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SLA Blog » June 2019RSS 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.

Branford Boase Award 2019 Winner

In the Branford Boase Award’s 20th anniversary year Muhammad Khan and his editor Lucy Pearse have won for Khan’s debut novel I Am Thunder.


Branford Boase Winners release 2019 (1)

PDF file, 156 kB (Requires Adobe Reader)


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Job Vacancies, School Librarian: The Hemel Hempstead School

School Librarian

The Hemel Hempstead School

Grade: H6 – H7 (Depending on Experience)

Salary £22,462 - £26,999 (£18,653 - £22,420 Actual Pro-Rata)

Full Time 37 Hours per Week / Term Time Only

Closing date: Friday 5th July 2019, 12 noon

Interview date: TBC

We are seeking to appoint an experienced, enthusiastic and highly efficient School Librarian with substantial relevant experience, ideas and commitment, to join this popular school.

The successful candidate will lead, develop and manage the facilities in our School Library which is used by the whole school community. They will have excellent communication and interpersonal skills, appropriate IT skills and be able to work confidently with both students and staff.

The Hemel Hempstead School is a popular over-subscribed school sited in pleasant grounds in the village of Boxmoor close to national rail and road links to London.  An Ofsted inspection in May 2016 judged that the school continues to be good, stating:  'The school's values of 'Responsibility, Respect and Relationships' are at the heart of the atmosphere at The Hemel Hempstead School.  You and your team prepare pupils to be courteous, considerate and capable young people, ready for the adult world'.  There are 186 students in each of Years 7 – 11 and a thriving Sixth Form of more than 230 taking a range of A Level and BTEC qualifications.  This year we will expand to 210 students in Year 7.

Further details, including application forms, are available on our website at https://www.teachinherts.com/find-a-job/view,school-librarian_55143.htm

Please send completed forms to Mrs J Avey, School Business Manager, The Hemel Hempstead School, Heath Lane, Hemel Hempstead, Herts HP1 1TX.  Tel: 01442 390100, email: j.avey[at]hemelschool.com by the closing date.

You may also apply online at www.teachinherts.com

Please note, if you have not been contacted within one week of the closing date you have not been shortlisted for interview.

The Hemel Hempstead School is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of young people and expects all staff to share this commitment.  All post holders are subject to a satisfactory DBS enhanced disclosure.

Job Description & Person Specification are available on the website: 

More Details...

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School Librarian of the Year Award 2019: 2019 Winner Announced


Ros Harding from The King's School Chester has been awarded the honour of the School Librarian of the Year 2019. YA Book Prize winner Sara Barnard presented Ros Harding with her award at a special ceremony at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel London Kensington on 27 June 2019.

Head Librarian and Archivist at The King's School Chester (an independent selective school for ages 3-18), Ros Harding contributes in many ways to the life of the school and to the wellbeing of its students and staff.  She was described variously as  "caring, for people but also for the library itself", "inspiring curiosity" and a "tour de force". As well as establishing a School Book Award, Ros is an excellent ambassador of research skills and ensures all aspects of the school to have a place within the library. She empowers pupils and gives outstanding support and pastoral care.

 Sue Bastone, Chair of the SLA School Librarian of the Year Selection Committee, said:
"It was a real honour to visit the three exceptional librarians on this year's Honour List and it was incredibly difficult for the judges to pick a winner. Ros's professionalism and contribution to teaching and learning make her a highly valued equal among her teaching colleagues. Her caring and inclusive nature is appreciated by students, staff and parents, many of whom describe her as inspiring, not least in the way she makes things happen to the benefit of all who come into contact with her, from junior school pupils to the Senior Leadership Team."

Noting that the award is a unique and wonderful celebration of the work of school librarians, Alison Tarrant, Chief Executive of the School Library Association, said:
"The Honour List this year are fantastic examples of the impact that effective school libraries can have, as shown by the affection and respect with which pupils and teaching staff talk about them. All three have all had a positive influence on the learning that goes on within their schools, both formally and informally. Ros has 'redefined the role' according to her nominee and all prove that the stereotype of a school librarian who sits behind a desk and stamps books is just that – a stereotype. All the Honour List should be incredibly proud of their contribution to ensuring all their pupils have a fully rounded education."

Two other exciting and innovative librarians were shortlisted for the Award: Helen Cleaves (Librarian/Learning Resources Manager at Kingston Grammar School) and Chantal Kelleher (Learning Resource Centre Manager at Herne Bay High School).

Read the full press release:


PDF file, 244 kB (Requires Adobe Reader)

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Kwame Alexander author visit prize draw

BookTrust is excited to offer secondary schools the chance to win a visit from Kwame Alexander (The Crossover), and a copy of this brilliant verse novel for every student, when they sign up to Bookbuzz.

Kwame Alexander

Encouraging Year 7 and 8 students to spend more time reading for pleasure, BookTrust’s Bookbuzz is a reading programme gets students excited about reading. It supports them in developing their identity as a reader and discovering the value of book ownership. Bookbuzz gives every student the chance to choose a book to keep from a range of titles and supports teachers and librarians with practical resources to build a buzz about reading in their school.

This exciting prize draw will give one lucky school the chance to enhance their students’ Bookbuzz experience and find out more about The Crossover straight from the author. Kwame Alexander is an innovative and incredibly exciting author of many novels and poems, often experimenting with formats and genres. Students will get the chance to ask Kwame about his writing, the inspiration behind his stories and share in his love for books!

As well as The Crossover by Kwame Alexander, Bookbuzz offers a range of seventeen books of a variety of genres and interests, with everything from spooky thrillers to interesting non-fiction about the world’s animals.

‘Giving students a free book, at the beginning of their first year in a new school, is a wonderful way to start.’Claire Friedli, Librarian, Carterton Community College

To be in with a chance of winning this great prize, schools must sign up to Bookbuzz for £3 per student by Thursday 4 July 2019.

Visit booktrust.org.uk/bookbuzz  to find out more!


Terms and conditions apply.

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Member benefit reminder

Reminder about an SLA member free trial to Q-files with access to a wealth of info for your pupils.

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Authors’ impact on children and young people's literacy engagement

The NLT have pulled together research into the impact author visits have on children and young people’s reading and writing enjoyment, behaviours and attitudes.

Far more children read above their expected level, enjoy reading more and have increased confidence after an author visit.

Plus SAS personnel turned author  Andy McNab recounts his love for reading.







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Congratulations to Merseyside Librarian


Echo Schools Awards in association with Excell Supply celebrates schools, teachers, pupils & support staff from across Merseyside. The winner of the School Support Staff of the Year is Jacque Hale, the school librarian from St Hilda’s School. Huge congratulations to Jacque in this vital role.




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Development and Discussion 2019 8: Power of Storytime

This month's Development and Discussion blog comes from Alison David, Consumer Insight Director at Egmont Publishing. It's a fantastic study into the power of storytime. And I would argue that we need to continue doing this: what you read changes; how you discuss it changes; but it is valuable, regardless of whether it's 'The Tiger that Came to Tea' or 'The Odyssey'. This post helps show the full extent of the positive impacts. 


What happened when storytime was introduced in Key Stage 2?

Through extensive research at Egmont we know that reading to children, for fun, is the most powerful agent in encouraging independent reading. However, most parents stop reading to their children at around the age of 8, believing that once their child can read, he or she will choose to read for pleasure. Only:

  • 32% of 0-13s are read to daily by their parents

  • 29% of 0-13s read daily for pleasure

  • 19% of 8-10s are read to daily by their parents

By contrast, when 8-13s are read to by their parents less than weekly, 29% also read independently for pleasure daily; when 8-13s are read to by their parents on a daily basis, 76% also read independently for pleasure daily.[1]


Reading for Pleasure is a statutory requirement on the curriculum

The Department for Education's 2015 report, Reading: the next steps, states that nothing is more important in education than ensuring every child can read well, and the way to do this is to instil a passion for reading for pleasure.

 "Pupils should be taught to …develop positive attitudes to reading and understanding of what they read by…listening to and discussing a wide range of fiction, poetry, plays, non-fiction and reference books or textbooks"

Department for Education English programmes of study: Key Stages 1 and 2.  National Curriculum in England. September 2013. Statutory requirement

The use of language is interesting – ‘taught’, ‘discussing’. There is an implicit expectation that children should have an opinion and will be expected to share it. It naturally leads to testing their understanding and comprehension, and it means that children are very likely to view reading as a lesson and not a pleasure. It also reveals there is a belief that reading for pleasure is a subject that can be taught. However, pleasure is an outcome. It cannot be learned, though it can be shared.


Case study St Joseph’s school, Goldenhill, Stoke on Trent

Egmont’s most recent research has a simple idea behind it: many children are not being read to at home, so what happens to their attitudes and motivations to read for themselves if their teachers read daily to them, just for fun, with no testing and no formal learning agenda? Egmont worked with KS 2 to investigate this. 

The project findings:

  • Across KS 2 over a 5-month period, reading comprehension improved dramatically:

  • Year 3 improved by an average of 15 months

  • Year 4 improved by an average of 9 months

  • Year 5 by an average of 10 months

  • Year 6 by an average of 7 months


The school is of mixed ability so the averages include some already capable readers who might not be expected to improve so much. There are some truly astonishing individual improvements within those 4 years:

  • A boy in Year 3 improved by 2 years and 8 months

  • A girl in Year 4 improved by 2 years and 1 month

  • A girl in Year 5 improved by 1 year and 7 months

  • A boy in Year 6 improved by 1 year

  • The project was galvanising and joyful. Behaviour and attainment changed.

  • It was a great stress release for children and teachers, and children were much more keen to read

  • Teachers found it impossible to make time to read daily due to the already heavy demands of the curriculum.  They managed 3-4 days a week on average over the autumn term 2018

It seems that the more reading for pleasure is uncoupled from lessons, the greater the impact it has on attainment. It is an easy and low-cost solution to the challenge to get children reading. Being read to, just for pleasure, should be an intrinsic part of the school day, as normal, unquestionable and as unchangeable as lunch break.

At Egmont we believe it is every child’s right to be read to every day.


Alison David

Consumer Insight Director, Egmont Publishing


To read the findings from the research at St Josephs in more detail, click here: https://www.egmont.co.uk/stories-and-choices-research/


[1]Nielsen’s ‘Understanding the Children’s Book Consumer 2018

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STEAM Children’s Book Prize winners

Steam Logo


The inaugural £1,000 STEAM Children’s Book Prize has been won by author Christopher Edge for The Infinite Lives of Maisie Day.

Edge's novel is a mystery about a girl who wakes up on her birthday to an unsettling, all-consuming blackness. Maisie must work with the laws of the universe to try and set her world right.

Roman Belyaev won the best information book award for How Does a Lighthouse Work?  How the Borks Became by Jonathan Emmet and Elys Dolan was named the best early years book.

White Rabbit Red Wolf by Tom Pollock won the YA prize and Battle of the Beetles by M G Leonard was the winner of the ‘Your Choice Award’, which is voted for by school pupils.

The prize was set up by UCLan Publishing to celebrate children’s books that highlight the importance of science, technology, engineering, arts and maths.


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Profile of Helen Cleaves

Cleaves,helen Web

The third of our profiles of the three exciting and innovative librarians who have made it onto the Honour List for the SLA School Librarian of the Year Award 2019. The Award Ceremony takes place in London on Thursday.

Helen Cleaves is Librarian/Learning Resources Manager at Kingston Grammar School where she has an impact which extends well beyond the library doors. From welcoming new staff with a breakfast croissant and liaising closely with pastoral staff through to promoting academic rigour at Head of Department meetings, Helen is utterly committed to ensuring that the library is welcoming, relevant and purposeful.

Read her full profile and a revealing Q&A: https://www.sla.org.uk/helen-cleaves.php

"Nothing beats the conversation with a student who has just finished a book that they loved, and so discovered a new favourite author to explore further."

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Job Vacancies, Headington School: Graduate Boarding Assistant - Library

Headington School, Oxford

Graduate Boarding Assistant - Library, fixed term, term time (residential)

Start date: September 2019    Salary: competitive

Headington is a vibrant and welcoming school set in 23 acres on the outskirts of Oxford. The School is renowned for its commitment to academic excellence, pastoral support and an impressive range of extra-curricular opportunities.

We are seeking a term-time only Library Graduate Assistant who has a passion for children's literature and enjoys working with young people and can assist in the boarding houses. This position may suit someone who is considering a career in Librarianship or teaching and has an interest in boarding. You will live and work at the School for the academic year September 2019 – July 2020.

We are seeking confident, resilient, well-rounded personalities with good flexibility to be able to adapt to changing circumstances to fulfil the role which will comprise of mainly librarian and some boarding duties.
If you are interested in applying for this position please refer to our website: www.headington.org  for a job specification and application form.

Please send your completed application form and covering letter to recruitment[at]headington.org

Closing Date for applications: 6 July 2019

Applicants must be able to provide evidence of having the right to live and work in the UK and be prepared to undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service check.

Headington School is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people. Applicants must undergo child protection screening, including checks with past employers and DBS and barred lists checks. The School expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment. Headington School is an equal opportunities employer.

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Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Awards Winners 2019


The CKG winners have been revealed. Certificates for the Shadowers’ awards and medals for the most prestigious children’s book prizes were presented in a ceremony today.

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Profile of Chantal Kelleher

Kelleher,Chantal Web

Introducing the second of our profiles of the three exciting and innovative librarians who have made it onto the Honour List for the SLA School Librarian of the Year Award 2019.

Chantal Kelleher is the LRC Manager at Herne Bay High School, a popular, oversubscribed school that prides itself on its culture of high expectations and values. The school is committed to ensuring that every child is given the opportunity to reach their full academic potential whilst supporting them to develop as mature, confident and rounded individuals ready to flourish in a rapidly developing world.

Read her full profile and a revealing Q&A: https://www.sla.org.uk/chantal-kelleher.php

"It is a pleasure to promote informal learning in a supportive environment. Successfully matching a student to a book they really enjoy, especially if they would not previously have considered themselves a reader, is a delight that never palls."

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Research article - impact of reading whole novels aloud

This article looks at the practice of reading aloud, and the impact it can have: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/lit.12141

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Alligator's Mouth Award 2019

The Alligator's Mouth Award 2019 for illustrated early fiction has been won by Nick Sharratt for Nice Work for the Cat and the King

Details here 


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Space book giveaway

15,000 free books to be given away to UK schools to get children excited about space

A new school project will encourage thousands of British students to explore the Universe, thanks to freely available teaching resources. Curved House Kids have launched a new primary education programme, in partnership with the Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC).  The Deep Space Diary programme introduces KS2/P5-7 students to astronomy, physics, engineering and space through the story of the James Webb Space Telescope. With the support of the STFC, 15,000 free books will be available to schools across the UK with priority given to those in disadvantaged areas or with high numbers of pupil premium.

Further details here.


PDF file, 91 kB (Requires Adobe Reader)



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Profile of Ros Harding


Introducing the first of our profiles of the three exciting and innovative librarians who have made it onto the Honour List for the SLA School Librarian of the Year Award 2019.

Ros Harding, Head Librarian and Archivist at The King's School Chester, contributes in many ways to the life of the school and to the wellbeing of its students and staff.  She was described variously as  "caring, for people but also for the library itself", "inspiring curiosity" and a "tour de force".  As well as establishing a School Book Award, Ros is an excellent ambassador of research skills and ensures all aspects of the school to have a place within the library.  She empowers pupils and gives outstanding support and pastoral care.

Read her full profile and a revealing Q&A: https://www.sla.org.uk/ros-harding.php

"I love seeing pupils develop from a shy Year 7 into a successful and confident young adult."

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Member Benefits: Member giveaway - The Good Thieves

12.6.19 To celebrate the publication of Katherine Rundell's Good Thieves tomorrow Bloomsbury have generously offered a giveaway for SLA members. Three members can win signed copies of Good Thieves and Katherine's other forthcoming title, Why You Should Read Children's Books along with related goodies by emailing  childrenspublicity[at]bloomsbury.com with 'SLA - The Good Thieves Competition' in the subject line. Winners will be picked at random, good luck!

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Job Vacancies, Highgate School: Library Assistant, Highgate School

Highgate School

Library Assistant

Dates: Closing date is midday on Sunday 23rd June 2019 but applications will be considered on receipt.

Salary: Circa £8,386 per annum (full time equivalent £28,363)

Location: Highgate, North London

Contract type: Part time (15hrs per week), term time only Monday-Friday 11.15am-2.15pm

The role: To support the Senior School Librarian and the Deputy Librarian in the daily operations during peak hours of the Senior School Library and thereby to provide a high quality, efficient library service for the pupils and staff of Highgate School; in doing so, to support the Library and School Development Plan objectives. An interest in supporting literacy and learning for pupils from 11-18 is essential, as well as working to the highest professional standards.

To apply: For further information and an application form, please visit our website: http://www.highgateschool.org.uk/about/vacancies


Highgate School was established in 1565 by a Royal Charter of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the First. Sir Roger Cholmeley, our Founder, was granted Letters Patent to found 'a grammar School…for good education and instruction'. Today Highgate is a flourishing coeducational independent School which includes the Senior School for pupils aged 11-18; the Junior School for pupils aged 7-11 and the Pre-Preparatory School for pupils aged 3-7. There are currently in the region of 1,850 pupils at Highgate and the School employs approximately 550 full-time or part-time teaching and support staff.  

The School is situated in one of the most attractive and sought after areas of North London, only a short journey from Central London and adjacent to Hampstead Heath. The hilltop site in Highgate Village is the historic site of the Senior School. A few hundred yards along Hampstead Lane in Bishopswood Road lie the Junior and Pre-Preparatory Schools and the extensive playing fields, adjacent to the open spaces of Kenwood and Hampstead Heath. The Northern Line underground station is a short walk away and it is four miles to Central London.

Working at Highgate offers the opportunity to be part of a vibrant and welcoming community, committed to academic excellence and the highest standards of pastoral care for its pupils. The Governors consider the development of excellence in the education offered to the pupils to be the underlying purpose of activities undertaken by all staff.   

Highgate is committed to the safeguarding and welfare of children and applicants must be willing to undergo child protection screening appropriate to this post, including checks with past employers and the Disclosure and Barring Service.

Highgate Library Assistant Job Description

Word document, 54 kB (Requires Microsoft Word 2007 or later)

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Stig book competition

The SLA is delighted to offer the chance to enter a new competition with prizes for pupils and separate prizes for the school. This comes about thanks to the launch of The Stig and the Silver Ghost, the third in a series of comic adventure novels aimed at 9-12 year-olds.

 For the pupils exciting prizes featuring the Stig and Top Gear filming await, while the school, get the chance to win £90 towards SLA training/publications if you’re already a member, (non-members will win a year’s membership) as well as winning a set of the first two books in The Stig fiction series.

 Any participating school can claim the first book in the series free, and schools with a library budget of less than £2000 a year can ask for more copies of both the first and second books. Request your books  here


The pupil competition:

Review either of the books and have the chance to win the third book in the series, due out in September 2019. The reviews can be written or on video, and all entries can be submitted here . Entries should include the first name of the pupil, their age and their school. The top 20 entries will each win a copy of the Book 3 - The Stig and the Silver Ghost - plus a £90 credit on their account.

There are also rumours around a potential visit to the winning school from a certain silent racing driver, though we can't confirm at this stage. All we know is, the closing date for this is not until 2nd September - so there's lots of opportunity to get involved, and encourage pupils to participate over the summer. (By entering this competition, you agree for the SLA/The Stig books to use the review and name of the school on social media and websites should the entry be chosen as a winner.)






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School Librarian of the Year Award: Announcement of the 2019 Honour List

The School Librarian of the Year Award is the School Library Association's prestigious honour to recognize the excellent work that is carried out in school libraries every day and highlight the best practice of those whose work is outstanding. Three exciting and innovative librarians have made it onto the Honour List for the SLA School Librarian of the Year Award 2019.

  • Ros Harding - Head Librarian and Archivist at The King's School Chester
  • Chantal Kelleher - Learning Resource Centre Manager at Herne Bay High School
  • Helen Cleaves - Librarian/Learning Resources Manager at Kingston Grammar School

These are three exceptional school librarians; each has made a huge difference to the lives of the students and people they work with, igniting a passion for reading, setting students on a learning journey, teaching them essential skills, as well as supporting staff and reaching out to the wider community. Any one of these three would be a worthy winner of the SLA School Librarian of the Year Award. Full profiles will follow on the SLA website.

Sue Bastone, Chair of the SLA School Librarian of the Year Selection Committee, said: "The Honour List this year are a remarkable set of librarians. They have come through from an extremely strong field and the judges have had very difficult decisions at each stage. These school librarians are leaders in the field and exemplars for the profession."

Read the full Press Release:

SLYA Honour List Press Release

More Details...

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Cheltenham Literature Festival Schools' Programme

The Cheltenham Literature Festival announces its schools’ programme which is open for bookings from 11th June. Packed with events to appeal to both primary and secondary schools, this will be very popular so get in fast!


·        The 2019 Festival will run from 3 – 14 October

·        Early names will be announced on 29 June and the full programme on 16 August

·        Follow @cheltlitfest on Twitter and #cheltlitfest for further updates

·        Sign up for e-news alerts at www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/literature

More details: 

Press Release CLF

PDF file, 423 kB (Requires Adobe Reader)


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New research from CLPE

New research from CLPE supports Children’s Laureate Lauren Child’s call for children to be allowed time to think and develop ideas

The CLPE’s new Power of Pictures research finds that giving children the opportunity to explore their creativity through art and supporting them to learn through picturebooks, has a direct and positive impact on children’s literacy.

Research backing up what many consider important for children. 

CLPE research supports Children

PDF file, 400 kB (Requires Adobe Reader)



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Children’s Book Award ceremony 2019

CBA No Date 3 300x219

The Children’s Book Award 2019 has announced the category winners and overall winner of the Children’s Book Award.

Voted for by children, participants from many of the testing groups came from across the country to meet the writers and illustrators of the books they chose as their top picks of 2019.  They had the opportunity to chat with their book heroes and have their books signed.

Sarah McIntyre was master of ceremonies and entertained everyone with a look at her new book ‘Grumpycorn’  and a lesson in how to draw a unicorn wearing a crazy hat.

More details and wonderful photos here

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Children’s Book Show 2019

The Children’s Bookshow is a charity which encourages a love of reading through an annual programme of theatre performances and workshops with authors and illustrators from around the world. Schools are encouraged to book now for Autumn term at a venue to suit. The listings are on the website with details of how to book.


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Job Vacancies, Librarian, Cheadle: Laurus Cheadle Hulme, Librarian

Laurus Trust
Laurus Cheadle Hulme

Required to start September 2019
Salary: Scale 5 from £21,589 - £24,313 per annum
Actual salary £18,300 - £20,606 pro rata per annum
Hours: 37 hours per week Term Time plus one week

To apply for the role please paste the below link into your preferred web browser:


CVs will not be accepted.

The Laurus Trust is a rapidly expanding multi-academy trust with a reputation for outstanding teaching and learning. We have a strong heritage. Our founder school, Cheadle Hulme High School, has been judged as Outstanding in its last two Ofsted inspections. Gorsey Bank is a high performing primary in Wilmslow and we are also home to the Altius Alliance, a teacher training provider which has been given the top grade by Ofsted.

As a result of our success, we are proud to have been selected to open five brand new schools, three of which opened in September 2018.

This is, therefore, an important stage in the development of The Laurus Trust. With our growth comes the opportunity for talented staff to make their mark.

We are looking for a Librarian to join our growing team.
This is an important appointment for Laurus Cheadle Hulme as you will contribute to a team that provides a high quality service, delivering a positive operational and educational experience for all stakeholders. In return, we recognise that our non-teaching staff are critical to the success of the Trust.

Deadline for applications:  9am on Monday 24th June 2019

The Laurus Trust is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and expects all staff to share this commitment.

Librarian Job Description & PS

PDF file, 421 kB (Requires Adobe Reader)

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CE Blog 2019_ 6: Pride and prejudice in 2019…?


CE Blog 2019_ 6: Pride and prejudice in 2019…?

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a school must be in want of a school librarian… or so we would wish! And that is the case in many schools that I talk to and visit, and it is heartening to hear. There’s also many, many stories of new libraries and refurbishments which I hear about – schools, primary and secondary, are investing in their school libraries which is fantastic, but sometimes this enthusiasm isn’t combined with the knowledge needed to ensure these school libraries go on to contribute everything they can to the education of the young people who use them. Some schools put all the effort and thinking into the launch of the new library, and have no staffing or library development plan – what happens after the launch? Is there money for stock on an ongoing basis? Is there any funding for staff? Unfortunately, many schools don’t seem to know about the School Library Association, and how we can help the library help the whole school, and this is also an issue for school libraries themselves. I heard of one example of a school library consultant who went back to a school 5 years after spending a few days working on it to find exactly the same display she’d put up all those years ago still adorning the walls… This type of story can sometimes led to a downwards mood within the sector – but it’s important we’re not prejudiced about schools or teachers. We can’t assign motive to the decisions that teachers are having without talking to them, and we can’t expect them to know all the things about school libraries that we do – we need to inform them; and the Association will seek to lead on this.

A few months ago we were discussing how we could increase awareness of all the benefits that having a staffed school library can bring, and it rapidly became obvious the best way of doing this was tying it into the ‘School Librarian of the Year’ Award. The announcement for this happens on 27th June this year, and this also ties in nicely with a keynote by our headline sponsors: Softlink; Lexplore and OUP at the ‘Building Identities, Building Readers’ Weekend Course, which is all about looking to the future. As a sector, sometimes we can be slightly reticent in talking about what we do and as always, it is so much easier to focus on the negatives, and so often this overrides many of the positives and can leave the sector feeling somewhat downbeat. However, there are exciting things going on, and we have to give people a chance to share what makes them continue to love their job; the things that make them proud to be school library staff. So, last week we launched #schllibstaffpride – a month of photos, comments and contributions to show all the things that we do, and all the things we’re proud of; a conversation to uplift the community and engage everyone in education in the discussion.

However, over the weekend concern was raised regarding the timing of using ‘pride’ in a hashtag, and it coinciding with Pride month. I’m pleased the person came to us with their concerns – sad it was too late to do anything about the hashtag and/or the timing, but already today I have seen some great dual pride tweets (the first challenge was display you’re proudest of, and there’ve been a few LGBTQ displays), and I hope this continues – there are some opportunities for highlighting LGBTQ titles later in the month, but obviously they are also welcome as part of any of the challenges! We will rethink this hashtag, and maybe the timing, for next year.

And it’s also raised an important point – we missed this connection. For me I think it’s a combination of being so focused on the needs of our community – needing to have a positive conversation within the sector – and because June Is always slightly more intense in schools I always used to use LGBTQ history month for the displays (it also attempted to balance out a lot of the hetro-normative ‘romance’ that’s about at that time of the year). But it’s also raised that we need to continue to work to ensure that our work is inclusive and that we are open and listening to concerns. We absolutely are, and are working hard to make our board more inclusive as well – and in a week where abhorrent comments regarding gay people have been given so much attention, and where transgender people are increasingly under attack we need to be clear whether the SLA is an association for everyone, or for a select few. We’re here to support all involved with school libraries; literacy, reading and research. We’ll continue to work on embedding that in all our processes and everything we do, and we’re happy to be contacted if we don’t get it quite right. This month our focus is on celebrating and increasing understanding about school libraries and celebrating LGBTQ people authors and books. We hope you'll join in.   


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Job Vacancies: London Oratory School, Part-Time School Librarian

The London Oratory School
Seagrave Road, London SW6 1RX
Telephone 020 7385 0102 Fax 020 7381 7676

The London Oratory School is a Roman Catholic school with 1330 pupils aged 7 to 18.

Part-Time School Librarian
The school is looking to appoint a part-time Librarian to work five days per week every afternoon from 12.30pm to 6pm in St Philip's Library at the heart of the school from September 2019.

Hours of work:
27.5 hours per week
12:30pm – 6pm term time (38 Weeks) plus additional 20 days during school closures.

Basic salary:
For the part-time position is £23,577 per annum, including holiday pay.

An application form and further details about the post are available from the school website www.london-oratory.org/vacancies. Application forms should be submitted to the Director of Finance & Operations by email (dfo[at]los.ac) by 9am on Monday 17th of June 2019.

This school is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and vulnerable adults and expects all staff and volunteers to share in this commitment. The successful applicant will need to undertake an Enhanced Disclosure from the Disclosure and Barring Service.

Librarian PT Job Description

Word document, 25 kB (Requires Microsoft Word 2007 or later)

More Details...

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Betjeman Poetry Prize 2019


BetjBetjeman Poetry Prize 2019 is now open for submissions until 31st July. This annual creative writing competition inspires children and young people aged 10 – 13 to read, write and perform poetry. The winning young poet receives £500 and the winning poet’s school receives £5000. 



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The Jacqueline Wilson Creative Writing Prize is NOW OPEN

The Jacqueline Wilson Creative Writing Prize 2019 is offering one lucky winner the chance to have their story published in a Jacqueline Wilson book.

They will also receive a school visit from Jacqueline, a Microsoft Surface, £100’s worth of WH Smith Vouchers, a year’s subscription to First News, AND a book bundle for their school library.

500 runners up will also get their names published in the same Jacqueline Wilson novel.

If you are between seven and twelve years old then you are eligible to enter. All you need to do is send us a story between 750 and 1000 words you have written and meet the t & c on the webpage above.

Closing date 2nd September 2019

CWP Header Large 2019


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Vote now for CKG Shadowers' Choice Awards

Voting has opened for the CKG Shadowers' Choice Awards until Tuesday 11th June.

The winners will be revealed at the Winner Ceremony on Tuesday 18th June.

So if you have been reading either shortlist, vote now to have your voice heard.

Shadowers Choice Awards


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Poetry competition for Post 16 students

The Forward Arts Foundation are running a poetry competition in collaboration with the English and Media Centre for Post 16 students. Students are invited Advanced Level students to respond to one of 10 poems shortlisted for the Forward Prizes, and write a short critical response. The reward is £200 and tickets to the Forward Prize Ceremony on 20th October at the Southbank Centre. Submissions open on Friday 14th June and close on Monday 30th September, giving students the chance to have a think over the summer break.


You can find out more here.

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The Biennial of Illustration Bratislava 2019

IBBY UK and the International Centre for the Picture Book in Society at the University of Worcester are the UK nominating bodies for The Biennial of Illustration Bratislava (BIB). Together they are delighted to announce the UK submissions for this year's BIB. Tobias Hickey (ICPBS, University of Worcester) says, 'We have so many great illustrators to choose from and I am delighted by the range of subject matter and that engagement with current contemporary issues is especially apparent in the selection'.

Press release 2019 IBBY

PDF file, 285 kB (Requires Adobe Reader)


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Afternoon tea with Julian Sedgwick

Reminder of The Central & East Berkshire Branch AGM and afternoon tea with Julian Sedgwick on Wednesday 12th June at Leighton Park School, Reading, RG2 7ED. 5.30pm start with AGM, followed by Julian talking about his new book, Voyages in the Underworld of Orpheus Black, a part graphic novel, part story, that he has written with his brother, Marcus. He will also be enlightening us about his recent travels in Japan - should be an interesting event.

There is plenty of parking at the school and the book will be available to purchase and have signed at a cost of £11 (cash or cheque only please).

If you would like to attend could you please RSVP our branch secretary, Claire Knight on ck@rbcs.org.uk - also let her know if you have any dietary requirements.

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LoveReading4Kids Poetry Prize

 LoveReading is thrilled to announce the launch of the LoveReading4Kids Poetry Prize in association with National Poetry Day. National Poetry Day is the biggest annual celebration of poetry in the UK, bringing people together to enjoy, discover and share words that matter. With the backing of National Poetry Day, LoveReading is launching a poetry competition for children ages 7- 11 from across the UK inspired by the National Poetry Day theme of Truth. The competition is looking for original poems with the title The Truth about School. The winning poet will win a trophy and certificate, plus a visit to their school from National Poetry Day ambassador and award-winning poet James Carter - and £250 of books for their school. They will also win an annual subscription to the gorgeous children’s magazine Scoop The winning and commended poems will also be published on the LoveReading, LoveReading4Kids and LoveReading4Schools websites. 

Don’t delay, you have until the end of the Summer term to support your aspiring poets in creating their masterpieces. The LoveReading team of judges cannot wait to read your young poets’

creations! Find out more here

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Into Film Festival 2019

The Into Film Festival returns between 6-22 November 2019, when three weeks of film screenings, workshops and special events across the UK are on offer to schools and it's all completely FREE!

The Festival is a perfect opportunity for teachers, offering easy-to-organise school trips to the cinema, with a specially curated programme supporting a multitude of curriculum subjects, inspiring and ensuring continued learning back in the classroom.

With specialist films to exclusive previews of upcoming blockbusters - as well as inclusive SEN and autism-friendly screenings - the Into Film Festival has something to offer everyone.

Tickets go live 5 September and will be free to book for teachers, giving you access to:

  • 120 films - covering themes including anti-bullying, the environment and community.

  • Showing at 600 venues across the UK

  • Free learning resources

  • Talks, workshops and careers advice

  • Audio-described, subtitled and autism-friendly screenings

If this is your first time signing up, you could win an Into Film goody bag full of DVDs and fun film merch.

Sign up here


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Read for Empathy Blog Tour

On Day 1 of the Read for Empathy blog tour leading up to Empathy Day itself, we are very pleased to host poet Jay Hulme:

The thing about empathy is that it is something that seems so easy, but which is actually so very hard. The idea of empathy is so wonderful, and so alluring - to feel for others, to place oneself in their shoes - but it is not as easy to pull off as you’d think. People have to learn empathy, and once learnt, they have to work on it every day. In a world such as this, in times such as these, empathy is being erased in favour of reaction and hatred and fear. It is so much easier to unthinkingly hate or dismiss others, than it is to empathise with them. That’s why books (and other media) that encourage empathy are so important, particularly for children. When a person is in the habit of empathising from a young age, they keep it up, practicing empathy becomes second nature, and the world is better for it.

From the very beginning, writing Rising Stars was an exercise in fostering empathy. As I wrote my poems for the collection, there was no doubt in my mind that this was not just a book that aimed to make children love themselves, but to love others, too - to embrace and appreciate everyone, despite their differences. Common flashpoints among less empathetic adults, such as people speaking different languages, or practicing different religions, are included and embraced within the poems. There is no shying away from the things that make us different, or the fears that we have over our differences, however. This is a collection which revels in difference, from the choice of poets all the way through to the finished poems, Rising Stars is a book about diversity, equality, and respect.

The hope is, that by encouraging children to read books that foster empathy, they will go forward to create a kinder world. A world where empathy is not an aim to be strived towards, but a part of everyday life, as unremarkable to those who’ve grown up with it as the ground beneath their feet. Something expected. Something that has always been there. Something they couldn’t fathom living without.

We joked, some of the other authors in this collection, and I, that we were going to “Catch ‘em young, keep ‘em kind”, and simplistic as that is, is it not the aim? There is no-one kinder than a child who has not yet learned hatred, or judgement - for these things, just like empathy, must be taught, and learned. Unfortunately we live in a society that sets to, industriously teaching such things from the moment a person is born. To teach empathy is to counteract such things. To open up a different path in life. One that can only lead to greater love and kindness.

It is up to literature to lead the way to this kinder world. For countless generations books have been used to foster empathy, since the dawn of time, long before Dickens and his attempts to get the rich to empathise with the poor, writers have been creating works that allow people to see the world through the eyes of another - to empathise. This great tradition must not go to waste. In times of great cruelty, we must head in the opposite direction, and create art that is unutterably kind. Empathy is at the heart of that. It always will be.

Books are the most powerful things we have. If they can change just one mind, they can change the whole world.

Jay Hulme   Rising Stars



Jay Hulme Shoot 1 2

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Poetry Competition 2019

Many schools have started conversations about menstrual issues – whether that is more openness or period poverty. This year, the charity Women and Girls Charity are running a competition to write a poem about periods that will be judged by authors Harriet Whitehorn and Perdita and Honor Cargill. 

Women and Girls


The winning poems will also be translated and used on posters in the schools with whom the charity works in India, helping girls to feel comfortable about periods and helping them to understand what menstruation is all about.

The theme for this year’s Menstrual Hygiene Day is “It’s Time For Action!”, and it would be great if you could include this phrase in your poem. There is no limit for the length or style of your poem, and it doesn’t have to be in any specific format.

Everyone between the ages of 10 and 18 inclusive can enter, and the closing date for entries is Tuesday 9th July 2019. To enter, send your poem through to competition[at]womenandgirls.org.uk or to PO Box 5328, Westbury BA13 9BR with your name, age and contact number or email address (if you’re under 16 then please include a parent or guardian’s contact details).



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