Pupils from a school renowned for its approach to diversity have had their love of reading boosted by a Christmas gift from a North-East building society.

Corporation Road Community Primary School, in Darlington, made national headlines last month for its heart-warming support of pupils from 28 different countries.

Now, Darlington Building Society has made a Christmas donation to buy a large outside reading shed for the school, which is in one of the most deprived areas of the town.

The money comes from sales of a children’s book – Darly’s Magical History Ride – which was commissioned by the Society as a creative way of inspiring children to get into the savings habit.

Darly is a magical little train, created by the Society to promote junior savings. Whenever a Darly Young Saver Account is opened for a child, they receive a moneybox in the form of a train, and can add carriages for achieving savings milestones.

Darly’s Magical History Ride was written by journalist and author Peter Barron, who serves as a non-executive director of the Society, with proceeds from sales of the book going towards buying books, or other literacy materials, for local schools.

Corporation Road Community Primary School decided to use its donation to buy the reading shed for the school grounds, providing a safe and quiet space for pupils to read.

Headteacher Mark Dipple said: “For all of our children, reading is the gateway to a successful education. It’s the bedrock of everything we do in school, so we want to do everything we can to encourage our children to read.

“To receive this Christmas surprise from Darlington Building Society means so much to us because it’s never easy to find the extra funds for activities outside of the curriculum.”

English lead, Charlie Johnson, added: “This grant will enable us to broaden the reading experiences of our children, giving them more opportunities to enjoy books outside of the classroom.

“We have a great love for reading for learning, and reading for pleasure. Having the large reading shed will build more excitement around literacy, so we can’t thank Darlington Building Society enough for their kindness.”

A recent Ofsted report gave the school a ‘good’ overall rating, and ‘outstanding’ in a number of key areas. Inspectors highlighted how the school had risen to the challenge of caring for pupils from so many different countries, with some of the children coming from the families of refugees, asylum-seekers, and those fleeing war zones.

Darlington Building Society chief executive, Andrew Craddock, said: “We heard about the remarkable achievements of Corporation Road Community Primary School, and are thrilled to be able to contribute to the education of pupils at such as diverse and tolerant institution.

“We love the idea of using money from the sales of our Darly book to provide pupils with a magical outside area where they can discover the joy of reading and let their imaginations run wild.”