Maximise your book buying budget

School libraries in the UK are feeling the full impact of the cost of living crisis, with student numbers increasing and local education authorities making cuts. A report from the Institute of Fiscal Studies forecasts that school spending per pupil in England will be 3% lower in 2024-25 than in 2010. Combined with inflation, calls for a teacher pay rise and additional support for pupils in the wake of the COIVD-19 pandemic Schools are under unprecedented financial pressure. Many school libraries suffer from this.

The youngest of the school library associations School libraries in lockdown The report found “significant disparities” between schools when it comes to library funding, with some schools freezing or cutting budgets for new book collections to offset financial pressures in other areas.

School libraries have an average of 500 to 1,000 books on their shelves, according to a reading survey conducted at 1,387 schools. This is significantly less than CILIP’s target of 10 to 13 books per primary school-age child, which would equate to 2,500 to 3,000 books per school.

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Catherine Bell, co-group leader of Scholastic UK, said: “Access to books has been shown time and time again to improve children’s life chances, particularly those from the lowest income families… Only 6% [of schools] are able to meet the recommended 10-12.5% ​​title turnover to keep books available and up-to-date – adequate funding for school and library resources is therefore essential.”

Launched in March 2019, the Raintree Match Funding Scheme is a national initiative designed to support nursery, primary and secondary schools in the UK to continue to support children to develop a genuine love of reading and learning whilst maximizing their budget . Successful application UK establishments will receive a pound for pound match on their order to enable them to purchase additional Raintree products. For example, if a school places an order worth £3,000, Raintree will pay half of that order, leaving the school only £1,500. This helps schools double their budget to buy books and further develop a reading culture among their students.

As the winner of Best Marketing Campaign at the 2021 Educational Resources Awards, Raintree’s Match Funding program was recognized for helping schools maximize their budgets by offering an impressive selection and quality of books.

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Over 2,500 eligible products are available from Raintree’s broad catalog, from picture books to moderate stories, graphic novels and high interest non-fiction. Notable inclusions are over 1,000 volume titles, from Pink to Dark Red, and 1,400 books queried for Renaissance’s Accelerated Reader. Schools can also get the award-winning Engage Literacy reading program at half price, which includes over 360 book readers and extensive teacher support. Additionally, over a hundred specially curated book packs are available with match funding, covering a wide range of topics from graphic novels to STEM, KS2 history to inclusive character fiction.

Browsing through all of these titles couldn’t be easier. Successful applicants will receive a free copy of the 2023 Raintree catalog and relevant brochures, the content of which can also be viewed online on their website. Schools can order online or via email by completing a special Match Funding order form.

Are you considering an application? Applications are open until 28 October 2022 at 23:59 (GMT). Schools can apply through the Raintree website here.

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Hundreds of schools have used Match Funding and love it! Here are some fantastic testimonials from schools and kindergartens:

“Working in a school in a disadvantaged area, Raintree’s Match Funding Scheme has been instrumental in rejuvenating our heavily used library. The children were very happy about all the books that were delivered and they awakened a new joy in reading!” Claire Moseley, Early Years CoordinatorKentmere Academy and Nursery School, Lancashire

“I was pleasantly surprised by the titles available in this program, including fiction and non-fiction. Additionally, most of the books have Accelerated Reader quizzes, which my students make good use of.” Minh Nguyen, Learning Resource Center ManagerWhitley Academy, West Midlands

“Great value for money and quality books. Raintree’s online catalog is very user-friendly, making it easy to find what you’re looking for. So glad to discover the Match Funding Scheme!” Hayley Dix, Communications OfficerNursery and Primary School Devonshire Hill, London

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