A school and community that has helped itself

I would like to comment on the article "The Sense of Belonging" (TES, Children's Books and Reading Extra, July 5). It has been my privilege to be the headteacher of Bayswater School since last September.

Although parts of the local area suffer considerable deprivation, this is a vibrant community whose parents are passionately interested in the education of their children. Our recent comprehensive parents survey produced a response from nearly half our parents. Also there exists an education advocacy group as well as school liaison groups to provide regular opportunities to discuss issues of common interest.

One such issue has been literacy, which is a national concern particularly in our cities. At Bayswater we have responded positively to such concern. One of our strategies is the Reading Quest programme. It has already made considerable inroads into the task of raising reading levels and we anticipate that by the end of next year we will have placed over half of the school population as well as local first-school children on this scheme.

The school has a pervading sense of optimism and high expectations of its staff and pupils. This is reflected not only in the teaching but also through the "enrichment" programme which we run after school for our many able students.

It is against this fertile background that the National Literacy Trust approached us to ask if we would be prepared to be one of the first dozen locations for "Reading is Fundamental". We gladly accepted because we have the interest and the structure already in place to enable the scheme to be developed. This is a school and community that together has recognised the needs of its youngsters and has helped itself. The consequence has been that agencies and trusts have invested in us to continue our work. This was not apparent in your article and I consider it vital that this crucial aspect is noted by your readers.

Clive Lambert Headteacher Bayswater middle school Bayswater Road Headington Oxford

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