Peterborough Labour councillor donates £600 worth of books to three Dogsthorpe schools
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A Peterborough councillor has donated £600 worth of books to three primary schools in her ward.
Cllr Katy Cole (Labour, Dogsthorpe), a primary school teacher herself, said she wanted to mark the start of the school year with a gift for new starters.
She also wants to make sure children in her ward are able to foster a love for reading from an early age, she said, at a time when schools have to make tough financial choices.
“Schools go above and beyond to give high quality education to children but funding is stretched and it’s not going as far as it should,” Cllr Cole told the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
The recipients of the books, which span fiction and non-fiction and are aimed at children aged four to seven, are Newark Hill, Dogsthorpe Infants and Welland Academy.
Cllr Cole, as well as Peterborough City Council (PCC) leader Cllr Dennis Jones (Labour, Dogsthorpe), are visiting each of the schools and reading stories to reception classes.
They’re also bringing along red “reading bugs” for the children to keep – pom poms with googly eyes and a tail sporting Labour’s red rose.
The money for the books, chosen by Cllr Cole, was supplied by National Gas.
The gas supplier agreed to the donation after being approached by Peterborough’s Labour parliamentary candidate Andrew Pakes, Cllr Cole says.
The books the councillors are reading to children at the schools include The Pig in the Pond by Martin Waddell and Starting School by Allan and Janet Ahlberg.
Cllr Coles says she hopes the texts “spark curiosity” in children “to enter other worlds, whether it’s Hundred Acre Wood, Hogwarts or Fangorn Forest from The Lord of the Rings”.
She also said that reading is especially important for children just starting school now as the lockdowns during 2020-21 have impacted on many youngsters’ development.
So far, Cllr Cole has visited Newark Hill and Dogsthorpe Infants, with Welland Academy scheduled for next week.
Other ward councillors are now interested in the scheme, she said, which she is calling Books4Schools, meaning it could expand to other parts of the city.