A Knaphill school now has its own “reading forest” after its former ICT suite was transformed.

Knaphill Schools PTA made the most of the funding it received from Surrey County councillor Saj Hussain as part of the Your Councillor Community Fund to renovate an area within the junior school and create a new library space.

The school had a disused room which would provide a large, bright space for a library, but it required a lot of work to transform it.

The first step of the project was to ask the children what they wanted from a new library and the school’s reading ambassadors shared their thoughts on their dream space. Their vision was to create a “Reading Forest” with trees, leaves, vines, flowers, plants, toadstools and inspirational quotes.

The PTA used the funds to purchase key elements of the design and also approached local businesses for support to bring the project to life. They were grateful to Wickes, Homebase and Select Carpets, who provided a range of decorating and furnishing items.

Students and staff in the newly opened library
Students and staff in the newly opened library (Credit: Knaphill Schools PTA) (Knaphill Schools)

With the materials secured, the PTA and members of the Knaphill community worked to transform the space.  A feature wall was installed, living walls were added and an array of book-themed finishing touches created - including hand-painted replica Harry Potter wands and a giant Cheshire Cat!

“There’s no doubt that school libraries reduce educational inequality,” said Debbie Harrison, headteacher at Knaphill School. ”They give all children equal access to the same breadth of reading material, regardless of how many books they have at home, and are crucial.

“I can’t imagine a life without books and having our own library supports our vision for our children to leave school with a love of reading.”

Vikki Zeila, vice chair, Knaphill Schools PTA, added: “This space will provide hundreds of children in the local area with an immersive library experience.  We are immensely proud that we have been able to deliver this project for our community. ”

Cllr Hussain said: “What the PTA and school have achieved here is wonderful.  I am pleased I was able to support them with such an important project.”