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SLA Blog » July 2012RSS Feed RSS

The SLA blog contains news about the SLA and topical information of general interest to our members. The blog has been running since 2004. An RSS 2.0 feed and information about how to subscribe to the blog are available.

Older blog posts are still available, though archived, on the website, but please check the date at the top of the post to make sure the offer or information is likely to be valid.

A new Copyright and Schools website is launched

Copyright and Schools is a working group of representatives from the licensing bodies that provide licences for the use of copyright material in the schools sector. The group aims to manage the issues that surround copyright in schools through raising awareness, providing information and increasing the two-way understanding of the concerns of both our rights-holders and the schools that benefit from using their work.

The Copyright and Schools website is an information resource to help schools navigate copyright licensing and understand how copyright material can be used legally within a school — providing accessible, relevant and up to date information to support the curricular and extracurricular use of copyright content.

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School Libraries in 2012 - the SLA Survey

SLA Coloured LogoThe knowledge, enthusiasm and professional experience of school library staff continues to underpin pupils’ achievements throughout their school careers, according to our snapshot survey of more than 1,000 school libraries.

Our report outlines the key entitlements that a school library can fulfil for children and young people.  However, the report is realistic about the obstacles to school libraries achieving these goals, not least a decline in budgets in real terms. As a general rule the larger schools have the larger budgets, but one school surveyed with more than 2,000 pupils only has £2 per pupil to spend, and one academy of more than 1,500 pupils only spends 31p per pupil on library budget, while another spends 62p.

In the conclusion to the report I state: “The SLA is committed to supporting everyone involved with school libraries, promoting high quality reading and learning opportunities for all.  The results of this survey seem to indicate that there is less and less of a high quality service being provided for our students.  Without the skills and pleasures that reading and researching can give us we will have a cohort of students lacking essential life and work skills.”

The SLA recommends the following steps to ensure that all schools have equal access to the benefits of school libraries, while recognising that the solution for each school will be different:

  • Government support for trained school librarians in secondary schools as a first step towards trained librarians in all schools
  • Ofsted inspection of the role of school libraries in schools reading for pleasure and literacy policies
  • Ofsted inspection of the library role in whole school curriculum support
  • Schools Library Services offering more Librarian-based advice and support services into Primary Schools to support staff there
  • Exploration of co-location and facility sharing options between public and school libraries, groups of schools or clusters

School Libraries In 2012

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The full report is available to download, as well as the press release and the summary report of the data.

SLA School Libraries Survey PR

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Full Summary Report

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CLPE Poetry Award 2012

CLPEThe winner of the 2012 CLPE Poetry Award is Rachel Rooney for her collection, The Language of Cat.  Rachel joins a group of highly regarded previous winners including Carol Ann Duffy, JackieKay, Roger McGough, John Agard and Philip Gross.

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Department for Education backing Reading for Pleasure

DFE Backs Reading.htmlRepresentatives from the book industry met on19th July to discuss reading for enjoyment and how schools could be supported in adopting reading for pleasure strategies.

The meeting, organised by the National Literacy Trust, the Reading Agency and Booktrust, and backed by Pearson, discussed Ofsted’s new requirement for schools to “develop policies to promote reading for enjoyment”.

From September, all schools that are judged by Ofsted to be outstanding will need to demonstrate that their strategies encourage “reading widely and often across all subjects”.

For a fuller report access the Bookseller here

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Free online course on Fantasy and Science Fiction

Coursera are running a free online course on Fantasy and Science Fiction deleivered by Eric S Rabkin, a professor from the University of Michigan, which starts on 23rd July.

There are no prerequisites for the course but it is expected to be at the level of an advanced undergraduate. For further details have a look at the Coursera website.

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SLA President interviewed in Books for Keeps

A lovely article in Books for Keeps from the new SLA President Kevin Crossley-Holland.

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More Lighting the Future Presentations

Lighting The FutureMore presentations from our Joint Weekend Course Lighting the Future are now available online. To view the presentations, please visit the Lighting the Future website and choose Presentations from the main menu.

If you gave a presentation at the course and it isn't listed, please send it (or a link to it) to contact@lightingthefuture.org.uk.

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Study shows correlation between school librarians and test scores

Preliminary findings of a research study conducted by iSchool professor Ruth Small and graduate students in the Center for Digital Literacy (CDL) at Syracuse University, New York State, show a statistically significant increase in the ELA test scores—almost a 10 point difference—among fourth-grade students whose schools had certified librarians over students in schools without certified librarians.

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The first week in July

BB 2012Last week was one of those interesting weeks where lots seemed to happen.  Two days were spent in the office in Swindon doing lots of admin and also meeting with our new accountant and starting to build a fruitful working relationship with him. 

Wednesday I got to sit in on the deliberations for the final judging of the Information Book Award for 2012 – and was amazed and delighted by the rigour of our judges and their passion for the subject!  Watch out for a super event in the autumn where the winners are announced and celebrated.  Meantime - make sure you are registered with our website to take part in the Children’s Choice voting – and make a splash with Information Books in your library!  Later that day I went to see the new venue for School Librarian of the Year – it will be super, and very central in London.

The following day, also in London, was very mixed – running from a meeting with Nick Gibb, Minister for Schools at the DfE to a book award! Any meeting with the minister is a valuable opportunity to put across our point of view, and hear from the government side what’s occupying their mind.  There were no real surprises, but a lively discussion ensued between us (Lin Smith, Karen Horsfield, Ginette Doyle and me) and the Minister and his team.  We shall await feedback with interest.

Then I had the pleasure of attending the Branford Boase Award which is doubly enjoyable as the celebration is of children and young people who write, as well as a newly published author and editor!  All the children get to meet all the authors there – and have their prizes presented by patron Jacqueline Wilson.  The winners were Annabel Pitcher & Fiona Kennedy from Orion – and there is a full report and pictures on the Branford Boase website.   Carol Webb, the 2011 School Librarian of the Year, was involved as one of the judges this year. Congratulations to everyone involved!

After a packed week I then went to the Silverstone F1 Grand Prix – you will have seen the reports of the mud and the chaos in the press, so really quite glad to be back at the office again today!

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Stan Lee Excelsior Award 2012

The award ceremony for the Stan Lee Excelsior Award 2012 for graphic novels was held on Friday 6th July.The full results can now be revealed!

1st Place - STAR WARS: BLOOD TIES by Tom Taylor and Chris Scalf (Dark Horse)

2nd Place - CHIMICHANGA by Eric Powell (Dark Horse)

3rd Place - GREEN LANTERN: SECRET ORIGIN by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis (DC)

The winner of the JABBICA (Judge A Book By Its Cover Award) award was - SITA: DAUGHTER OF THE EARTH by Saraswati Nagpal and Manikandan (Campfire)

Thw winner of the TRUE BELIEVERS AWARD (for the school that returned the most Rating Forms) was - CHILWELL SCHOOL, NOTTINGHAM 

See the website at http://www.excelsioraward.co.uk/shortlist2012.html for more details.

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Boys' Reading Commission Final Report

Research consistently shows boys’ reading lags behind girls'. The All Party Parliamentary Literacy Group Boys' Reading Commission was a joint venture with the National Literacy Trust from January to June 2012. The report says action needs to be taken in homes, schools and communities.

The Commission's findings, published on Monday 2 July 2012, reveal that three out of four (76%) UK schools are concerned about boys’ underachievement in reading despite no Government strategy to address the issue. Last year an estimated 60,000 boys failed to reach the expected level in reading at age 11.

The Commission’s report, compiled by the National Literacy Trust, reveals the “reading gender gap” is widening and says action needs to be taken in homes, schools and communities, with recommendations including boys having weekly access to male reading role models.

MPs and Lords who sat on the Commission heard evidence from teachers, researchers, literacy experts and children’s authors Michael Rosen and Anthony Horowitz.

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No place for bullying - Ofsted survey report

A wide body of research indicates that bullying is a problem for many young people, and that some of this takes place in schools. The aim of the survey was to evaluate the effectiveness of the actions that schools take to create a positive school culture and to prevent and tackle bullying. A large part of the survey focused on pupils’ own experiences and understanding of bullying and its effects. The survey report looks at what schools can do to create a positive school culture and to prevent and tackle bullying.

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Ofsted - A good education for all - key changes for schools

Ofsted has published a revised school inspection framework and grade descriptors for implementation in September 2012. This leaflet sets out the main features of Ofsted inspections from September, including the key changes, for ease of reference. This could be a really useful document for school librarians to advertise and disseminate in school.

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Winning Words

Winning WordsWinning Words is a poetry initiative that is part of the Cultural Olympiad. They are a UK-wide public art project that aims to link poetry and sport throughout 2012 to engage the public with the unique power of poetry.   There is a fantastic new series of poetry films that they have produced in order to promote the project.  You can also play The Generator - a new creative game to help you make your own Winning Words inspired by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.  Designed for all ages you can select your level, choose your genre and get started straight away

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End of term reminders!

SLA Home PageAs many of you are preparing for the summer, catching up on all those little checking jobs that build up through the year - make sure the email address for your e-newsletter is your most current.  You can check your details - or sign up to the newsletter here - http://www.sla.org.uk/settings.php .

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