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SLYA Citation for Lynne Varley


Sponne School is a community school serving the small town of Towcester and its surrounding villages. The school is a comprehensive with students of a wide ability range from Years 7-13. There are about 200 students in each year group. Sponne School has had Technology status since 1999 and the LRC has benefited from imaginative use of the funding that this has attracted. From September 2009 KS4 will start in Year 9.

The LRC was built 13 years ago and is situated on the ground floor with entrances directly from the admin and teaching areas. There is a dedicated PC for students to search the catalogue as well as paper subject indexes. There are 11 PCs available, which are augmented by those in an adjacent room, opened at break and dinner or when whole class teaching is required.

There is a team of well-trained pupil librarians available at break and lunch times, when the LRC is very well used. Displays are up to date and eye catching, including some very useful IT support information on walls behind the computers. Departments display 3D work on the tops of the shelf units. At the entrance from the admin area are 2 life size sculptures, one of which sits reading a (recent) newspaper. The 15,000+ resources include DVDs and story tapes as well as books and online resources. The library is promoted through regular contact with teaching staff, through face-to-face contact, school INSET, intranet etc. and the school newsletter, which Lynne oversees.

A whole school Information Literacy Policy initiated by Lynne is her proudest achievement, but this is just one of a multitude of initiatives that she has put into place. Information skills are introduced in Year 7 and consistently reinforced through to Year 13. Lynne is involved in whole class teaching across a wide range of curriculum subjects, either delivering lessons herself or in partnership with subject teachers. LRC impact on teaching and learning is assessed through the Library Development Plan. Reading promotion is taken seriously, the school is involved with the Kids' Lit Quiz and Carnegie Shadowing and a 6th former runs Book Pushers organising presentations and mentoring to Year 7s. There are book groups and an annual book week with visiting authors and a writing competition. Induction to the Library includes work with primary feeder schools and a presentation to Year 13 on online resources.

Lynne is a faculty head, regularly attends appropriate meetings and has the full support of the SMT. She also produces an annual report for the Head Teacher and governors. She is able to attend training courses and networking opportunities, from where she says she gets many of her ideas.

Phil Jones, Lynne’s nominator, is very impressed by Lynne’s professional competence, citing as evidence her Literacy Skills Programme, her involvement in implementation of the Learning to Learn Policy for Year 7, her support of students in non-curriculum areas and the professional way the LRC is run so all members of the school community have access to what they need when they need it. Asked how the LRC would function without Lynne he replied, quite bluntly, that it wouldn’t, it would be a disaster!

Other staff told us about Lynne’s work with feeder primaries and the transition programme, which Lynne had undoubtedly driven so that all Year 6s arrive at school familiar with the LRC. They were very complimentary of Lynne’s "boundless energy and enthusiasm". One called Lynne a national treasure; another said: "She’s done so much for me personally and for the faculty and for kids: she’s passionate about the written word."

Lynne’s rather gentle demeanour hides a rock hard determination to achieve: in her own professional career and in projects that will enhance the LRC. She has exceptional organisational skills but recognises she needs to be flexible to encourage staff and students into the LRC. The head of PE called the LRC "a haven, the busiest place in the school" a seeming contradiction that was borne out by our observations. Her work with feeder primary schools is exemplary and her sheer hard work and attention to detail inspiring.