Our Learning Resource Centre provides all our students with facilities to learn and study in a well managed and dedicated learning environment. We combine a traditional collection of fiction and non-fiction books with a computer suite able to support a full class and a collection of digital resources accessible through the VLE in or out of school. Pupils have access to the center from 8.30 am to 4.20 pm Monday-Friday, including break and lunchtimes. Our 6th Former’s also have access to a collection of curriculum related texts in their study centre.
The centre is managed by a full time qualified librarian and provides a range of quality reading materials specifically chosen to support the school’s dedication to encouraging reading. Our commitment to supporting reading initiatives includes a visit each term by a well known published author. New students in Year 7 have an opportunity to be part of a thriving weekly reading club. ‘Dreamtime’ is a reading- dedicated weekly session structured to involve our year 8 and 9 students in activities and opportunities to read and appreciate a variety of texts supported by the book collection held within the LRC.
The study habit is further supported by an after-school homework club based in the LRC.
Bishop Walsh Reading Club
Visitors to the LRC every Friday lunchtime for the past ten years would have seen signs on the doors proclaiming that Reading Club was in progress, and would have seen up to twenty pupils eagerly discussing their favourite books while eating their lunch.
The Bishop Walsh Reading Club began in 2003, with the aims of promoting books and reading and helping Year 7 pupils settle into their new school. It has been so successful that one year there were so many pupils on the waiting list that we had to have a spin-off club for them!
Open to Year 7 only, the activities include quizzes, puzzles, wordsearches and debates, all book based. Members have their own exclusive collection of books and also have first pick when the library has a delivery of new books. When we have an author visit, this invariably includes a meeting with the reading club for an informal chat and Q&A session
Occasionally we are asked to review new books or collections for publishers which is always enjoyable especially the time when it was a collection of Graphic novels.
The Reading Club has its own page on the Library website on the VLE where members can chat about their favourite books and post reviews.
Learning Resource Centre Blog
After 20 years as librarians at Bishop Walsh School, we have made the decision to retire. Over the years the library has changed beyond anything we could have imagined. When we began the only computer was the one on the librarians’ desk, the library was three times the size it is now and we had twice as many books! There was no internet – instead we had a reference section full of atlases and encyclopedias. The sixth form library took up what is now room 18 and the sixth form, who had no study centre, spent all their free periods working in the library. Every Year 7 pupil had a library lesson every week where they learnt how to use contents, indexes and catalogues to find information.
Highlights of our time at Bishop Walsh have to be the author visits. We are lucky to have authors visiting so frequently and among the many who have visited are Antony Horowitz, Michael Cox, Alan Gibbons, Sarah Singleton and recently the Etherington Brothers.
For the last ten years we have run a successful Year 7 Reading Club which one year was so oversubscribed that we had to start a spin-off club for the waiting list!
For many years we shadowed the Carnegie Award and took part in the Key Stage Three Birmingham book award.
Best of all, we have met, helped and recommended books to thousands of Bishop Walsh pupils. We will miss you all.
Mrs Bond and Mrs Mullins
We have started the new school year with a real BUZZ. Every child in Year 7 has had the opportunity to choose a book from the selection provided through the Booktrust. The school has made this investment on behalf of each child because we know that children who read for pleasure benefit in many ways not the least increased appetite and aptitude for learning. There was a great deal of excitement when we visited each class to show the presentation and let them check out the selection before making their choice. The books arrived recently and will be distributed over the next week. The books will be theirs to KEEP. Meanwhile the whole selection is available in the Library and there is more information, puzzles and fun stuff on the website www.bookbuzz.org.uk.
On Friday 18th October, Year 7 and 8 were lucky enough to see the Etherington Brother’s Storybuilding Workshop. Robin and Lorenzo have worked with Dreamworks, Wallace and Gromit and the Dandy as well as producing two books of their own. As well as a lively and entertaining workshop, they also judged the cartoon character competition, had lunch with the Reading Club (above) and signed books for pupils.
The winner of the cartoon competition is Megan Rose-Murphy 7C Robin’s comments on Bishop Walsh: It’s wonderful to walk around a school and feel such a buzz of
positivity and excitement. We loved meeting the reading club and answering their excellent questions, and the level of humour and imagination on display during the show was really encouraging.
Fantasy author Mark Robson brought his inspirational talk to year 9 pupils at Bishop Walsh Catholic School to a surprising end by breaking a plank of wood in half with his bare hands. Mark was showing the pupils how he researches his books by drawing on the skills he learnt as an RAF pilot and a martial arts instructor.
After his talk Mark signed copies of his books for pupils, then met the year 7 Reading Club for an informal question and answer session.