07 September
Whitburn Academy Reading Schools gold

The Scottish Book Trust's Reading Schools initiative aims to encourage reading, with Whitburn Academy introducing a number of innovative schemes designed to get pupils interested in books.

This hard work by staff, pupils and parents/carers has paid off when it was confirmed that the school has been awarded the first ever Gold accreditation as a Reading School.

Whitburn Academy Headteacher Tracey Loudon said: "As the first secondary school to win the First Minister's Reading Challenge Inspiration Award last year, I'm delighted that we have built on our success to become the first school in Scotland to achieve Gold accreditation as a Reading School. 

"Whilst the award is testament to the hard work and commitment of all in our school community, as we strive to close the literacy attainment gap, our success is in no doubt down to the dedication of our Principal Teacher for Additional Support Needs, Linda Nisbet, whose enthusiasm and energy has been the key driving force in ensuring we achieved our Gold status as a Reading School." 

Whitburn Academy Principal Teacher Linda Nisbet explained the award recognises the huge amount work done to build a successful reading culture, and build effective and sustainable partnerships with the local community community.

She said: "We launched the initiative with a video parody called "All about Those Books", which was planned, filmed, directed and edited by the staff and pupils.  This was shared this at assemblies and was watched over 3,000 times on Twitter. 

"Our senior pupils were then trained in the "Scotland Reads" method and used these skills to help develop the reading confidence of a targeted group of S1 pupils every morning during Paired Reading sessions. These pupils also went out into the community to support others with reading, including visits to a local primary school, nursery and care home.

"We organised and ran a range of reading competitions and author events, as well as recording and sharing podcasts. This created a buzz about reading across the school and in the local community, engaging more pupils in new and innovative ways."

West Lothian's Executive councillor for education David Dodds added: "Huge congratulations to the whole Whitburn Academy community on this fantastic award.
 
"To become the first school in Scotland to receive the Reading Schools' Gold award is an incredible achievement.
 
"As an ex-pupil and former teacher, I'm very proud of the superb work going on at Whitburn Academy, and many other schools around West Lothian, to help support our young people to achieve their full potential."

Picture courtesy of Rob McDougall/Scottish Book Trust.