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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.

winners of Wicked Young Writers Award announced

 THE 2017 WICKED YOUNG WRITER AWARDS today announced its winners during a ceremony involving over 115 shortlisted finalists and their families and teachers at London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre, home of the award-winning musical WICKED.Amongst this year’s finalists were consciously crafted stories, poems and non-fiction pieces of writing. The brave and honest writing showed a hopefulness for the world and understanding of the importance of empathy and the need to give a voice to issues that concerned them, including mental illness, dementia, kindness to strangers, hope in adversity, forced marriage, the importance of community in the digital age and the value of education to change the world and help us feel compassion.

Now it its 7 th year, the Awards encourage young people aged 5-25 years to use writing as a way of expressing themselves, producing unique and original pieces of prose and poetry. Over 25,000 young people have entered the Awards since they began in 2009, with this year seeing the fastest growing level of entries to date. Over 600 primary and secondary schools and colleges entered this year’s competition from all over the UK with a particularly impressive rise in entries for the 8-10 and 18-25 categories.

Championed by Patron, Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall, this year’s judges included former Labour MP, Ed Balls, ITV News Arts Editor, Nina Nannar and the acclaimed performance poet and writer Laura Dockrill. Author and illustrator of the How to Train Your Dragon books, Cressida Cowell, returned as Head Judge for the third consecutive year, together with long-standing judges Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust and Michael McCabe, Executive Producer of WICKED. Anna Bassi, Editor of The Week Junior is also a guest judge for the FOR GOOD Award for Non-Fiction.Gaby Roslin, TV and radio presenter, hosted the ceremony with prizes presented by Head Judge Cressida Cowell and the panel of prestigious judges.

Cressida Cowell said of the winners, “This year, my fellow judges and I read poems and stories addressing really big issues - mental illness, hope in adversity, kindness to strangers and the value of education. There was an incredible range of styles and an array of brilliantly original voices, but they all had this in common - they made us as judges feel something.”

Jonathan Douglas, director of the National Literacy Trust said, “Every year I am moved by the incredible writing of the children and young people who enter the Wicked Young Writer Awards – and this year was no exception. Children tackled incredibly difficult subject matters with originality, creativity and an undeniable sense of hope buoyed by the good that can come out of bad situations. Well done to everyone who took part in this year’s awards and congratulations to the worthy winners! We hope that the Awards will continue to inspire children and young people to give their thoughts, ideas and passions a voice.”

WICKED cast members also performed songs from the hit musical including the popular ‘For Good’, as well as readings of the winning entries, which were revealed as:

5-7 Category:

Winner: Adam Rafael Holmes, 7, from Islington, London for Auntie Helen has gone to heaven

(This is an honest and heartfelt poem about life and death. Thoughtful, playful and positive about death and a celebration of life).

Runner-up: Rosa Little, 6, from Botley, Oxford for The Four Seasons

(A poem about the seasons full of imaginative description and inventive use of words language. It also features a unique and heartfelt welcome to refugees).

8-10 Category:

Joint winner: Iona Mandal, 10, from Birmingham for Indigo’s Adventures With Love

(A sophisticated and lyrical meditation on the nature of love, both tangible and abstract.)

Joint winner: Miranda Tansley, 10, from Tunbridge Wells for The Suffragettes of Tunbridge Wells.

(This story breathes life into a true episode from the frontline of the Suffragette movement).

11-14 Category:

Winner: Isla Siggs, 13, from Eastbourne, for A Spot of Bother

(A grisly tale! A meticulously detailed history of a truly disgusting spot that simply will not be defeated).

15-17 Category:

Winner: Julia McGrattan, 17, from Hemel Hempstead for Perfectly Unstable

(A brave, brilliantly executed, short story tackling a difficult subject of mental health. A calculated deception or the beginning of decent into madness. A satisfying twist forces the readers to draw their own conclusions).

Runner-up: Ilana Pearce, 15, from Leeds for Why Don’t You Just Stop?

(This poem is an insightful account of living with OCD, expressed in language and rhythm that reflects the real struggle that sufferers face every day).

18-25 Category:

Winner: Claire Joicey, 22, from Cornhill-on- Tweed for The Attic

(A haunting and atmospheric story told in richly descriptive prose, painting a portrait of sorrow and buried grief).

‘FOR GOOD’ Category:

Winner: Scarlett Rushton, 25, from Chalfont St Peters for Bus 305

(A surprising true story of community and the beauty and importance of connection in the digital age).

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Betjeman Poetry Prizes - deadline approches!

The Betjeman Poetry Prizes closes on JULY, 31. Children's Laureate Chris Riddell and poet Rachel Rooney will sift through the entries to find the 2017 winner. Send in your poems online or by post. for info on how to enter and prizes. Get writing!

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Job Vacancies: Aylward Academy, London - Learning Resources Manager

£27,801 - £29,517 pro rata, £24,621 - £26,140 actual salary

36 hours per week, 42 weeks per year

Aylward Academy is part of London Academies Enterprise Trust (LAET).  Our objective is to provide all students with a first class education. Why? Because we believe that a solid education is vital in today’s world. We recognise that every student has different needs and that it’s our job to meet them. We not only educate students about life, we prepare them for life. Whatever a student’s ambition, we will give them the best possible start.

We are seeking to appoint a creative and enthusiastic School Learning Resource Centre (LRC) Manager who will be responsible for managing the learning environment used by the whole school community in the LRC and the Academy library, “The Book Loft”. You will be responsible for the acquisition, organisation, dissemination and exploitation of resources appropriate to the learning needs of the full age and ability range within that community.

The Learning Resources Centre and ‘The Book Loft’ department consists of two main centres for student learning, benefiting from both traditional and electronic resources. It has a staff of two resource assistants who support the day to day running of the centres. The LRC centre has been created as part of the academy’s new build works and is designed for both 14-19 provisions alongside the use by the community.

If you have the passion, commitment and initiative to join our team, we want to hear from you!

As  the sponsor, AET believes that all young people deserve to become world-class learners – to learn, enjoy, succeed and thrive in a first rate educational environment with the best facilities, the best teaching and the most up-to-date resources available to them.  In each of our academies, you will benefit from visionary, inspirational and dynamic leadership and be empowered to develop your own skills with access to world-class CPD and Talent Management programmes.  You will also be entitled to the following benefits: a health cash plan, vehicle affinity scheme, childcare vouchers and Westfield rewards.

This position is required 01 September 2017.  Interviews are scheduled to take place on Wednesday 12 July 2017.

Closing date: Thursday 6 July 2017.

Please note that we reserve the right to close this vacancy early should we receive an overwhelming response.  All candidates are advised to refer to the job description and person specification before making an application.

In line with our safeguarding practices we are unable to accept CV's.

For further information on this position and to make an application please visit:

We are committed to safeguarding and protecting the welfare of children and expect all staff and volunteers to share this commitment.  A Disclosure and Barring Service Certificate will be required for all posts. This post will be subject to enhanced checks as part of our Prevent Duty.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. Further details can be found on our careers page.

AET is recruiting for School Direct placements.  Please visit our website for further details.

More Details...

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First Story to launch the first National Writing Day on 21st June

First Story, a charity changing young people’s lives through creative writing knows that everyone has a story to tell, but not everyone has found their voice yet. That’s why on the 21st June they are launching the first ever National Writing First StoryDay!

Research has shown that children and young people who enjoy writing very much are eight times more likely to write above the level expected for their age, compared with those who don’t enjoy writing at all (23.2% vs. 3.2%). So, First Story will encourage them all to channel their creativity into the written word on National Writing Day with the campaign ‘View from my Window’. Primarily targeting Secondary schools, the campaign aims to inspire children and young people to start writing and enable them to share their story with the world.

In a society dominated by images and visuals, putting pen to paper allows us to better explore what’s deep in our minds, to reflect who we are. Writing is so much more than what we’re taught in classrooms - it’s a tool for all creative expression.

 ‘View from my Window’ taps into an established technique to help writers get rid of their writer’s block - simply describing the view from their window - and harnessing it to inspire new writers. The campaign kicks off with both influencers and First Story ambassadors sharing what they can see from their window on Instagram and encouraging their followers to do the same, with the hashtag #TellYourStory.

 First Story said: “View from my Window is simple but stacked with creative potential. We’re looking forward to inspiring young writers everywhere.We hope this campaign will encourage children all over the UK to start writing.”

For more information about the range of activities  and resources the  the charity offers check out their website at

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Reviews now live on our website!

Only one week now until the Lightbulb Moments:Powered By Librarians conference in Harrogate and we are all very much looking forward to it but as if that excitement was not enough, we also have an important announcement to make: all of the amazing reviews that are published in the School Librarian are now available on this very website! Previously the reviews were only accessible via the printed editions of the magazine but they are now being added to the Publications section so that you can search reviews online. This is a facility that is only available to logged in members and we hope it will prove to be a valuable and useful resource for them. More backdated reviews will be added in the future but already reviews from the last year are available. Please do enjoy browsing the books and authors and let us know if this new section is helpful - we feel this is a big step forward for the SLA!

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Job Vacancies: Sydenham High School - Library and Careers Co-ordinator

Required for September 2017

Term time only plus 2 weeks

£34,497 per annum pro rata

The role

This is an exciting opportunity for an enthusiastic and experienced Librarian to lead the development, management and effective use of our library and learning resources across both our Junior and Senior Schools.

The successful candidate will also oversee and develop our careers education and guidance programme to help our students realise their career aspirations.

If you have previous experience as a librarian and a love of children’s literature we would be delighted to hear from you.

The Libraries at Sydenham High School

There are separate libraries in both the Junior and Senior School. Homework club takes place in the Senior School Library as well as various literary workshops and author visits.

The Junior School library is known as the Discovery Zone and doubles as a language classroom for French and Latin. Both libraries are well stocked with texts and books that support the main school.

Why Sydenham High School

Sydenham High School is an independent day school for girls aged 4-18 with a long-standing tradition of educating girls, dating back to 1887. The School is part of The Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST), the largest independent school group in the UK, and offers a variety of benefits, which include:

  •  Competitive salaries and pay progression
  •  Access to extensive professional development opportunities
  •  Training grants for qualifications
  •  Generous pension schemes
  •  Free life assurance benefit
  •  Free school lunches
  • A discount of up to 50% on fees for children at GDST schools

For full details and an application pack please visit:

Alternatively, please contact hr[at]syd.gdst.netor the School Office on 020 8557 7000.

Applications should be received by 12 noon Friday 23 June 2017. 

References for shortlisted candidates will be taken up before interview.

GDST are committed to the safeguarding of children, and child protection screening will apply to this post.

More Details...

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Job Vacancies: Henbury School, Bristol - SCHOOL LIBRARIAN/LIBRARY MANAGER

37 hours per week, term time only plus 5 Inset days & 5 days
Actual salary range, according to experience
£20,162 - £26,832
From 1 September 2017, an opportunity has arisen for a qualified Librarian to manage our busy Library as a learning resource centre for the school, to support the whole school curriculum.
We are preferably looking for a colleague with at least three years’ experience, but applications from newly qualified Librarians with Library Assistant experience will be welcomed. The ideal candidate will have excellent communication skills with children and adults, and the ability to motivate others.  Working directly with our students is an integral part of the role.

Librarian3JD Henbury

Word document, 34 kB (Requires Microsoft Word 97 or later)


Librarian3ES Henbury

Word document, 33 kB (Requires Microsoft Word 97 or later)

Further details and application form available on our website at

Henbury Application Form NonTeaching

Word document, 100 kB (Requires Microsoft Word 97 or later)


We value a diverse workforce and develop people from all sections of the community.  We are committed to safeguarding the welfare of children and will require the disclosure of any criminal convictions.

Closing date:  Tuesday 27 June 2017

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Job Vacancies: EAST BARNET SCHOOL, London - School Librarian Part-time ??" 2/2.5 days (job share)

Term-time only – 40 weeks per annum

£27801 - £29517 (per annum, pro rata)

We are seeking to appoint a suitably qualified School Librarian to manage our fabulous library, which has panoramic views of London. Candidates should be able to demonstrate the academic, organisational and inter-personal skills which are necessary to provide our students and staff with appropriate support to enhance learning at all levels of the school.

East Barnet school has an excellent reputation in the local community and we receive a very high number of applications for admission. Our Gold Award from Investors in People indicates the outstanding working conditions we provide for our staff, who are very loyal to the school. The post provides a unique opportunity for a job share with one of our current School Librarians.

For further information visit:  to directly access the application form, job description and further information.  Completed application forms are to be returned to Mrs C Furneaux, Headteacher’s PA.  email: cfurneaux[at]

We are committed to the protection of children and vulnerable adults and expect all staff to share this commitment.  The successful applicant will be required to have a DBS check.

Closing date 22 June 2017

More Details...

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