Schools minister Nick Gibb, today (17th November) challenged publishers to make 100 classic books available at low cost, so all pupils have the chance to read them.
Texts such as Great Expectations, Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre should be made available to secondary schools at reduced prices, Gibb said.
Penguin has said it would make 100 books from its Black Classics range available at low prices to schools and Scholastic has offered to give schools 26 books for £1.50 a copy.
“Under our plan to extend opportunities to every child, we want every pupil to have the chance to be taught and read a wide range of literary classics which can inspire a lifelong love of reading,” Gibb said. “Access to these wonderful novels shouldn’t be the preserve of the few.”
Gibb is encouraging publishers to make titles where the copyright has run out 70 years after the death of the author available at low cost to schools.
Gibb unveiled his challenge during a speech at the Publishers’ Association's Education Conference today (Tuesday).
Earlier this year, the government issued a call to publishers, schools, literacy organisations and early years’ providers to join forces in a bid to make English pupils the most literate in Europe by 2020.
Gibb also praised publishers for responding to his call for better quality textbooks after saying the “anti-textbook ethos” in English schools needed to end.
He said that some “great strides” have been made – particularly in mathematics – but called for more good textbooks to be made available.