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School Library Provision

Volume 78: debated on Friday 10 May 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he expects to respond to the report of the Library and Information Services Council on school library provision.

The White Paper "Better Schools" (Cmnd. 9469) makes clear the Government's view that the function and use of school libraries should form part of the curricular policy of every local education authority and school since schools are better placed to extend the range and depth of pupils' learning when library services are included in their curricular policies. The Government recognise the importance of school libraries and look to local education authorities and schools to explore ways in which the resources available can be most effectively deployed.The Library and Information Services Council's report also addressed a number of recommendations to local authorities, training establishments, staffs of schools, professional bodies and others. Those recommendations are to be considered by the bodies concerned.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will order a report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate into the provision of books in schools and school library services.

The report of a survey by Her Majesty's inspectors of school libraries in six local education authorities will be published later this month. Book provision is referred to, often in detail, in HMI's reports on individual schools and on educational provision in particular authorities, and in their annual report on the effects of local authorities' expenditure policies—all of which are published.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will seek to determine statutory minimum levels for the (a) financial provision, (b) book stock and (c) staffing of school library services in England and Wales.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many local education authorities in England and Wales have a school library service.

The Department does not collect information from local education authorities about their arrangements for school library services.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he has any plans to seek to make the provision of a school library service a statutory provision in England and Wales.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many qualified librarians were employed in school libraries in England and Wales for each of the last five years for which statistics are available.

The Department does not collect information in this form from local education authorities.