29 October, 2020
Staff and students at Ormiston Park Academy excitedly celebrated the opening of their new #iwill library. The event was attended by CEO of Ormiston Academies Trust, Nick Hudson, Park’s new principal, Mark Roessler and the school’s student librarians.
Back in 2018, when the #iwill campaign was first introduced to the academy, the student steering team had to design a whole project that would create a legacy for Park’s community. With no official library in the academy, the team decided to take over an unassigned room to transform into a librarian’s dream.
The #iwill student steering team, set about fundraising to buy the books that would start filling their new bookshelves. They approached their local community for donations, as well as receiving donations from national companies, Book Trust and WHSmith. Ormiston Academies Trust head office even got involved, by running a book drive and encouraging staff to donate books that were gathering dust in their homes.
After a long 18 months of planning, designing and a small pandemic getting in the way, they finally reached the day of opening. Speaking at the event, one of the #iwill student team, Tomi Olowookere, said,
The campaign has helped unlock our potential and has given us the opportunity to do something really special for the school.
The new library houses 1,500 new books, as well as donations, a brand spanking new suite of technology, and comfortable, innovative reading spaces for the students to enjoy. The library is the cornerstone of Ormiston Park Academy’s drive to improve student reading and literacy. As well as helping their local community, to counteract the closing of local libraries, by encouraging a parent/carer and community book clubs.
Over the national lockdown, the academy’s Reading Lead, Sabine Scott, delivered hundreds of books to the local students, ensuring the care for students literacy was in place, while the academy was shut to the majority of their students. More recently, at the start of this academic year, all Year 7 students were given a new book to better embed a love of reading, from their very first day at Park. Moving on, Year 8 and 9 students are currently enjoying a book from the new library, with the older students receiving a book later this month.
Before the formal opening of the library and the cutting of the ceremonial ribbon, Director of English at Ormiston Park and #iwill lead, Rhys Shercliff, said,
Discovering a good book is a magical, sometimes life-changing moment – the more books we have and the more students who have access to those books, the more chance we have of making that moment happen.
Now they would like to open their library up to the local community and organise group events. Covid-19 has currently put a pin in their plans, but once it is safe to do so, mother & baby groups, local primary schools, book clubs and other local groups, will be able to enjoy the space and immerse themselves in a good book.
In 2018, Ormiston Academies Trust (OAT) secured £2 million of funding from the #iwill fund and national charity Ormiston Trust. Across our network of over 30,000 pupils, the OAT network of schools will use the funding to support the aims of the pioneering #iwill campaign in making meaningful social action a regular part of life for young people, allowing them to develop key new social, emotional and life skills learning (SELS).