Great School Libraries Report Released
The joint CILIP/SLG/School Library Association campaign #GreatSchoolLibraries took a great leap forward last week with the launch of the first comprehensive research report into the state of school library provision across England, Wales and Northern Ireland (in parallel with and drawing on the fantastic progress already made in Scotland).
Key findings include:
- 9 in 10 schools in England that participated in the research have access to a designated library space, falling to 67% in Wales and 57% in Northern Ireland, however;
- Schools with a higher proportion of children on free school meals are more than twice as likely not to have access to a designated library space;
- Employment terms for librarians and library staff fall below national standards, with low pay and little investment in professional development and training.
Commenting on the publication of the research, Nick Poole, Chief Executive of CILIP said, “We welcome this landmark report as the first comprehensive picture of the state of play in our school libraries. On the one hand, it is a testament to the Head Teachers, Teachers, Governors and Librarians that value and promote the importance of school libraries for learners and their school. On the other hand, the research paints a picture of inequality of access and opportunity and insecure employment that we cannot accept. The findings highlight the urgency of securing national School Library Strategies and investments."
The Great School Libraries 'Phase 1' Report goes on to show that "[t]he evidence we have uncovered of significant inequality of provision in different Nations and between the independent and non-independent sectors points to a clear picture of inequality of opportunity – in turn, impacting on social mobility in disadvantaged communities. Our findings also highlight a disturbing trend of undervaluing school library staff as an integral part of the life of the school. We need to work with Heads, Governors and Leadership Teams to ensure that school librarians are employed under better terms and that their skills are properly recognised in terms of salary. We also need to ensure that schools invest in the CPD of their library staff to ensure that they continue to maintain their professional skills."
"Ahead stands a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build on our successes and address structural weaknesses in school library provision, ensuring that every child can benefit from a great school library, now and in the future."
- Great School Libraries 'Phase 1' Report (2019)
Join the campaign to show that Libraries Deliver in schools and communities by signing up now.
The Great School Libraries Report launch event began with an ‘Insights Evening’ held at Hachette UK, which included contributions from Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell as well as Chris Riddell and a number of luminaries from the world of school libraries, books and reading. The main launch, the following day, received extensive press and media coverage, including:
- CBBC Newsround
- ITV News
- The Independent
- Yorkshire Post
- Study International News
- Belfast Telegraph
- Daily Mail
The coverage provides a great platform for us to press for the next stage of political engagement, which is to secure support from the Department for Education for the development of a National School Libraries Strategy with investment and support from Ofsted.
Read the report and see the photographs at https://www.greatschoollibraries.org.uk