National Survey Results – Could do better!

School Librarians deliver their report card to Education Minister Nick Gibb.

Key findings include:

  • 9 in 10 schools in England that participated in the research have access to a designated library space, falling to 67% in Wales and 57% in Northern Ireland however;
  • Schools with a higher proportion of students on free school meals are more than twice as likely not to have access to a designated library space;
  • Employment terms for librarians and library staff fall below national standards, with low pay and little investment in professional development and training.

 

Commenting on the publication of the research, Nick Poole, Chief Executive of CILIP said: ” We welcome this landmark report as the first comprehensive picture of the state of play in our school libraries. On the one hand, it is a testament to the Head Teachers, Governors, Teachers and Librarians that value and promote the importance of school libraries for their learners and their schools. On the other hand the research paints a picture of inequality of access and opportunity and insecure employment that we cannot accept. The findings highlight the urgency of securing a national School Libraries Strategies and investment in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, drawing on the example of Scotland.”

To find out more about the Great School Libraries Campaign, please visit their website: www.greatschoollibraries.org.uk

BBC Young Reporter Competiton

BBC Young Reporter is an excellent way for your students to get involved in the whole topic of information literacy and fake news, whilst also having the chance to enter a competition for their voices to be heard on the radio.   Josie Verghese who is Head of Young Reporter told me:

“BBC Young Reporter works in partnership with schools, colleges and youth organisations to provide young people with the skills they need to create and understand the media. It is an opportunity for 11-18 year olds to develop media skills, news literacy and share their own stories with the BBC.  Educational establishments and youth organisations taking part will benefit from access to exclusive events, training and resources, as well as mentoring and career talks from BBC staff and journalists.

The BBC Young Reporter Competition is a chance for anyone aged 11-18 to suggest a story idea that they think the BBC should be telling – original untold stories that reflect young people’s personal experiences, insights or their community or about a subject that really matters to them.  There are two categories, “My Life” and “Our World” and young people can upload their ideas online – as a text or a video or audio clip. It isn’t about creating a finished piece; at this stage we just need an outline of their idea.

 The closing date is Sunday 26 October and all the details and the link to upload a story idea is www.bbc.co.uk/youngreportercompetition 

In addition, we have some specific news literacy online resources (including video masterclasses and some suggested lesson / activity plans) which you can view via www.bbc.co.uk/realnews

There is also an interactive learning BBC iReporter game which puts the player in the role of a journalist working at the heart of the newsroom during a breaking news story: www.bbc.co.uk/ireporter (usable on any computer, tablet or smartphone).”

I know that some of you will already be using this, but it is new to me – as are the news literacy resources, which are excellent.  If your school gains a place and you would like to share this story with Heart, please get in touch.  #GreatSchoolLibraries

#GreatSchoolLibraries Campaign is officially launched!

I hope that most of you noticed that this wonderful Campaign was launched yesterday, 20th September 2018.  I was certainly busy on Twitter with it!

Most of you know that with my other hat on I am Chair of CILIP’s School Libraries Group, and in this capacity I am on the team that launched this initiative.  Working in partnership with Alison Tarrant of the School Library Association and with other partners, we have started a three year campaign with the objective of raising the profile of school libraries with the government, Ofsted and educational professionals everywhere.  Our aim is to get them to realise the value that a school library brings. and therefore to properly fund them where they exist, and put them back in schools where they have been taken out.

To this end, we would value your help!  We have a data collecting team who is compiling a lot of information to prove the value that we bring.  If you could help us by sending us a case study (or two!) on how you have made a difference to teaching and learning.  I am attaching a template here, and an exemplar case study for you to look at.  If you need any further help with this, please contact me on this page and I will put you in touch with someone on the team who can help.

On the website you will also find two wonderful posters to put up in your library, and an exercise for your students to do as well, celebrating your library and what it means to them.  You can send pictures of these to us – send them to me and I will put them on the page.

Let’s celebrate our #GreatSchoolLibraries!  Please tweet about your successes using that hashtag, and let’s make this three year Campaign make a difference!

Draft guide and template

Case study example

Shine School Media Awards

Children’s author Karen McCombie is on the committee of the SHINE SCHOOL MEDIA AWARDS, and would love to get the word out to more secondary schools – state, independent and special – about this amazing competition for school newspapers, magazines, podcasts or websites( both print and online). And of course, she knows the best way to spread the message is via the school librarian – the font of all school-related knowledge! Here’s how Shine works: schools register an interest via the website, which is full of useful advice about how to start and run school publications. Shortlisted schools are then invited to attend a ceremony in the City of London, where pupils have the chance to take part in workshops, have lunch in the ancient and beautiful Stationers’ Hall, and step on stage to accept some prestigious prizes, which include offers of master-classes and work experience from some of the major communications industry bodies that support Shine. 

Schools can find out more and register at www.shine-schoolawards.org  Why not enter your school?

 

#GreatSchoolLibraries – a great campaign!

With my other ‘hat’ on, Chair of CILIP School Libraries Group, I am really proud to tell you about the new campaign backed by CILIP that was launched at our 2018 Conference.  The Great School Libraries campaign was launched by CEO Nick Poole in his opening speech. Working closely together with the SLA – School Librarians Association – CILIP, CILIPSLG and SLA are campaigning for the end of the closures of school libraries all over the UK.  Not only that but we would like to go further and we are stating that every secondary school should have a professionally staffed, fully funded library.  Please follow the link to register your support for this campaign, and to watch the presentation to see how we hope to achieve this together.

Dear Justine Greening – please save our school libraries!

Today a missive has been fired in the battle to try and halt the fast rate at which school libraries are closing.  With school budgets increasingly squeezed, it is very often that school librarians find they are suffering.  ‘Best’ case scenario is that the school library finds that it has no operating budget, and so pupils are left without access to the latest and best children’s books, including the prestigious Carnegie Medal books.  Worst case, the library is closed, or they make the librarian redundant and let the ‘library’ stumble on as a room full of books.  For of course, as we all know, a room full of books doesn’t become a library until and unless it has a skilled practitioner at the helm.  And a budget!

Former school librarian, author, and past CILIP President Dawn Finch had had enough.  After one particularly poignant tweet she decided to contact Nick Poole, the CEO of CILIP, and together they drafted a letter to Justine Greening.  As Chair of CILIP’s School Libraries Group I was also contacted, and was very proud to be a signatory to the letter.  At about five yesterday there were about 20 signatures.  Just before he went into a meeting Nick Poole tweeted that he wondered if any more authors would like to join in and sign.  When he turned his phone on after the meeting. Nick said ‘twitter had melted!‘ By the time the letter was published this morning, there were 150 signatures.  But authors have continued to tweet their support, and so the list of those who support school libraries is growing. The Bookseller also wrote a great piece in support of the cause.

The letter has now been sent to Justine Greening, and you can read the full text of it here.  There is so much more to add – as others have pointed out, we haven’t even touched on the role that librarians play in digital literacy yet, or in wellbeing.  But first things first!

There is also a hashtag going around called #schoollibrariesmatter. Please tweet using this hashtag.  Follow @NickPoole1 @dawnafinch and @CILIPSLG to retweet all the wonderful replies.  Let’s give this legs!

Finally, for a piece of work connected to this, Nick Poole has asked me to collect data around the running costs of STATE school libraries.  Please could you add your data to this Google Document. It is completely anonymous – all we want is Salary+budget  and County.  If more than one librarian included in that salary please indicate, and if zero budget please indicate too.

Thank you all!

 

UKEd nomination for best Educational blog!

Clipart

I am proud to announce that Heart of the School has been nominated as one of the best Educational Blogs in 2016!  This is in UKEd Magazine, and the blog is featured alongside teacher’s blogs.  Thank you to everyone who has contributed stories to Heart – all your hard work has been acknowledged!  Please do keep your contributions coming in – everything from lessons you teach on information literacy to displays you put up.  It is really important to show the breadth of things that school librarians do – we don’t just stamp books, we have a vital role to play in educating children.  If you wish to read the UKEd magazine with the nomination in, then you can download it from here.  Thank you everyone – and keep it coming!  We passionately want to show that school librarians make a difference to every school!

NaNoWriMo Young Writers Programme

This year, nanowrimoin my school, we plan to take part in NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month.  There is a Young Writer’s Programme for the under-18’s.  So I have created my Virtual Classroom, added in the participating students and their teacher, and await November 1st to see how it all pans out.  Has anyone else taken part in this with their students?  How did it go for you?  Leave a comment!

Here’s the website if you want to join in too: http://ywp.nanowrimo.org/

Pupil Library Assistant of the Year Award

play

The Pupil Library Assistant of the Year Award is a joint venture between the School Library Association and the CILIP School Libraries Group. As well as promoting the work and achievements of pupils within their school libraries, work which involves dedication and commitment but which often goes unnoticed and unrewarded, it also highlights the benefits and values of the school librarian.

Do you have a pupil librarian who could become the Pupil Librarian of the Year 2017?

Someone who is reliable, volunteers regularly and who has made a difference to the library, being a role model for others?

Someone who is an example of the synergy between a school library and the pupils?

Why not nominate them?

Watch out for more details when the award opens on September 19th

The award is supported by a number of leading children’s books publishers and the company, Authors Aloud UK, and judged by a panel of leading figures from the children’s book world and school library community.

For further information including nomination forms, contact details and sponsorship: http://libpupilaward.wixsite.com/home

About the CILIP School Libraries Group

The School Libraries Group (SLG) of CILIP affirms that school libraries and school library services are fundamental to the development of a literate population able to participate fully in a thriving democracy, culture, civilization and economy. www.cilip.org.uk/slg

About the School Library Association

The School Library Association is an independent charity that believes that every pupil is entitled to effective school library provision. The SLA is committed to supporting everyone involved with school libraries, promoting high quality reading and learning opportunities for all.  Website: www.sla.org.uk

Cutting the posts of all School Librarians in Argyll and Bute

School Librarians across the UK have always looked to Scotland as an example of best practice.  In Scotland, for years, all school libraries had to be overseen by a chartered school librarian, and were well stocked.  Unlike England, where professional qualifications were less and less valued, and the cheapest option often held sway – often with libraries closing altogether.  Well, no longer.  Argyll and Bute have now decided to do away with ALL of their school librarian posts – but not to worry, they have decided to keep their hanging baskets and municipal flower beds instead.  The towns will carry on looking pretty whilst the children lose a valuable educational resource – so that’s all right then, isn’t it? Children in Argyll and Bute will now be educationally disadvantaged compared to their peers in the rest of Scotland. If like me, you think this is certainly NOT all right, please protest.  Write to the council, and please do sign this petition to Save Scotland’s School Libraries.