Ofsted have rated the Library and its resources as ‘excellent’ and the Reading Challenge (see below) as ‘a model of its kind’.
The Peer Supporters are based in the Library and students know to find them in here if they would like some support with any issues or concerns they may have. It is also one of the places students come to meet with their friends, get support with homework, find resources to support their learning, get advice on what to read next and then find a quiet spot to immerse themselves in their books or the variety of activities on offer.
The Library is well-used during lesson times when teachers bring groups of students in to use the resources. All Key Stage 3 students enjoy a fortnightly English lesson in the Library when they have an opportunity to read for pleasure. Other subject teachers bring students in to research their topics and to receive information skills sessions. Sixth Form students use the Library for research and have a dedicated range of books to support reading for pleasure, their A Level studies and to prepare them for University interviews.
On National Poetry Day each year I take a group of Year 7 or 8 students to Sheringham Public Library to have fun with words with a local poet or storyteller.
The Reading Challenge takes place in the Library twice a week during Registration. This is where trained year 10 Reading Coaches help Year 7 students who may be struggling with their reading.
Our Author in Residence, Alexander Gordon Smith, runs creative writing workshops over the school year, working with all Year 7 students. A published author and graduate of the UEA’s renowned Creative Writing course, with a mixture of humour and ghoulish tales he draws creative skills out of the students they didn’t know they had.
Author Robert Rigby is also a regular visitor and his workshops and books have shown many a reluctant reader that books and stories are for them too.
Other visits planned include the annual Festival of Literature for Young People at the UEA and the Norfolk Children's Book Festival. We shadow the Carnegie Book Awards every year and will attend or host a Shadowing Conference on results day.
I manage and teach the academic and research skills required for the Extended Project Qualificationwhich is offered to highly academic Year 12 students. All have achieved outstanding results (A or A*), which has helped them to receive offers and places from the top UK universities.
I also liaise with the organisation ‘Speakers for Schools’ and we have benefitted in the past from a visit by entrepreneur Stanley Jackson, who gave an inspirational talk about aspiring to succeed to Year 9 students. We were also thrilled that Sir Peter Bazalgette (pictured), Chair of Arts Council (England) visited our 6th Form to address our students.
Alex Steward, BA(Hons), DipRSA, Aclip