Experts condemn ‘folly’ of pilot scheme using pupils to staff school libraries

Jun 10, 2018 by

Parents, literacy experts, trade unions, teachers and librarians have spoken out against initiative being trialled by the Scottish Borders council

Experts have branded a cost-cutting pilot scheme in Scotland, in which pupil volunteers are replacing school library staff, as “folly” and a false economy.

The Scottish Borders council is implementing a trial in three schools – in Galashiels, Hawick and Peebles – that will see secondary school pupils and other volunteers taking on roles in school libraries. The pilot initiative follows the loss of several librarian jobs last year, according to reports in the Scottish press, and has been attacked by local parents as well as by literacy experts, trade unions, teachers and librarians.

Local parent Julie Caulfield said she and other parents were very concerned about the proposals.

“The savings they are making are minimal compared to the negative impact this move will have on the education of our young people,” said Caulfield. “There is also the concern as to how students will manage and supervise the behaviour of peers and ensure pupil safety in the libraries … The suggestion that pupils will learn leadership skills from the experience is dressing up cuts as training opportunities.”

In an open letter to Borders council chief executive Tracey Logan [PDF], the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (Cilip) in Scotland said it had been flooded with “many expressions of concern from our members, local parents, teachers and other partners who work with schools” about the pilot. The teachers’ trade union, the Educational Institute of Scotland, called the proposals “folly of the highest order”, while the reading charity Scottish Book Trust said they were a false economy and “the first step in getting rid of school libraries altogether”. According to Cilip Scotland’s Duncan Wright, the decision “highlights a complete lack of understanding of the role of the school librarian by council officials”.

Source: Experts condemn ‘folly’ of pilot scheme using pupils to staff school libraries | Books | The Guardian

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.