Minister for Education and Skills, Leighton Andrews, has today announced that Booktrust Cymru’s Foundation Phase programme would receive Welsh Government funding of £200,000 for a three year period.
The funding will help pay for a book bag containing two storybooks - one in English and one in Welsh; resources for each school; a support officer to work with schools beforehand; and an evaluation of the programme.
A report into a pilot version of the programme in Bridgend and Wrexham found high levels of satisfaction amongst teachers, parents and pupils, with 81% of teachers saying that the packs would be useful or extremely useful for supporting teaching and learning in the Foundation Phase; and 96% of parents reporting they had used the English language book with their child. Thirty seven percent had used the Welsh book.
In addition to funding for the new programme, the Welsh Government will provide a further £586,000 for the Booktrust Cymru’s Bookstart and Letterbox Club programmes, which provide very young children and looked after and vulnerable children with free books and resources.
Other recipients of funding are Family Learning Programmes, which will receive £1.673 million, and the Welsh Books Council which will receive £337,000.
Education Minister, Leighton Andrews, said:
“Nothing is more important than ensuring all of our young people reach the reading level that is suitable for their age.
“If we’re to encourage good reading habits, then it’s essential that children have access to the books and resources they need.
“The funding I’m announcing for Booktrust Cymru will give children that head-start and help us in our drive to improve literacy in the Foundation Phase.”
Rosemary Clarke, Director of Bookstart and Bookgifting Programmes said:
“Booktrust are thrilled that the Welsh Government is to continue to fund Bookstart / Dechrau Da for every baby and toddler and Letterbox Club, for looked after children.
“In addition, the new programme for the Foundation Phase will build upon Bookstart and continue to support every child in Wales on their reading journey.
“This is very good news for every child, and parent in Wales. By working together we can give each child a priceless gift - a lifelong love of books and reading.”