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Everyday Sexism Group – In the Press with Funding Success Story – 20 December 2019

Funding success story for Elgin Academy library

 By Lorna Thompson

– lorna.thompson@hnmedia.co.uk

 Published: 11:09, 20 December 2019

 |Updated: 13:07, 20 December 2019

ELGIN Academy is one of 34 schools across Scotland to be awarded extra library cash.

The secondary has received a £3,000 boost from the School Library Improvement Fund (SLIF), which supports creative and innovative projects in school libraries.

The fund is run by the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) for the Scottish Government to support activities which meet key education priorities, including literacy development, information and digital learning, and health and wellbeing.

The academy will use the cash to fund a library-based project led by S6 pupils to raise awareness of Everyday Sexism.

Academy librarian Shelagh Toonen said: “The pupils met author Laura Bates, of Everyday Sexism, during our trip last summer to the Edinburgh Book Festival and after meeting her, they felt empowered to raise awareness of everyday sexism and its links to social media and mental health within our school community. The group applied for funding and were subsequently successful in their funding application to SLIC.

“They are the only pupils to have received funding in Scotland in this recent round of government funding. Theirs was the only successful bid from Moray Council. Their project – Raising Awareness of Everyday Sexism – has been described as ground-breaking.

“The project will raise awareness on a subject which is rarely talked about, creating a safe space for students to open up about experiences. Small focus groups and school assemblies with special speakers will help students feel more comfortable talking about sexism while a variety of organisations will provide resources and further advice.

“The initiative, which is a project managed by S6 pupils, covers strategic aims one, two and four of Vibrant Libraries, Thriving Schools.

“To date, the pupils have delivered a presentation to staff, they have arranged workshops for peers with Glasgow Women’s Library and Empower Project. They have also confirmed a date in March for their planned family learning event with guest speakers David Bloomfield and Kirsty Logan. This event will be aimed at S3 pupils, parents and staff.

“We are all excited about this innovative project and are so proud of our pupils and looking forward to seeing the impact of this project and its legacy within the school community.”

The Elgin group includes pupils Megan Cowell, Sarah Dry, Jolie Henderson, Morven Ross, Daisy Stalker, Oliver Stalker and Eilidh Chatwin.

Elgin Academy pupils involved in the project Raising Awareness of Everyday Sexism.

The 34 school library projects received a combined total of £272,000 in the latest round of funding. A new funding round will open for applications on January 10, with £170,000 available.

SLIF was launched in 2017 as a three-year £1 million fund to transform school libraries. All successful projects are assessed to meet the aims of Scotland’s national school library strategy, Vibrant Libraries, Thriving Schools.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “School libraries have a vital part to play in supporting literacy and improving attainment right across the curriculum.

“We want libraries to be the vibrant hub of our schools and further investment of £272,000 through the SLIF will strengthen their role.

“I am very pleased to see recipients focusing on not only literacy, but health and wellbeing, STEM, and digital learning and engagement with their wider community.”

Pamela Tulloch, chief executive at SLIC, said: “School libraries have embraced the opportunity to develop new ways of engaging with pupils and the wider school community, enhancing the learning experience and attainment levels.

“School libraries have a vital role to play in the education journey of pupils. Research shows a well-run school library can impact positively on attainment and attitudes to learning. School libraries have enjoyed increased support since the introduction of the national school library strategy and we hope this continues to deliver long-lasting and sustainable benefits.”

The successful bids and details of how to apply are available on the SLIC website www.scottishlibraries.org/funding