Ruffley welcomes OFSTED Report on School Libraries and writes to Suffolk headteachers

Tuesday, 21 March, 2006

David Ruffley MP is writing to all the headteachers in the Bury St Edmunds constituency asking for their feedback on the Ofsted report on 'Good School Libraries' published today.

In 2004/05 Her Majesty's Inspectors (HMI) visited 32 primary and secondary schools in order to 'identify and disseminate features of good practice'. The survey sought to evaluate the factors that had led to recent improvements in school libraries.

David Ruffley is keen to promote greater use of school libraries and sees their accessibility as key to promoting improved literacy.

Key findings of the Ofsted report included:

• Well trained specialist librarians had a positive impact on teaching and learning.

• Schools generally did not take advantage of in-house data to monitor and evaluate the library's impact and use.

• In many schools there was limited use of the library by Key Stage 4 pupils.

• Lessons in library skills were often unsatisfactory and not underpinned sufficiently by whole-school agreement on what was to be taught at each stage.

• In general, there were too few opportunities for pupils to carry out research or work independently to prepare them for further education or the workplace.

• In many primary schools, libraries were often closed to pupils for long periods such as lunchtime.

David said:

'School libraries are a fantastic resource. This Ofsted report, published today, makes some key recommendations as to how we can further improve these vital facilities and benefit the education of children across Suffolk. Therefore, I am writing to all the headteachers in the constituency asking for their feedback on the report and its recommendations.

'Key recommendations from Ofsted include extending the use of libraries by teachers and pupils throughout the day, especially by primary school pupils at lunch time and improving schools evaluation of library usage.

'One of the schools mentioned in the report had plans to extend community use of its library facilities- this is the kind of thinking we need in our education system. Today's schools have some outstanding facilities and resources and making them available outside school hours can make them more viable and benefit the whole community.

'I look forward to hearing the response of Suffolk's headteachers to this report and working with them to encourage improved literacy in our schools.'