I met Jenny, then a teacher of Physics, when I moved to England as a teacher of Religious Studies from South Africa in 2001. Since then we have both professionally qualified as librarians and are blessed to be working together in the Smallbone Library at Oakham School. We are also blessed with a son, Reuben, who is 5, and who is a constant reminder of what this is all about and why it all matters.
I believe that an education in which the classroom does not lead inevitably and essentially to the library, as Norman Beswick put it, is impoverished. This is not because the library is more important than the classroom, but that this represents an educational reality in which we – teachers and librarians working together – have enabled our children to learn anything by finding out for themselves. Only then will we have prepared them for a future that we have made more challenging and less certain.
It appears that the odds might be stacked against us, but, as Doug Engelbart put it, the better we get at getting better, the faster we will get better, which is the point of doing this together.
I’m Jenny, Library Assistant at Oakham School since June 2018 in this incarnation, but I’ve been at Oakham School since 2008, variously as a Library Assistant, Librarian and Physics Teacher (and have worked in schools since I began my career in 2001) – and I’m also Darryl’s wife. Having started my career as a Physics Teacher, chance and Darryl’s passion for school libraries drew me into libraries and led me to qualify as a librarian. However, having been back in Physics teaching for a while it was my own love of the library that drew me back following 4 years at home taking care of our son, Reuben, before he started primary school in September 2018.
The library occupies a unique position at the heart of the school, with the potential to be involved in every subject area at every level. It is a fascinating job – I sometimes don’t know when I walk in in the morning whether I will end my day working on Year 13 Politics or Year 6 French! I have found my niche within our team designing resources to support inquiry. Sometimes this is in direct relationship with the subject teachers, and sometimes our curriculum librarians lead the inquiry design and collaboration and tell me what resources they need. It is a hugely varied and challenging job – and I love it!
Outside school, raising our son has taught me so much about learning and motivation – the heart of inquiry is tapping into that curiosity that comes so naturally to a small child!
I am a freelance qualified professional librarian with teaching experience. I have worked in many spheres of education both in the independent and maintained sectors, primary and secondary.
I am passionate about developing information literacy skills, digital and media literacy skills, critical thinking skills and independent learning skills throughout all key stages and having been employed as a teacher librarian I spent considerable amounts of time in the classroom as well as the library. If nearly 700 websites and 500 hours of video footage are added to the internet every minute then surely learning to handle and evaluate information becomes akin to learning to speak another language. If technology exists to aid this process and to help encourage creativity in writing then we have to teach these digital media and information skills. I feel saddened by the current focus on rote learning. My own daughter when doing her A Levels begged me to “stop filling up my brain with stuff I don’t need to pass my exams” and I was only redeemed as valuable when she started doing research as part of her degree course.
Equally, I am interested in how we communicate and work with others and run courses on people management and student behaviour. This also encompasses areas such as assertiveness, resilience and self esteem.
My training style is very practical. I like to use problem solving, critical thinking and games to help participants understand concepts in preference to just delivering “how to” content
I help schools with consultancy and recruitment for a new school library or development project, training for all members of a school community in digital and information literacy including writing and presentation. I have worked with key stages 2 – 4 and with sixth form EPQ, International Baccalaureate Diploma Extended Essays and Cambridge Pre-U.
My first degree is in Biochemistry and my master’s degree is in Information Science. I have a post 16 teaching qualification too. I am also a qualified trainer with the British Council. Although I have spent most of the last 20 years of my career in schools, I also have experience of the Pharmaceutical and Financial information sectors and have worked for some time in Qualitative Market Research.
When I am not being a consultant I play in professional traditional folk music ceilidh bands and singing groups.
I am a trainer and advisor specialising in school libraries. I have worked in Libraries since I was 16 with a brief interlude to hotel work just before I started my family. I have four children two of whom are teachers, one nurse and one has just started his journey to becoming a lawyer but as he is still in his first year at University we will still have to watch that journey unfold. I am a proud grandma to Benedict!
I qualified as a librarian in 2003 after studying a distance learning degree and went back to work as an SLS librarian for Schools’ Library Service and have been there ever since, becoming Head of Service in 2014 and I got my masters, also distance learning, in 2016. I met Darryl in 2013 when one of the schools I was supporting decided to start offering the IB. They did not have a qualified librarian in post and I agreed to go on the IB course for Librarians run by Darryl. The support I ended up giving the school was nothing more than my time to talk to the IB assessors and what I thought would be an opportunity to work more with teachers and students came to nothing. However, meeting Darryl confirmed my understanding of the need for school librarians to be involved with information literacy and have been on that journey ever since.
I came runner up in the LILAC Information Literacy award in 2016 and have since been presenting at conferences to teachers and librarians both nationally and internationally. I believe that alongside trying to encourage school librarians to get out of the library and into the classroom that teachers need to understand more the role of the school librarian.
I write for the CILIP Information Professional and have my own blog and website where I run an online book club to encourage those who work in school libraries to read for professional development.
I am currently on the working party for #GreatSchoolLibraries campaign and on the committee for CILIP SLG as I believe that you have to be in it to win it. We cannot just sit back and watch the continued demise of our school libraries. We as librarians have a role in teaching and learning, we are information professionals and our children deserve the right to great school libraries.
I’m Chris, and I have been Head of Student Research at Oakham School since 2018. My role involves assisting pupil and staff with EPQs and IB Extended Essays as well as other extended inquiry projects. I’ve been a teacher for over twenty years, run a boarding house and an academic department and taught Chemistry at state and independent schools, both day and boarding, mixed and single sex.
I’m actively involved in my own practitioner research too, as I am reading for a part-time PhD at the University of Cambridge as well as teaching full time at Oakham. My research interests fall broadly into the sociology of education and I am particularly interested in perceptions of teacher professionalism and identity and how these are shaped by school and government policy. What has been a revelation to me has been to see how FOSIL works as a map of the research process, whatever the level, from Year 6 through to PhD! I’m a very strong advocate of FOSIL and I look forward to collaborating with others in the development of resources that support pupils (and staff) through the inquiry process.
I’m Joe, and I am a Lead Practitioner on the Teaching and Learning (T&L) Team at Oakham School. I have been teaching for 9 years, across state and independent sectors, in London, Essex, Lincolnshire and Rutland. My role allows me plenty of opportunities to engage with our incredible library team and with FOSIL, both of which I advocate as loudly and frequently as possible. I deliver TeachMeets throughout the year, covering issues ranging from metacognition and self regulated learning, to setting meaningful prep and self assessment. As a great believer in the practical application of pedagogy, I am actively engaged in experimenting with methods of teaching and learning. This often involves working closely with library staff in our quest to incorporate FOSIL in both the traditional inquiry setting, and in completely new initiatives, including as a framework for essay writing and source analysis at A Level. Being able to combine my subject specialism in Politics and T& focus with the inspiring work of the FOSIL gurus has been a real privilege.
Alongside my work as Lead Practitioner, I also coordinate Form 5 (Year 11) and teach in the middle school. Tracking the progress of younger students through the FOSIL cycle as they participate in a huge variety of projects throughout the school highlights the power of the process, mindset and framework it offers. I regularly combine my subject, T&L and pastoral roles in events such as learning walks, open doors weeks, and festivals of learning, where staff and students come together to share the best that teaching and learning has to offer.
I’m very excited about the future trajectory of FOSIL and the opportunities it affords me and my colleagues.
Im Amanda and I’m the School Librarian at Morpeth School in Bethnal Green, I’m also co-opted on to the CILIP School Libraries Group Committee as the London and South East representative. I really believe that research and inquiry skills are something that is sorely lacking in education at the moment and definitely needs champions and practitioners in the form of School Librarians (and others!) in order to help change this! I heard about FOSIL from Darryl when I was trying to look for a framework to base our learning off of and thought it was very good. I love the open source approach too and happy to help develop FOSIL in our school.
Currently opportunities have been limited but I am attempting this term to introduce our Year 12’s to FOSIL through an opportunity in their CPSHE lessons. The extra challenge comes as they are in groups of 40-90 and I have about an hour. I will let you know how I get on and post on the forum! I am also working on producing a “pick up and use” research guidance booklet based on FOSIL that can be used in any subject when they set research class or homework. Watch this space!
I’m Rachel and I am the School Librarian at Altrincham Grammar School for Girls where I have been working for about 3 years. Prior to that I worked at Stockport School Library Service, a brilliant service which, sadly, no longer exists.
We are starting to address the need to teach research and inquiry skills in school. Students have been developing their information literacy skills through a planned programme in Years 7 and 8 library lessons. I have also been involved in research lessons for Year 12 at the start of their EPQ.
I am curious to learn more about the FOSIL framework because it offers the potential for teachers and librarians to collaborate effectively.
It is great that you have joined us! I am really looking forward to learning how you work with FOSIL in whatever way it works best for you. It is a journey for all of us and we are all learning together.
It is definitely going to be an interesting ride 🙂
Hi I’m Sara and I am the Librarian at Chigwell School, I have only been in post here for 18 months, but have been a School Librarian for over 12 years across state and independent schools.
We have begun to address research and inquiry skills with lessons for research, referencing and plagiarism for our HPQ & EPQ students. I am looking forward to learning more about FOSIL and how it can work for us and extending these skills into other year groups.
Hi, I’m Shelley from St. Christopher’s. We have been delivering basic research and enquiry skills lessons to Years 7 & 8 for some years now. I would like to develop these further, hopefully with ideas and resources from this forum.
Welcome Sara and Shelley. Good to have you both in our community.
Sara – your journey with FOSIL is starting much where ours began, with support for our IB Extended Essay students (IB Year 12-13 students all produce a 4000 research paper on a topic of their choice as part of their Diploma qualification). It was in providing this support that Darryl recognised the need for a framework of skills built up over the students’ time at school and came across the Empire State Information Fluency Continuum. I hope to upload the rest of our EE support resources to the resources section over the next week but this Investigative Journal is a start.
Shelley – you might find some of the Full Workbooks interesting as these are aimed at the younger years (and many of the Year 6 ones would be equally applicable in Year 7). There’s a lot of scope to be creative in the younger years, when public exams aren’t looming so large!
We look forward to hearing about your journeys so far as you join the conversations in our other forums.
I’m a solo Librarian at Bryanston School and have worked in this role for five years. My library career spans over twenty-five years and I have worked in the public and private sectors using my transferable skills in public lending libraries, business reference libraries, specialised legal libraries and school libraries.
My interest in highlighting the importance of Information Literacy and collaborating with teaching staff to embed IL skills in the curriculum began with supporting the IB Extended Essay, A-Level coursework and the HPQ. I refreshed my skills and knowledge by attending the IL module, part of the MSc in Information Management at UWE. I have since worked with our IB Co-ordinator to embed academic honesty from Year 9 to 13 and to open up the discussion about learning through inquiry at Head of Department meetings.
I’ve attended Eton Group meetings and various conferences and courses that have focused on IL. The view of the role of the Librarian within an organisation is significant and the relationships between teaching staff and library staff really seem to determine the success of learning through inquiry.
I hope to be able to exchange and share information through this forum and look forward to participating in future discussions.
I’m Rachel and am a solo librarian at Caldew School in the village of Dalston, just outside of Carlisle. I’ve been a qualified librarian since 2001, working first as an Assistant Librarian at Doncaster College, and then as a Faculty Librarian at the University of Nottingham before taking four years out from 2006-2010 after the birth of my son Finn, during which time we relocated to Cumbria. During my time at Nottingham, Information Literacy was one of my primary interests, and I chaired a project developing on online tutorial for undergraduate students. I’ve worked here at Caldew since September 2010.
We also are very much at the start of the FOSIL journey. Following a number of issues in the last couple of academic years which highlighted the need for students to develop better information and research skills, we set up a working group in September, which I chair, to develop a framework which we could use across the curriculum from Years 7-13. I was put in touch with Darryl by Elizabeth Hutchinson, after making an enquiry on SLN. Following a tremendously helpful visit to Oakham (with many thanks to Darryl and Jenny), we are now at the stage of presenting our draft framework to SLT next week, and then to the teaching staff as a whole later this month (wish me luck!), with some trials later this term in Y7 History, Year 12 Geography, and Year 10 and 12 Media Studies.
Looking forward to sharing experiences and resources in this forum.
Good to see you here. You are so right that the relationship with teachers makes all the difference to us being able to share our expertise in inquiry-based learning and information literacy. The IB does seem to open doors in a way that GCSE and A’Level doesn’t. I am looking forward to hearing more as this progresses.