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SLYA Citation for Rebecca Marshall


  • Learning Resource Coordinator, Lipson Community College, Plymouth
    Nominated by Sarah Jones, Vice Principal
Rebecca Marshall being presented with her Honour Certificate by Philip Reeve. Photo: Martin Salter
Rebecca Marshall being presented with her
Honour Certificate by Philip Reeve.
Photo: Martin Salter

Lipson Community College, a Performing Arts College, has about 1400 students in Yrs 7-13. Most live locally and between them they speak 33 languages. 32% of students entering Yr 7 are reading at level 2 so the LRC is seen as an important part of curriculum recovery and as a way to raise attainment through reader development and programmes such as L2L (Learning to Learn).

Rebecca came to work at the college in 2001, when it was a dual use library, for both public and school, and assumed sole responsibility when public access was withdrawn and it became a school LRC. She has an MSc in Information and Library Studies and is working towards CILIP Chartership. She has Head of Department status (the LRC is a faculty) and is also Head of Careers and manages a library assistant and a Resources and Reprographics team.

The LRC is open 8 am – 4 pm, with DIAL sessions (Drop In And Learn) before and after school, run by 6th formers, trained by Rebecca and paid by the local authority. These are for any student who needs help with homework or just wants to chill out. The LRC has approx 8,500 books as well as newspapers and magazines. Resources from the School Library Service are used to keep the stock bright and up to date. There are defined study/leisure areas and the opportunity to use 10 PCs (more wireless laptops are available if needed). This is important in a school where less than 35% of students have computer access at home. The panel liked the clear guiding throughout both NF and fiction areas. Her future plans include computer games which will endorse her conviction that students should be able to enjoy the space without necessarily having to borrow a book.

Rebecca holds a fortnightly teen read session: she encourages different age groups to look at current book awards, including the Plymouth Book Award which she helps organise and arranges for authors to visit, especially those that support Rebecca’s lower school classroom work such as Julia Jarman’s observations on Iraq.

Rebecca teaches 14 sessions per week, including an AS/A2 Critical Thinking course which she initiated. To do this successfully she has become skilled at delegating the day to day running of the Library without losing sight of her vision for where the LRC is aiming. The panel saw her in action with a Yr 7 classroom L2L session and a Yr 9 library session looking at a science research based topic. In both she showed her natural teaching ability through well structured lessons and a confident, easy approach to individual students.

Rebecca has been working with student teachers, both on placement in school, and at the local college, to show how effective use of the school LRC and its knowledgeable staff can be in curriculum delivery. Lipson has a ‘training school’ ethos for both new and existing teachers in which Sarah Jones, Rebecca’s nominator, says she plays a vital part.

Lipson students that the panel talked to were enthusiastic LRC users. They really appreciated a relaxed atmosphere for those who didn’t want to study and liked the points award system that earns them prizes. Although there are no formal pupil librarians, members of the Teen Reader Group make suggestions to Rebecca for new titles and changes to the LRC.

The staff were also appreciative of Rebecca’s support, especially the resources she gathered for the more difficult humanities topics such as capital punishment and ‘What is a just war?’ Rebecca’s hard work and dedication shone through.