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SLA Blog » April 2016RSS 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.

Job Vacancies: King's School, Bruton, Somerset - Librarian

King's School, Bruton, an independent boarding and day school, is looking to recruit an experienced Librarian to start in September 2016.

This is an important role within the School, providing support to both pupils and staff in the dedicated Library & Learning Centre.

Terms and Conditions Librarian (3)

PDF file, 163 kB (Requires Adobe Reader)


A suitable qualification and previous experience of working within a similar educational environment would be of an advantage, but is not essential.

Job Desciption Librarian (3)

PDF file, 358 kB (Requires Adobe Reader)


Please contact the HR Assistant for further details and an application form on 01749 814316 or at recruitment[at]kingsbruton.com

Closing date: Friday 13 May 2016

King's School is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and applicants must be willing to undergo child protection screening appropriate to the post, including checks with past employers and the Disclosure & Barring Service. King's School, Bruton is a registered Charity No. 1071997

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Reading Levels, Attainment 8 and GSCEs - the library's critical place: Crayford, Kent, 25 May 2016


Our course Reading Levels, Attainment 8 and GSCEs - the library's critical place, run by Angie Curran, will be held at Haberdashers' Aske's Crayford Academy, Iron Mill Lane, Crayford, Kent DA1 4RS on 25 May 2016. The closing date is 11 May 2016. Bookings received by 29 April 2016 are eligible for a £15 discount making the cost just £90 or £150 for non-membrs.  Further reductions are available for a second person attending from the same school (accompanying a full paying delegate).  Payment is not required by the deadline date to qualify for the discount as long as an official order has been received.

Key Audience: Secondary school library staff

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FREE place for librarian accompanying teacher on course!

KS3 Literature for Today’s World: Building in Challenge and Diversity

What will the course cover?

  • An overview of literature for young people from round the world – novels and poetry.

  • Embedding challenging, diverse texts into your curriculum.

  • Teaching short stories from round the world.

  • Superdiverse Shakespeare – using global interpretations of the Bard.

  • The challenge of reading different cultures.

This course is a double-up course!

  • If you want to invite your school librarian free of charge, then book by email and provide their name and contact details.

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Job Vacancies: King Edward VI High School for Girls, Birmingham - School Librarian (maternity cover)

We are seeking an enthusiastic and professional School Librarian (6 months maternity cover). The successful candidate will promote the Library’s resources and support a love of reading and literacy in all girls in this academically selective school.

The KEHS Library is at the heart of the school and provides a supportive, welcoming environment for all students to relax and study. We encourage our students to be active and independent learners and the KEHS Library has a key role in developing this. Students have access to the Library throughout the school day as well as before and after school.

Job details

Term time (including all INSET days) plus 3 days, 8am to 4.30pm Monday to Thursday and 8am to 4pm on a Friday, 30 minute lunch break

Actual Salary: £21,000 per annum

Required from 5th September 2016.

The post is maternity cover until 17th February 2017

Librarian Mat Cover Job Description

Word document, 120 kB (Requires Microsoft Word 97 or later)


The School

King Edward VI High School for Girls (KEHS) is one of the most successful girls’ schools in this country with outstanding academic results and a large programme of extra-curricular activity.  The school is an independent day school with 560 girls aged 11-18 and is part of the King Edward VI Foundation, which has eight schools in Birmingham. It is situated on a beautiful 50 acre campus in Edgbaston, which it shares with King Edward’s School.  It is only three miles from Birmingham city centre and has excellent transport access by road and rail (the University train station is only a 10 minute walk).    

Application Procedure

If you wish to be considered for this post, please complete an application form giving full details of your qualifications and experience and the names, addresses and telephone numbers of two referees and send it, together with a letter to the HR Manager Suzanne Inskip outlining the reasons for your application by 9am on Thursday 12th May 2016 (9am).  Interview date provisionally Wednesday 18th May.

Further information can be found on www.kehs.org.uk/Job-Opportunities

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We are seeking to appoint an inspirational, experienced and well-qualified Librarian to head our new state of the art, purpose built Learning Resource Centre with effect from 1st September 2016.

The new Librarian will have head of department status and line-manage an Assistant Librarian and a Library Assistant.

The post will attract an initial salary in the region of £40,000 with the opportunity to progress on the school’s salary scale.

The school offers an enviable working environment supporting inquisitive and responsible girls with their learning.  All staff are entitled to a free lunch, onsite parking, use of the pool and gym facilities and membership of the school’s contributory Group Personal Pension Plan.

Applications should be sent to staffvacancies[at]habgirls.org.uk  by Thursday 5th May.  Interviews are expected to take place the following week.  


Further details and application forms are available from Caroline Pluck on 020 8266 2346 or via our website www.habsgirls.org.uk.  


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Information Book Award: Shortlist 2016

We are delighted to announce the Shortlist of the 2016 Information Book Award, sponsored by Hachette Children's Group.  The Chair of Judges, Chris Brown said  “Each year the task gets more difficult for the judging panel simply because year on year we seem to be receiving more and more brilliant books. The long-lists featured terrific Information Books and this 2016 short-list highlights the very best out of many superb titles and each book can be very highly recommended”

The full press release and details of the titles are available below.  There are brief reviews of all the titles available on the 2016 webpage.

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The National Young Writers’ Awards!

Calling children of the UK!  It’s time to get creative and put pen to paper because the National Young Writers’ Awards have NYWA Logo 2016returned!  Judged by best-selling author, Lauren Child and organised by popular tuition provider, Explore Learning, the theme this year is ‘The Mash-Up’ where children are encouraged to write a 500 word story that is a ‘mash-up’ of two genres.  This could see a spaceman rocketed to Roman times, an alien landing in the lost city of Atlantis, a Victorian gentleman trekking the outback or your favourite fairy-tale character taking on blood-thirsty zombies – just let your imagination go wild!

It is the eighth year of the FREE national competition  with children battling it out to win the coveted prize of an amazing trip to Disneyland Paris for them and their family – and £500 worth of books for their school

Lauren in Black CloseupAnd this year’s judge will be none other than multi-award winning, bestselling writer and artist, Lauren Child.  The creator of much-loved characters including Clarice Bean, Ruby Redfort and Charlie and Lola has been at the forefront of innovation for 15 years, advocating visual literacy and the importance of quality books for children. 

Lauren says: “Being able to write well is a wonderful thing.  If you can write well, you can communicate your ideas, thoughts and feelings. If you can write beautifully, you have the power to move people with the stories you tell. The National Young Writers’ Awards celebrate the individual, encouraging children to find a voice of their own, to explore story-telling and see that the possibilities are endless.”

But sometimes getting started when writing a story can be the hardest part!  Here are Carey Ann Dodah from Explore Learning’s top tips you can share with your parents on  helping their child write a story:

  • Praise praise praise – sometimes children are afraid of giving writing a try as they are worried about what their peers will say or that they will get things wrong.  Encourage them to have a go and not be afraid of making mistakes.  Stagger their stories so that they at first write a 250 word story, then a 500 word, then a 1000 word story.  Make sure you celebrate their success each time! 
  • Know how long an activity is going to take – short and frequent learning activities can keep your child stimulated for longer and maximise the retention of information.  Try writing for 15 minutes and then do something else – that way children will know how long they are expected to write for and feel more motivated to complete the task.
  •  Encourage their love of reading – Reading books with children is a great way of sparking their imagination.  Once a child learns to read it can be tempting to let them get on with it but by reading together, you’re sending a message that reading is important and therefore writing is too!  Encouraging them to enjoy stories is the starting point to sparking their imagination. 
  • Let them fidget – sometimes children just need something to fiddle with such as a tangle toy.  This helps to take away the urge to fidget and stimulates parts of the brain that assist children in their learning. 
  • Be vocal – discuss any writing concerns with your child’s teacher and consider visiting an education centre like Explore Learning where they have writing tools specifically designed to support struggling writers. 
  • Start young – it’s very important for children to start writing from a young age, and I don’t mean just writing stories but writing anything at all!  It doesn’t matter if they don’t finish writing the stories, as long as they’re practising their own stories as much as they possibly can and creating something unique.
  • Make up stories about people they know – Some children may struggle to come up with characters’ names or descriptions so to resolve this, encourage them to write about people they know, or their favourite characters from books, TV or film!
  •  Don’t get bogged down in grammar – Of course it’s important later in life, but don’t let it prevent creativity. 
  •  Avoid the TV – With TV, films and games being a book’s biggest competitor, it can be tough to encourage a child to sit down and write but if you replace TV time with family reading time, it can be very powerful and inspire them to write.
  • Enter competitions – competitions such as the National Young Writers’ Awards (www.explorelearning.co.uk/youngwriters) are a fantastic way to give children confidence in their writing.  They get impartial feedback on their work and if they do well it will drive them further!

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Announcements for the Weekend Course in June 2016

Weekend 2016 LogoThere have been a few changes for our Weekend Course at Tortworth Park in June.  The latest one is that we have the wonderful S. F. Said as our opening speaker - talking about his writing and also about his campaign to raise the profile of children’s books in the media - #coverkidsbooks. The programme and breakout sessions are all listed on our website – but you may have missed some of the other authors and illustrators taking part – so here are a few to whet your appetite!  The amazing Jim Kay, the ever popular Robert Muchamore, Juno Dawson and Tracey Corderoy, Ruth Morgan , the new and relatively new talents of Katherine Rundell , Emer Stamp, Patrice Lawrence and Kim Slater plus the humour of Phil Earle and John Dougherty

We will also have the pleasure of some big band entertainment on Friday night as we enjoy the MidWest Big Band.  Perhaps a flourish of the 1940s in our evening outfits?

Much of this we would not be able to organise if it weren’t for generous sponsorship from our longstanding partners – MLS and their Reading Cloud!  Many thanks for the continued support.

Early bird booking finishes quite soon – do make sure you have your space reserved.

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Shakespeare Birthday 2016

Shakespeare MiniOn 23 April 2016 the world commemorates 400 years of Shakespeare - check out the SLA Shakespeare booklist featuring stories based on the plays, novels in which he makes an appearance and information about his life and times. Plus links to the 2016 special events. http://www.sla.org.uk/shakespeare-resources.php

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OUP Invitation

SLA members are invited to the Oxford Children's Spring Picture Book Party at Foyles, Charing Cross Road, London on 27th April at 6.30 pm.  Please RSVP to tradepublicity.uk@oup.com if you can attend.  Download the invitation (below) to see all the authors attending!

OUP Party

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Inspiration Award Entries Invited: Apply for the 2017 Inspiration Award

The next SLA Inspiration Award will be presented in 2017. Entries will open on Monday 11 April 2016 and close on Friday 10 February 2017.

Apply for the next Inspiration Award via the dedicated website at www.slainspirationaward.wix.com/enter

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ATL Union says Stop Shutting Libraries! And we are there to support them.

Tuesday and Wednesday were spent at the ACC exhibition centre in Liverpool as guests of the trade union ATL, along with colleagues from CILIP School Libraries Group. We were all there to provide background information and support the motion put forward by Derby and Derbyshire branch.

We had a stand in the exhibition and had many conversations with teachers and librarians about the state of their school libraries – and, as the recent ATL survey found  - there is either feast of famine, i.e. Good well supported, well staffed libraries working in school, or the librarian being made redundant or not replaced, and the books being distributed to departments, or, as in a couple of cases, ending in skips!

Wednesday morning was the time for the motion and we were allowed in to see the discussion (I am a Unison member, though my colleague is ATL) and there was a definite wave of support for the motion – it was well received and was passed by 98% of the delegates.  Although most of the press coverage was based upon the 'books in skips' there was detail in the motion about information literacy and the importance of research skills in the world today.  Plus the call that libraries have librarians too. The call on Ofsted to inspect libraries has been made before – but perhaps a groundswell of support like this will help forward our cause.

Much of the press coverage has been similar – but you may like to see some of it (I'm sure there will be more in the next few weeks!) A piece from the BBC, a report from Schoolsweek, the London Evening Standard and the TES all follow similar lines. The piece in the Guardian is from the man who seconded the motion and is a diary blog on their website.  Alan Gibbons has included a piece on his blog too – which also includes a lot of the statistics from the survey.

April ATL Library Survey Quotes From Library Assns V1

Word document, 19 kB (Requires Microsoft Word 2007 or later)


So – let us work together to create the picture we all know – that school libraries are vital, that they make a big contribution to learning, and they support reading for pleasure in the most creative way. If we keep presenting this at the highest level we have available to us then the optimist in me tells me we will make a difference and government will have to take action.

Motion Proposal Speech

PDF file, 69 kB (Requires Adobe Reader)


April 6 2016 ATL School Libraries Survey

PDF file, 115 kB (Requires Adobe Reader)


Tricia Adams

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Primary School Classification Scheme:

We are sorry to announce that the SLA no longer publish or sell the Primary School Classification System.

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Reading for Pleasure using Accelerated Reader and other means: Warwick, 21 April 2016


Our course Reading for Pleasure using Accelerated Reader and other means, run by Bev Humphrey, will be held at Warwickshire SLS, Unit 11a/b Montague Road, Warwick CV34 5LT on 21 April 2016. The closing date has been extended to 11 April 2016. Payment is not required by the course date as long as an official order has been received.

As well as focusing on new Accelerated Reader facilities and resources, participants will be provided with up-to-date information on exciting, attractive new books and advice on reading media which can motivate pupils of all abilities.  The course will also include a section on how technology can be used to help your school become a 'reading school.'

The SLA ran this course in Bristol recently and we have received excellent feedback from that session.  Comments included -

Wow! Above and beyond! Thank you!

Key Audience: primary and secondary school staff (not necessarily using Accelerated Reader as this will only be one session)

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Job Vacancies: Librarian for Stewarts Melville College



We require a Chartered Professional Librarian, with excellent ICT skills, the vision and enthusiasm to continue the development of our school library, and as a key contributor to our school community, from 1 August 2016.  The salary will be in the range of £29,500 to £35,500, dependent upon qualifications and experience.

For further information, see the attached job description.  Information about the school is available on the website, www.esms.org.uk.

If you relish working with young people and are interested in a fresh challenge in a school with a national reputation for excellence, whose library is at the heart of its intellectual life, please send a letter of application, addressed to the Principal, enclosing a full CV and the names and contact details of two referees to the HR Administrator, Erskine Stewart's Melville Schools, Ravelston, Edinburgh EH4 3NT (email recruitment[at]esms.org.uk), from whom further particulars can be obtained.  This information can also be found on our website.

The closing date is Monday 25 April 2016.

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