Education secretary Michael Gove has today confirmed that Booktrust will receive £7.5m in 2011–12 and £6m in 2012–2013 to deliver the national bookgifting programmes Bookstart, Booktime and Booked Up. The bookgifting programme will remain a universal offer, but will be enhanced by new elements offering targeted support for disadvantaged children and families.
Faced with the challenge of a significant reduction in central funding we have had to make tough decisions about the future shape of the bookgifting programmes – one of which has been to lose one of the universal packs (Bookstart+) as part of the Bookstart programme. We are pleased, however, that we have been able to safeguard the core bookgifting offer, so that every child has access to books at key stages of their development.
Working closely with our partners, we will ensure the continued delivery of a universal offer in a cost effective way and also create new offers targeted to those most in need. This will mean that as well as receiving free books for children to read for pleasure, schools with a high proportion of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds will be invited to join the programme.
The schemes are:
- Bookstart Baby (0–12 months) – universal offer
- Bookstart Corner (12–30 months) – targeted through Sure Start children's centres
- Bookstart Treasure Bag (3–4 years) – universal offer
- Booktime (4–5 years, Reception-age) – universal and enhanced by a targeted Primary Programme for Reception age and Year 1 children
- Booked Up (11 years, Year 7) – universal and enhanced by a targeted Secondary Programme for children in Years 7 and 8
We are tremendously grateful for the support we have received from publishers, authors, local authorities, libraries, health officials, schools and children’s centres over the past few months and look forward to consulting closely with all of our partners about the shape and details of the programmes.
Joint statement from Department for Education and Booktrust, 27 December 2010
'The Department for Education and Booktrust are determined to ensure that reading for pleasure is a gift every child can enjoy. That is why the DfE will continue to fund Booktrust book-gifting programmes in the future. Although the current contract will end in April the Department are talking to Booktrust about how to develop a new programme which will ensure that every child can enjoy the gift of books at crucial moments in their lives while ensuring we develop an even more effective way of supporting the most disadvantaged families to read together. The Department and Booktrust will be working together, with publishers, in order to ensure that we can make every possible saving in developing an enhanced programme.'
Statement from Viv Bird, CEO (Booktrust)
'I am delighted that Michael Gove has acknowledged the immense value of reading for pleasure and our bookgifting programmes - Bookstart, Booktime and Booked Up - by pledging to work with us to ensure that every child in England continues to receive the gift of books and the opportunity to develop a lifelong love of reading.
We have been overwhelmed by the huge and spontaneous show of support from parents, library staff, health visitors, teachers, authors and many others, who have lent their voices to our cause. Each and every one of them has played a vital role in keeping the reading for pleasure agenda alive over the past week or so.
Booktrust have always endeavoured to deliver excellent value programmes. During these challenging economic times we have worked particularly hard to make significant cost savings across all of our activities. We are looking to meet with the Department for Education early in the New Year to secure a financial commitment from the government and to discuss how we can develop the bookgifting programmes to ensure that they continue to offer the best possible value whilst retaining their extraordinary quality and reach.
Booktrust already supports disadvantaged families through tailored resources and guidance and we look forward to discussing with the Government how we can do even more for those families who are not confident around books and sharing stories with their children.'
Viv Bird (27 December 2010)
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