This is an excellent and important research paper, for us all to use for advocacy. Good research showing that a good school library does impact results. It also tells us what a good school library looks like. Also good for showing headteachers why they should keep/why they should have a library. And finally the report highlights the importance of digital resources, and the place they have to play in a good school library. Essential reading for all of us!
Recently, Michael Gove was asked questions by a Parliamentary committee about a whole host of subjects submitted by the Twitter community under the hashtag AskGove. Lots of us school librarians got involved, and asked why libraries were statutory in prisons and not in schools. So many of us asked the question, that it was actually put to Michael Gove. He had a very short answer, but I think it does start in the right direction. Now it is up to CILIP and the SLA to follow up with Michael Gove and see that all school libraries are fully resourced, fully staffed and inspected by Ofsted.
There is a very interesting new piece of research into children’s digital fluency, which can be accessed either from a link on the Evidence page of Heart, or downloaded from the Reports section of the Box files. It talks about how children rely on the internet for their sources, and how reliable that is. As a result of their findings, the authors strongly recommend that the Government put digital literacy on the curriculum. However, they acknowledge in the report that there is no proper place for it to be taught, arguing that ICT probably has the strongest claim to teaching these skills.
However, many school librarians have been angered by the report, which makes no reference to them, and indeed the research did not include them. Surely one of the core skills of any good school librarian is teaching digital/media/information literacy. We do this all the time, yet once again our skills are being ignored, even though we are the people best qualified for teaching these skills.
What do you feel about this? Read the report, which has some very interesting and useful information for us to absorb, and then make your comment on the author’s blog here. Comments welcome here on Heart too.
Ofsted have made a really positive mention of school libraries, and the effect they have on literacy, in their latest report entitled: ‘Removing barriers to literacy’. This is the extract, from paragraph 100. ‘The primary and secondary schools visited emphasised the school library as contributing markedly to improving literacy skills. All the schools visited had well-resourced libraries, often with computerised loan systems and facilities for accessing learning resources on an intranet. Libraries in the secondary schools were often open for much longer than the school day. This enabled students to complete their homework on the school’s computers before and after school. The enthusiasm and responsiveness of the librarian generally had a direct impact on the attitudes of the students towards the library and reading.’
If Ofsted feel that the library is so important for literacy – and this is a pretty strong endorsement – isn’t it about time that school libraries were inspected by Ofsted, and the lack of a library made a point of failure for a school?
BookTrust, that amazing organisation that funds Bookstart, BookTime and BookedUp, has been told that they are losing 100% of their funding. Which means, of course, that no more Year 7 pupils will receive the gift of a wonderful new book, all of their own. And no more young families will recieve books to encourage them to read to their babies and young children either. Many of those families are disadvantaged or have English as a second language, where early literacy skills are of vital importance. This is also the week in which The Guardian published a study which shows that teenagers in the UK have slumped to 25th place in reading ability. This will come as no surprise to many school librarians, but to have one of the weapons we use to fight back with taken away will be a very, very grave loss. Please share your stories of how Booked Up books are used to help the pupils in your school, and the activities you do around this event.