LAS sent the following letter to John Swinney MSP, Cabinet Secretary, to support school librarians in Argyll & Bute.
Letter of 13 September 2016 to John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary of Education and Skills.
Dear Cabinet Secretary,
SCHOOL LIBRARIANS IN ARGYLL AND BUTE
Thank you very much for your letter of 18 August 2016, in response to our letter about the decision of Argyll and Bute Council to remove school librarians from schools in Argyll and Bute. We very much appreciate your thoughtfulness in sending such a detailed reply.
Literature Alliance Scotland strongly supports the Scottish Government in its decision to make it a national priority to reduce the attainment gap between children and young people in different parts of the country, and to give every child equal life chances on which they can build. There can be no higher aim in seeking to build a fairer and more equal country. The results will help to determine the success that individual young people can make of their lives and will also influence the future success of Scotland.
Our concern is that decisions such as depriving the children and young people of Argyll and Bute of their trained school librarians act against the national priority of seeking to reduce the country’s attainment gap. Trained school librarians are an essential part of a modern school. They transform the school library into a place of learning, where pupils can be helped in directing their own reading, learning and research. Under the Swedish 2011 Education Act, for example, pupils in Sweden are entitled to a school library staffed by trained school librarians: it is viewed as a child’s right.
To succeed in Scotland, we will need to work constructively together to avoid a situation where children’s chances continue to depend on where they happen to find themselves in the country, something over which they have no control.
With others, we shall continue to make the case for the reinstatement of school librarians in Argyll and Bute to Leader and Councillors of Argyll & Bute Council and press them to rescind their decision.
Ann Matheson (Chair)
Donald Smith (Vice-Chair