SHS Library is a vibrant place of learning, well-stocked with books for pleasure and to support learning, computers for the students to use both in lessons and at break-times, a well-qualified Library Manager, a team of helpful Library Monitors, board games, puzzles, a Reading Circle, and a creative writing club.
Ofsted have rated the Library and its resources as ‘excellent’ and the Reading Challenge (see below) as ‘a model of its kind’.
The Library is 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, including chess and other board games, creative writing, or contributing to the Library by being a Library Monitor.
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 their choice of book 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 supervised study periods or independent research, and have a dedicated range of books to support reading for pleasure, their A Level studies and to prepare them for University interviews.
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 for a whole day in the Library. 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.
Our Reading Circle meets once a week and shadows the Carnegie Book Awards every year and we attend or host a Shadowing Conference on results day with other schools.
The Extended Project Qualification is offered in the Library to 6th Formers. This highly-regarded qualification gives them the skills they will be using for degree-level study and can lead to a lower grade offer from many top Universities if they achieve the highest grades in the EPQ. The course has been running since 2014 and, so far, every student who has completed it has achieved A*/A grades.
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. More recently, Will Lawes, an eminent Corporate Lawyer and Financial/Asset Management Chief Executive, visited our 6th Formers, Business Studies students and Years 10/11 Scholars. He gave a fascinating talk about his role, the wider business world and the implications of Brexit.
Alex Steward, BA(Hons), DipRSA, Aclip