Head Wins Community Reading Champion Award

21st June 2024

Reading at Carclaze C.P. School is synonymous with Simon. Anyone who knows Simon or has worked with him, knows how passionate he is about reading for pleasure and how tirelessly and unashamedly he promotes it.
Simon has been known to quieten even the noisiest of staff meetings by reading colleagues a story!
It was this passion that led to him to found the St Austell Festival of Children’s Literature in 2023. His aims were simple:
  1. To make a difference to young lives through the power of reading
  2. Celebrate the fact that choosing to read improves life outcomes
  3. Enable children to experience a live author event
  4. Support families in choosing to read together
  5. Inspire a community that embraces reading for pleasure
Last year’s event hosted 17 authors across 4 locations in St Austell town and was attended by over 800 people. Not happy with the success of one festival, Simon immediately began plans to make 2024’s festival bigger and better!
This year, there are over 25 children’s authors in attendance and events stretch across 3 days and award-winning author, A F Steadman is the first Festival Patron of Reading.
This is not an easy task to achieve. It takes a lot of time to put an event such as this together, and Simon’s ‘spare time’ has been spent signing up authors, locating venues and generating funding. He will be the first to say that it’s not all about him and a shout out has to go to the fabulous team that supports him; however, it is Simon’s vision that ensures the festival takes place.
This month,  Simon was awarded the Open University Reading for Pleasure Award for organising the St Austell Festival of Children's Literature which has had a positive impact on the local community.
This is what they said about him at the awards ceremony:
'We are delighted to let you know that you are the winner of the Community Reading Champion Award. Congratulations!'
'You have clear aims to build a reading community, engage families and improve children’s lives through reading for pleasure. There has been an enormous amount of work involved to make the St Austell Festival of Children’s Literature happen, from practicalities and publicity to the sheer drive to keep going and bring people with you.'
'The festival is a wonderful example of how to ignite change. We are so impressed with its impact on the community. The outcome has been amazing and your plans to grow and build on it are exciting and inspiring.'
'You really have made a difference and are a well deserving winner. Carclaze staff, parents and pupils are so proud of Simon and all that he has achieved for us and the local community and couldn’t agree more that he was a worthy winner. Reading really does make a difference. Congratulations Simon.'
The 2024 St Austell Festival of Children's Literature is taking place from 28 to 30 June in various venues in St Austell.  The Schools' Day will take place on Friday 28 June, with hundreds of local pupils attending talks and workshops from children's authors.
For further information visit:  St Austell Festival of Children's Literature