A stampede by Shropshire primary schools to sign up to the Shrewsbury Bookfest Book Award 2020

The latest Shrewsbury Bookfest Book Award project for primary schools in Shropshire has been snapped up by a record number of schools within days of it being launched earlier this month.  Organisers at Shrewsbury Bookfest have been inundated, and nearly overwhelmed, with applications from primary schools up and down and across the county.  Places for the awards ceremony, scheduled for April 2020 at Theatre Severn, were filled within the first 6 days of the launch.

“Never before has the response from schools been so quick, definitive and unquestioning.  Forget the surveys and post project analysis - this action was the most demonstrative indication that more and more teachers across Shropshire support this impactful project having seen the positive effect the project has had since we first ran the project in 2010.” Says Sophie Peach - chair of Shrewsbury Bookfest.

Bookings for the whole project have had to close ahead of the deadline due to full capacity being reached.  This means over 2,000 pupils from 37 primary schools will be taking part in the sixth Book Award project designed to get children reading for pleasure….whatever their level of ability.  Over 1700 copies of the shortlisted fiction and picture books will soon be filling the shelves at their schools’ libraries.

Award winning children’s author and patron of Shrewsbury Bookfest, Piers Torday says:

“Shrewsbury Bookfest is quite unlike any other regional book award. Child led and centred, it a response from young readers that beats hands down anything I’ve ever experienced at other awards for its passion, imagination and creativity.” 

Jackie Hampson of Castlefields Primary School, Bridgnorth says of the project:

“It has a massive, positive impact on reading and writing in our school. It is the shared experience that brings the whole class together. Reluctant readers are inspired to read, and the choice of texts means there is always something that is suitable for the range of children in the class.  As a teacher, I feel it helps me to keep up to date with current literature aimed at children. This is so valuable.”

The response from primary schools to the Shrewsbury Bookfest Book Award project has confirmed to the organisers that this initiative shows that projects such as these, delivered by the team of mainly volunteers, is filling an urgent need in primary schools because they reach right into the heart of classrooms and to every pupil, to make a positive difference in fostering a love of reading.

"I think that Book Award is the best project we have ever taken part in. For many children they moved beyond ‘surface’ reading, and reading because they have to, to reading because they want to. Nothing else has engaged an entire class in reading a set of books like this project has."  Greenacres Primary School

The Shrewsbury Bookfest Book Award 2020 is split into two projects - the Big Book Award for children aged 9-11 years old and the Picture Book Award for children aged 5-7 years old and has been carefully designed to help and encourage all children to develop a love of reading and express their views about contemporary fiction. The Book Award 2020 projects follow on the resounding support and enthusiasm shown by primary schools in Shropshire who have taken part in previous Shrewsbury Bookfest Book Awards since 2010. 

The cost of delivering the project is heavily subsidised to the tune of around 60% by successful applications by the Bookfest team to trusts and foundations.  The remaining portion of the delivery cost is borne by the schools taking part.  The project is largely run and delivered by a professional group of volunteers at Shrewsbury Bookfest and represents overwhelmingly excellent value because for as little as £4 per pupil, schools can expect:

  • To send their teachers to Shrewsbury Bookfest’s CPD conference ‘Unlocking the Power of Stories’ in November 2019 with renowned leaders in children’s education and literature, at the University Centre Shrewsbury.
  • Receive multiple copies of the shortlisted books for their school/classroom libraries (to keep…forever).
  • Access a full pack of classroom activities based on the shortlisted books.
  • Their pupils to take part in an art competition with winning entries being exhibited at the Museum in Shrewsbury in May 2020, a creative writing competition and a film trailer competition.
  • Their pupils to share their views on the shortlisted with the wider community about the books through the Bookfest website.
  • Live screening of the Awards Ceremony at Theatre Severn in April 2020.  

The shortlist for the Big Book Award (for 9-11 year olds) will be revealed on 20th November 2019 and the shortlist for the Picture Book Award (for 5-7 year olds) will be revealed in June 2020.

This is a short film produced during the previous Book Award 2018 project: https://youtu.be/U3XfpQEuriw