New Deer Primary School wins national reading award

An Aberdeenshire school has been recognised as the top performing school in Scotland using Accelerated Reader.

Pupils at New Deer Primary School have been using Renaissance’s Accelerated Reader, a programme which encourages young children to read by use of a scoring system and online testing.

The books in the school’s library are all labelled with a reading level and points value. All the children are set a target within their reading level by the teachers to be reached that term. Over the past few years the library has been revamped and stocked with new and exciting books, which has helped the children to meet or even exceed their target.

Last year, New Deer was shortlisted for the Top Performing Primary School but was pipped at the post by another Aberdeenshire primary Keig School, however, this year the school went one better by winning the award. New Deer’s head teacher Wilma Mutch. travelled to London to accept the prize.

Wilma said: “I am absolutely delighted that New Deer Primary School has won this award. I was thrilled to accept it on behalf of our pupils, teachers, staff and parents. Our parents support us hugely with Accelerated Reading, and most engage digitally with their children’s progress. One parent volunteers in the library weekly, making sure the children can access the books that interest them.

“The Parent Teacher Association fundraise to pay for our subscription to Accelerated Reading and there has been a lot of support from the community too. I am grateful for the money for books donated by David Smith of Cloffrickford Renewable Energy from his voluntary Renewable Energy Fund and from New Deer Show.”

Cllr Gillian Owen, Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee chair, said: “It is hugely pleasing to see schools in Aberdeenshire being nationally recognised for encouraging children to read. Our schools use a variety of techniques and tools to help children and young people get into the habit of enjoying reading.

“Our Libraries and Information Service run the annual Summer Reading Challenge, which also inspires children and young people to pick up a book during the holiday months. We are also working on a literacy strategy which will give further support to teachers and parents with encouraging reading.”

The school has also received a Pride of Buchan Award presented by Cllr Norman Smith, chair of the Buchan Area Committee, on behalf of the committee in recognition of the school’s achievement.