In November 2013 Chancel Primary school was awarded a £10,000 Lottery grant to be spent on a new innovative library area for the school. The money was spent on the construction of a narrow boat to be placed in the school grounds and to be eventually used as the school library.
The boat was constructed by Nick Thorpe at the boat building site in Hixon. It took a few months to build because so much effort and precision was needed.
We were all very excited when the building was finished and the painting could begin! However, we didn’t realise just how many coats it would take!
Over the Christmas holiday several members of staff and parents visited the boat yard to help paint the undercoat.
Finally, we were able to start adding a splash of colour to our narrowboat!
It took several coats and each section of the boat needed to be painted in a particular direction. Again, this wouldn’t have been possible without the staff and parents who gave up their time over Christmas to lend a hand!
Then, the big day arrived! At last it was time for the boat to be delivered! Lots of businesses and representatives from the local community were invited to Chancel to celebrate with us. There was a fantastic turn out and even a BBC film crew turned up to film the event for BBC Midlands Today.
We were fortunate to receive funding from the Rugeley Amazon Fulfillment Centre to enable us to employ the services of a professional boat painter to paint the name on the sides of our new boat. The ‘Discovery Deck’ sits proudly on our school field.
We had lots of help from parents and members of the local community to help us to get the inside of the boat ready. We designed custom-built bookcases, and had to think carefully about seating, lighting and heating. We wanted to create an engaging space for children to learn in.
We held a grand opening in October 2014 and invited the whole school community to join in the celebration. We were joined by children’s author Steve Smallman and storyteller Cindy Faulkner, who helped to cut the ribbon and led workshops all day for our pupils.
Our new library is now used every day by our pupils for reading for pleasure, literacy lessons, and book clubs, and is also used for community events and meetings.
We were very fortunate to be given 25 Kindle devices by Amazon, which are also used by pupils on the boat (as well as the classrooms) to read e-books. Our school has carried out a long programme of fundraising to purchase new books for our library, offering our pupils the very latest titles.
The Discovery Deck is now a place where children can come and relax, chill and calm down as well as learn more about their emotions, mental health and wellbeing.