7 September to declare the new library officially open when he will meet up with the four winning pupils – Isla Grace, Miley, Jude, Eve and their families.

Mayor Houchen said: “I am very impressed with the new library and the children have done an outstanding job in helping to design it.

“Investing in our young people to give them the best start in life is so important, and it’s great to see Sunnyside Academy leading that charge to make their school an even better place for pupils to learn.

“These improvements to the library, all made possible by generous donations and led by the pupils themselves, will encourage young people to read even more, a cause I wholeheartedly support.”

As part of the event, Middlesbrough author James Harris will also hold a series of workshops in the library.

Sunnyside Academy is one of eight primary schools across Teesside under the umbrella of Ad Astra Academy Trust. The others are Barnard Grove, Brougham, West Park and West View in Hartlepool, Crooksbarn and Rosebrook in Stockton-on-Tees and Ayresome in Middlesbrough.

Ad Astra Academy Trust was formed in 2015 and over the last eight years has grown across the Tees Valley, providing education for over 3,500 pupils and 525 employees in Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees and Hartlepool.



Mayor Ben Houchen is pictured with Miley, Eve, Jude and Isla Grace

Mayor Ben Houchen at the launch









Mayor Ben Houchen with Jude, Isla Grace, Eve and Miley






Mayor Ben Houchen with Kirsty Smith Hodgson

Please click on the link below to see Mayor Houchen’s reaction to the new library.