Children’s laureate Chris Riddell, has been praised for calling on the government to investigate the closure of school libraries.
Riddell wrote an open letter to Justine Greening, the secretary of state for education, calling on her to: “set out clear standards for library provision that will end this disadvantageous school library lottery that limits many children’s life chances.”
“I am asking you to ring-fence funds for this from the education budget so that every school has a library service it can be proud of,” Riddell wrote in the letter published by The Guardian on Scribd.
In response to the letter a Department for Education (DfE) spokesperson said it was up to schools to decide where their funding was spent.
“We want all children to have the opportunity to read widely – school libraries play a role in this and schools are responsible for deciding how to provide this service for their pupils,” the spokesperson explained.
“This is backed up by a record £40bn schools budget this year and it is up schools to spend their funding as they see fit.”
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“Reading is a key part of a child’s education and ultimately helps them to reach their full potential,” the DfE spokesperson continued.
“That’s why we’ve strengthened the curriculum to focus on developing their reading and writing skills, and teaching phonics helps children acquire the basic building blocks of reading.”
Riddell’s letter received the backing of all eight former children’s laureates – Quentin Blake Malorie Blackman, Julia Donaldson, Anne Fine, Michael Morpurgo, Jacqueline Wilson, Michael Rosen and Anthony Browne.
It has also been praised by representatives of the School Library Association and The National Literacy Trust.
Sally Duncan, assistant director of the School Library Association told The Huffington Post UK…