Friday, 14 May 2021

School wants to turn old annexe into new library

A NEW library is set to be created at Ewelme Primary School.

The school wants to refurbish a former annexe and small kitchen and toilet area.

New heating and furniture would be installed as well as new books, bean bags and sofas to turn it into a space where children could enjoy reading.

Headteacher Joe Ottaway, who joined the school in September, said he would like to see the project completed by the start of the next academic year in September.

He said the space in the current library was limited and served as a thoroughfare.

“Although we do have space that’s used as a library it’s also used for music lessons and by small groups,” said Mr Ottaway.

“Because of the way the library is used and set out there’s a lot of books and resources the children can’t get to very well.

“The school is lucky in that it has got quite a lot of books but really we need to look at updating these because some of them are a little bit tired now and worse for wear. We want to create something that really celebrates books and promotes a love of reading. I think the key thing would be a space that would really show off the books and encourage children to engage with them.”

The school and annexe form part of a complex of medieval buildings, which includes the church and almshouses.

The primary is the oldest functioning maintained school building in the country. An extra storey was added to the annexe during the Second World War to house evacuees. More recently it was used as a classroom but this wasn’t ideal as it is separate from the main school building.

Mr Ottaway said: “It’s a shame that we have this building that has quite a rich history but is not being used, or certainly not to its full potential. It would be nice to see the building in the next stage of its history and given a new lease of life.”

He has asked several companies to visit the school and look at the space to see what could be achieved.

The likely cost of the project has not been revealed. “We’re certainly looking to raise thousands rather than hundreds,” said Mr Ottaway.

Ginny Light, whose six-year-old daughter Nora, attends the school, said the current library was more of a book store as there was no space for children to sit and read.

“The idea is to create a really lovely library space where there’s a bit more room,” said Mrs Light.

“It’s very easy for children to be distracted by screens and I think it’s great to have a space that’s warm and comfortable and somewhere they want to spend time and be inspired by books.

“I’m really excited they are investing in something around reading.”

A fundraising barn dance will be held at Manor Farm in Cuxham on May 16 from 4.30pm to 8.30pm.

Tickets cost £10 for adults, £5 for children aged four and above and £25 for a family of two adults and up to four children. Babies and toddlers go free.

Tickets are available from Ewelme Village Store or call Debbie Thomson on 07957 663087 or email

Other future fundraising events include film nights and a sponsored circuit session with an athlete.

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