Despite the fact that 33.5% of the UK’s school aged population come from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities, only 7% of children’s books published in the last three years have featured a minority ethnic character.

As part of a drive to readdress the balance and increase the cultural diversity of the reading material available to its pupils, Bishop’s Primary School has been accepted to take part in a pioneering project with Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books.

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement of 2020, the diversity project and fundraising campaign aims to give visibility to works by authors from BAME communities, which feature more diverse characters to help increase understanding and provide a stepping stone for teachers to encourage discussions around race and equality.

Bishop’s Primary School was one of 33 North East primary schools to benefit from the project. Since December, packs containing a range of diverse storybooks suitable for young readers have been delivered to all five of the school’s campuses in South East Northumberland in time for National Storytelling Week (30 Jan – 6 Feb), to the delight of the staff and pupils.

Mr Jack Christophers, Director of Literacy at Bishop’s Primary School, commented:

“At Bishop’s Primary School, we believe that our pupils learn so much through the stories they interact with and this is reflected in the fact that all of our pupils enjoy story time as part of their daily timetable. We also believe that education on matters such as diversity, equality, race and religion should start from a young age.

“Through the project with Seven Stories, we are delighted to be able to combine these two beliefs. By ensuring that we have a culturally diverse supply of stories to share with our children, we can actively support their cultural understanding and personal development.

“On behalf of all of the staff and pupils I’d like to thank Seven Stories for all of their hard work in putting this project together. Our campus libraries are now much truer reflections of the world around us and will benefit our pupils for years to come.”

John Coburn, Creative Director at Seven Stories, commented:

“At Seven Stories we believe that children’s books are a powerful way to open up conversations with children about a range of topics, including diversity, equality and racism. By supporting this fundraiser, we’re helping North East primary schools – including Bishop’s Primary School – to grow the diversity of their book collections and in turn, inspire young minds with new voices and experiences that might otherwise be missing from their bookshelves.”

Serving South East Northumberland with campuses across Ashington, Newbiggin-by-the-Sea and Lynemouth, Bishop’s Primary School (part of Northumberland Church of England Academy Trust) is one of the largest primary academies in the region, with over 1,600 pupils aged 2-11.

For more information about the project, visit