Supermodel and entrepreneur David Gandy is launching one of the country’s biggest school reading competitions in a bid to help improve children’s literacy levels across the country.

Ten Million Minutes, run by education charity Achievement for All, aims to get children reading at every primary school in England during the challenge which takes place over one week; 9th – 15th March 2017.

David Gandy is encouraging schools to take part in the competition, which challenges their pupils to read for as many minutes as they can in one week. The school which reads for the highest number of minutes by the end of the week has the chance to win a brand new library or reading area for their school worth £10,000 courtesy of Peters.

David, who is ambassador for the charity, is a firm believer in the importance of reading to a child’s progress. He said: “Reading is so important in everyday life – it’s a vital skill to have yet many children struggle. The Ten Million Minutes campaign is designed to make reading fun for everyone and I would personally like to encourage every single primary school in England to take part.

“Achievement for All has run regional versions of the challenge over the past year and they have been hugely successful, with teachers saying that even the most reluctant readers had their heads buried in books during the competition. Now every primary school has the chance to get involved and benefit from this fantastic campaign. It’s free for schools to enter, it will help encourage children to read and there is a chance to win some amazing prizes. It’s a no brainer, it’s a win win situation.”


The campaign is also being backed by an abundance of prolific authors including Anthony Horowitz, Anne Fine, Jonathan Meres, Ian Douglas and Claire Freedman.

Primary schools can register for the challenge here, where they can also log in daily during the challenge to enter the number of minutes read by their school. A live online leaderboard will calculate their position, so they can race other schools to get to the top. To ensure the competition is fair for schools of all sizes, the leaderboard will be decided on the average number of minutes read per child.

Along with the main prize, there are some fabulous runner-up prizes: Three £250 vouchers to spend on primary resources with Oxford University Press, five bundles of notebooks and filing products from Nuco International Ltd, and 20 fun sticker packs courtesy of The Sticker Factory.

Professor Sonia Blandford, founder and CEO of Achievement for All, said:

“Being able to read is a fundamental life skill. Despite the best efforts of teachers and parents alike, research shows a quarter of all children leave primary education without reading well and in England, struggling to read is more closely linked to low pay and the risk of being unemployed than any other developed country. Shocking statistics that we want to change.

“Ten Million Minutes is designed to be fun and inspire children to read through a competitive element. We want to bring back a love of reading; for children to put down their phone and tablets, switch off the TV and pick up a book. Not only is reading enjoyable and calming for many, it is also essential to a child’s education. Research shows that by reading for just an extra ten minutes a day can have a huge impact on their progress. This is a competition they can do at home and at school – all reading counts. Together let’s see if we can smash our ten million minutes’ target!”

Achievement for All is one of a coalition of charities leading the Read On. Get On. campaign to get every child reading well by the age of 11 by 2025.