Ratcliffe Library

      The Ratcliffe Library - open for reading, learning and discovering

      In September 2013 the school Library was officially renamed in honour of OLA alumnus Bertram Ratcliffe, who was awarded the Military Cross for his daring escape in World War One.

      The school Library is for all members of the school, and is managed by Mrs Barbara Hickford, MCLIP. Students use the library for homework, research, quiet study, or choosing a book to read. Years 7 and 8 come in regularly each week; older students use the library for study, and at other times subject groups will come in to use the books and computers.

      Please click here to read Stephen Oliver's lecture on Bertram Ratcliffe which he gave at the OLA Reading Festival in 2013.  


      What’s the Library like?

      The Library is a spacious and light area for individual study, classes or small groups. Often a quiet place to study, but sometimes buzzing with activity – visits by authors, book fairs, book swaps and quizzes are some of the events which take place here.

      Well-stocked with books - fiction, non-fiction and reference, as well as periodicals, and a growing collection of online resources,  there is also a suite of computers, which have access to the school network. A user-friendly library catalogue can be accessed from any computer in school. With plenty of space for independent study there is also a dedicated study area for Sixth Form pupils with the books and periodicals needed to support their studies. We also have a careers section, which is supported by Marika Bilotti our Careers Adviser.

      What happens in the Library?

      Years 7 & 8 come to Library every week, and as well as reading, follow a programme of progressive library and information skills to become familiar with how the Library works and how to find information. Sometimes teachers will bring in classes to use the books and computers for research or reading material, and these sessions are planned together to help support pupils' independent study by effective use of the library.

      Allowing browsing time to choose books is so important and we also recommend books to each other in Library lessons. Reading suggestions and lists by genre are available.

      The OLA Reading Challenge?

      This is a reading promotion for Year 7 and 8 to try and encourage wider reading, and to achieve Bronze, Silver and Gold levels. Books read over the summer for the Summer Reading Challenge can be counted towards the Bronze level.

      How it works:

      Each student has a Reading Challenge from the Library, which can be found Firefly, our learning platform, and is encouraged to read from different genres of fiction. Six books of any length are needed for each level. Each level also requires a non-fiction book to be read: a biography for Bronze, poetry for Silver and a play for Gold, plus another activity: a book review for the Bronze; an author profile at Silver; and a bibliography of books which have been read for the Gold.  Gold certificates are awarded at Junior Prizegiving in July.

      The Reading Challenge record

      Readers record the author and title of each book they have read, and a brief comment or score. Ideally they take an Accelerated Reader quiz on the book , if one is available.  Some books can fall into more than one genre but can only be counted once.

      Suggested book titles

      Readers can choose any book they wish, from home, the public library or school library. Library sessions often start with recommendations, where the pupils suggest good reads to each other.

      Library Activities include:

      • An annual Festival of Reading
      • Reading clubs
      • Shadowing the Carnegie Medal
      • Reading buddies
      • Author visits and writing workshops
      • Kids' Lit Quiz 
      • Many more events throughout the year