Mandeville Primary school was delighted to welcome the Mayor of St Albans, Councillor Salih Gaygusuz, to formally open the school’s new outdoor reading house.
The £18,000 bespoke reading house was commissioned by the school as a result of an idea suggested to Mrs Cathy Longhurst, the Head Teacher, by the School Council. Year 4 representative, Olivia Harding said, “In September last year, we had a reading tent set up on the playing field as part of our reading festival. We loved being able to take our books into the tent at playtime to read and at the end of the week we asked the teachers if it could stay. Unfortunately, the big tent had to be returned so many of us started talking about how cool it would be if we had somewhere permanent to read every playtime. We asked Mrs Longhurst to look for a shed or something for us.”
Thanks to very generous donations made by Mandeville’s PTA and the “MandAid” charity, the school was able to commission a structure which was so much more exciting than a shed. The reading house is constructed on stilts over a mound of earth with steps leading up to a platform big enough to take a class of children at a time.
Councillor Gaygusuz thoroughly enjoyed his first visit to the school; speaking to the whole school he said, “I am delighted to be here today for the official opening of the reading house. This will provide you all with a lovely outside environment to enjoy your books and I hope you will all read much more because of it!”
The Mayor completed his visit with a tour of the school, going into each class to meet the children and encourage them with their learning. Cathy Longhurst, the Head Teacher said, “The Mayor’s visit to us today made the opening of our reading house a very special and exciting occasion. He spoke to the children about his experience of arriving in this country from Turkey when he was only 16 and there has been lots of discussion about his achievements in St Albans which have brought both aspiration and inspiration to our culturally diverse community.
“Our stunning new reading house will encourage children to take their love of reading outside as well and the children feel such a sense of accomplishment as they lobbied me hard to persuade me to spend our money on it! Our thanks go to all parents and friends of the school who have raised money through fairs, discos, camp nights and other means, and in particularly to the dedicated parents and teachers who organise such fundraising events so well.”