Children at schools across Sunderland will be taught valuable lessons through a reading canon which follows them throughout their education pathway. St Mary’s Catholic Primary School has teamed up with St Aidan’s Catholic Academy and St Anthony’s Girls’ Catholic Academy to deliver a reading canon which will introduce pupils to a love of reading from the age of three right up to 18.

The three schools are part of Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust which looks after 25 primary schools and five secondaries across Sunderland, East Durham and South Tyneside.

The joined-up approach between Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), Key Stages One and Two (KS1/2) and Key Stages Three and Four (KS3/4) means that all children from the three schools and their parents/carers can track the books they will read throughout their school career from nursery to sixth form.

Reading brings the colour to everything,” said Martin Clephane, headteacher of St Mary’s Catholic Primary School on Meadowside. “Reading is the gateway to other worlds; it can take you on a holiday in your mind. It develops your vocabulary and a richer use of language which leads to stronger communication skills which leads to becoming a more successful person.

St Mary’s reading journey has a selection of books for each year group with popular titles including Helen Oxenbury’s We’re Going on A Bear Hunt in EYFS and Julia Donaldson’s Stick Man in Year 1 right up to Louis Sachar’s Holes and Michelle Magorian’s Goodnight Mister Tom in Year 6.

At St Mary’s, our curriculum incorporates BREW, which stands for belief, rights, environment and wellbeing,” said Mr Clephane. “All the books in the reading canon have some reference to BREW and allude to that. They also align with the history and geography curriculums in school.

At secondary level, the books align to the Protected Characteristics [of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion/belief, sex (gender) and sexual orientation].

They are not random books but have been specifically chosen to instil values into the children throughout school,” added Mr Clephane. “It also means the children have a swathe of reading material on top of their reading books to enjoy.

Glenn Sanderson, headteacher of St Aidan’s Catholic Academy, said: “Reading fuels our pupils’ knowledge and imagination. It takes them to new worlds and allows them to become citizens of the world.

For more information, please visit

Download the full Press Release here.