School libraries must be ‘fit for purpose’ says cross-party report from MPs

The Guardian is reporting that a cross-party group of MPs and peers has called for there to be a good library in every school in the UK in a new report which says that libraries make “a huge contribution to young people’s educational attainment”…

…The new report, The Beating Heart of the School, comes from the Libraries All Party Parliamentary Group, and states that “it is vital that all schools have a good library to ensure children develop essential literacy and digital literacy skills in order to fulfill their potential”.

Although there are no new figures about the number of school libraries in the UK, the report says recent surveys show that 40% of primary schools with designated library space have seen their budgets reduced, and that almost a third of libraries have insufficient space. It also pointed to “one of the most concerning trends”: the fall in the number of librarians in English schools, with data from the Department for Education showing a reduction of 280 librarians in two years.

“Every child growing up in the UK should have the chance to learn and develop through a good school library. Poor literacy skills stand in the way of children and young people achieving their potential. In an increasingly digital world, we need to teach young people how to evaluate and understand unprecedented amounts of information,” writes Liberal Democrat Lord Graham Tope, chair of the group, in an introduction to the report. “With one in six adults in the UK struggling with literacy, more must be done to equip young people with essential literacy skills. I would expect the best schools to have a fantastic library; we need to ensure that every pupil across the UK has a library that is fit for purpose in their school.”

The report also states the need for Ofsted to look at school library provision when they inspect a school, and for the Department for Education to start collecting figures about the number of schools that have a library and librarian. It was welcomed by schools minister David Laws, who said that “the school library is an incredibly important way to ensure that children have a good choice when choosing books, a dedicated space for reading, and effective encouragement and stimulation from librarians to develop their literacy skills”.

School librarian Barbara Band, president of librarian body CILIP, pointed to research from the National Literacy Trust which shows that one in three children do not have a book of their own at home, and to a study from the Reading Agency which indicates that 40% of five to 10-year-olds and 23% of 11 to 15-year-olds do not visit public libraries…

More at: School libraries must be ‘fit for purpose’ says cross-party report from MPs

Have you seen a decline in your/your child’s school library? Is it fit for purpose? If yours is flourishing, what’s the secret? Please share in the comments or via Twitter…

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Categories: Policy.


  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Funding school libraries properly and they will be “fit for purpose” – it’s not rocket science

  2. Organic_Jane

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove We have no funds for our library. The DfE isn’t interested in funding mainstream community schools.

  3. andylutwyche

    Organic_Jane SchoolsImprove Quite – they cut all the funding then moan that they aren’t very good in the media to undermine yet again

  4. Organic_Jane

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove ….and threaten us with Ofsted, again! Do any of these ministers have any practical thinking skills?

  5. andylutwyche

    Organic_Jane SchoolsImprove No, but if you’re still run by LA that may have something to do with it. Forcing your hand re: academisation?

  6. Organic_Jane

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove Not happening. Cannot show any direct benefit to children of being an Academy!

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