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PSQM Schools invited to join the big ITCH read

12 February 2014

Nationwide school read of Simon Mayo’s children’s novel ITCH to launch during National Science & Engineering Week 

‘When you get the story and characters right, children and young people are really ready to engage with reading and also with science.’ BBC Broadcaster Simon Mayo

On Friday 14th March, the Primary Science Quality Mark (PSQM) will launch a nationwide school read of Simon Mayo’s debut children’s novel ITCH in partnership with Random House Children’s Publishers and the British Science Association.  The scheme will celebrate National Science and Engineering Week (14th-23rd March) and will encourage children to combine science with reading for pleasure.

Simon Mayo said: ‘I am so excited that schools around the country will be connecting through a nationwide school read of ITCH.  I am even more thrilled that we’re collaborating with the PSQM as they have such an important role in promoting and celebrating science education.  Since the publication of ITCH in March 2012, I’ve had the honour of visiting over 40 schools across the UK. When you get the story and characters right, children and young people are really ready to engage with reading and also with science.  This initiative will combine both and hopefully create many more young science-hungry reading enthusiasts.’

More about the read 

The read is only open to PSQM primary schools. The first 200 PSQM schools that apply will each receive 5 copies of ITCH in time for National Science and Engineering Week.  Participating schools are asked to read the book and produce a news and features radio show (maximum 5 minutes) relating to ITCH.  Schools can then enter their radio shows into a competition to win a visit (depending on location) from Simon Mayo and 50 copies of ITCH and ITCH ROCKS. More details about how to produce and submit the radio show will be sent to  schools with the copies of Itch.  

How to take part 

To apply to take part in the read, please email s.j.taylor@herts.ac.uk  by Friday 28th February. 

Key dates 

  • Friday 28th February Deadline for applications
  • Friday 7th March Successful schools to be notified by this date
  • Friday 14th March National Science and Engineering Week begin. Schools will receive books by this date.
  • Friday 6th June Radio show competition deadline
  • Friday 20th June Winning school to be notified by this date
  • Autumn term 2014 Winning school visit or interaction with Simon Mayo 

Further information 

Find out more about the PSQM at http://www.psqm.org.uk/

For information about National Science and Engineering Week go to www.nsew.org.uk

Random House Children’s Publishers UK (RHCP UK).  Find out more at www.randomhousechildrens.co.uk 

More about Simon Mayo and the ITCH series 

Simon Mayo is best known for his BBC Radio 2 Drivetime show. For the last two years he has juggled his broadcasting job with visiting schools and talking about ITCH and ITCH ROCKS. He has met over 10,000 children, as well as appearing at 15 literary and science festivals. In ITCH the reader meets 14 year old Itchingham Lofte, a science-mad element hunter whose life is turned upside down when he discovers a new and powerful element.  The element is so valuable that terrorists pursue him to get their hands on it, and Itch has to use all of his wits and scientific know-how to stop them. The book spent several weeks in the 2012 Children’s Hardback Top 10 and was shortlisted for the Specsavers National Children’s Book Award. Find out more about the ITCH series at www.itchingham.co.uk