11 April 2016
The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) has voted to include school libraries in Ofsted inspections. The SoA has long pressed for this move as a way to boost literacy and encourage reading for pleasure.
We believe school libraries and author visits play a vital part in encouraging children to read. Compulsory inspection by Ofsted will help focus on the importance of school libraries and ensure they are given a central place in a school’s priorities.
Nicola Morgan, author and Chair of the Children’s Writers and Illustrators Group, strongly supports the move:
This is something we've been campaigning on vigorously. We know the benefits of having properly staffed and funded school libraries. We know the huge positive effects of reading for pleasure on learning, achievement and wellbeing and have never understood why school libraries aren't both statutory and inspected. The absence of a school library risks pupils' development in so many areas.
Author and SoA Council member Sarah Waters has also previously spoken out in support of the campaign, saying
How many times does this point have to be made to ministers? Books matter. They inspire, they inform, they delight; they encourage independent thought, invention and empathy. At a time when public libraries are being closed down, and when hard-pressed families have ever less money to spend on books, it is absolutely vital that school libraries are made a priority, and that teachers are given every support in fostering literacy.
The ATL has our support in the call for Ofsted inspection. We will continue to push for statutory school libraries and greater Government support for children’s literacy, informed by educators and children’s authors.