Julie Angel, Assistant Librarian at Eltham College, attended our conference at Oakham School on November 1st 2016, and sent us her report of the day:
The SLG Regional Conference was held at Oakham School and hosted by Darryl Toerien, Head of Library and Information Services at the school.
The first speaker the day was David Harrow, the Academic Deputy Head, who talked about how the school library was at the centre of teaching and learning and the impact it had on students and their outcomes Post 18. Backed by research and the statistics that generated, I think we all felt valued and appreciated as our hard work and input does genuinely make a difference. He told the group: “… even when the aims of the curriculum are considered in this most utilitarian fashion, properly staffed and resourced libraries are highly successful in developing the required qualities and outcomes. However, the progressive interpretation, where the aim is for students to acquire both knowledge and mastery of the processes of learning more for themselves, as well as engendering ongoing wellbeing, is also dramatically evidenced by the same studies as being strongly supported by libraries. The place of the school library at the centre of teaching and learning can, therefore, be established beyond doubt.” This is a strong statement in support of libraries, echoing the supportive statement from the deputy head in the previous report from the Regional Conference at Eltham College.
Next was Karen Benoy, Librarian from The Thomas Alleyne Academy, who shared with us her experience of using data to track reading in KS3. She is a very strong advocate of not only collecting the data, but then using it in planning and organising the strategies to raise reading levels and how this can lead to the rise in achievement across the curriculum. Using effective intervention, personal to the pupils, Karen showed how her initiative has led to improved results in reading for the pupils in her school.
Clare Scothern from Trent College followed with her account of the ‘Read to Succeed’ week she held in school last year. Clare told of the experience in a very honest way, highlighting the successes of the week but also the negatives and her reflection on how she would change things next time. This was reassuring to hear that with even the best laid plans sometimes things do not always go the way we anticipated!
Our host was the next to speak on the subject of ‘Curriculum Mapping’ and its importance in the daily running of the library. Darryl spoke of the significance of working with Heads of Departments and looking at their schemes of work to ensure the pupils had access to resources that would not only support their studies but also to extend their knowledge of the subject in question. It is very evident he is passionate about this aspect of his role and how he can create cross-curricular themes giving teaching staff an insight into how colleagues are helping students to get the best possible outcomes.
Before lunch Sheila Compton, from the SLG National Committee gave us a news update on where the group in now, how she would like to see it develop and how we can play a part in the group. From her presentation it is clear the SLG within CILIP is a very active sub-group offering support and guidance to school librarians across the country.
During lunch there was time to discuss the morning’s topics with colleagues both old and new whilst browsing in the school library. We then were given access to the school’s online resources where we could look at what is on offer for those who were less familiar with these materials.
Once back in the auditorium it was the turn of Sophie Fisher from Stephen Perse Foundation, Cambridge to deliver a session on the ‘Diversity in Picture Books’. Sophie brought with her a range of resources for us to look at and digest whilst also giving a plethora of information on the subject of diversity in books in general. This led to a group discussion on how we each promote these books within our own libraries with many ideas being voiced.
Our penultimate session was delivered by the Assistant Librarian at The Leys in Cambridge. Lyndsey Goddard gave a humorous but very observational insight into changing sectors within the profession. Her tales of being an academic librarian in a university and the transition into schools had us all laughing out loud at the experiences she has had in both. A second career may be in the pipeline!
To end a superb day of CPD, Allison Tarrant from Cambourne Village College gave us food for thought while presenting ‘Assessing the impact of an information literacy programme.’ Questionnaires for Y9 on their understanding of IL, as well as having a logo on work to prompt students to understand that research is required, are just a couple of ways Allison assesses and promotes the lifelong IL skills needed in today’s educational climate.
May I take this opportunity to thank Darryl and Oakham School for their hospitality and allowing us to meet in such a wonderful venue. I certainly learnt a lot from the day and talking to other delegates during my time there, they too found the day highly thought provoking and as always the chance to share good practice is invaluable to us all.