500 Words Winners at Waterstones!

What a lovely end to the term!

Being asked to accompany the Winners of our in-house 500 Words competition to Waterstones for the morning, to spend their Book Tokens. The competition was run by our English Department, judged by a panel of teachers and support staff. Winners in each category (including the Staff category) received a £20 voucher, and the runners up were rewarded with £10. All winners, including Mr Pritchard, were given the morning off lessons and taken to the store in Broadmead for a book-i-licious spending spree with a break for hot chocolate and coffee.

IMG_0223Mrs Gibson was thrilled to be asked to lead the trip and joined in with the spending (allowing herself a £20 spending limit also) Here is a picture of the students’ haul:

IMG_0225Mr Pritchard’s bag of goodies (I think he must have seriously subbed his winnings!)


Happy reading you lovely authors (their stories can be read on the School Frog VLE. 


Riveting Reads – successful Reading challenge 2019

Easter is nearly upon us, and it is time to check out how well our Reading Challenge for this year went. If you remember we began with good intentions back in January to try something different and to dip into the Carnegie Book Award’s list of nominations. So, this morning I have been totting up some statistics:

Display header pic

84     books were added to stock from the Carnegie nominations list (we chose titles suitable for KS3 and those that were out in paperback)

550   book issues  

123   students borrowed from the collection (63 Y7,  32 Y8,  28 Y9)

77     reviews uploaded to the Riveting Reads blog 

41     students borrowed 4+ titles (1 book per month)

7       students completed the ultimate challenge of reading 12+ books ( two came in with 9 books read and one, 7)

26     books were borrowed 5+ times

Top 6 most borrowed books (two of which are now on the shortlist) were:

Top 6 books.PNG

Our winning students were:


Bethan  Y7   34 books

Caitlin Y8     19 books

Ciara       Y7   16 books

Tommy  Y7    15 books

Toby, Evie Y7 & Molly Y8,  12 books each 

With a shout out for Zach Y9 and Eliza Y7 for reading 9 each and Cerys for 7 titles


All Year 7 winners have joined the Carnegie Reading Group which is currently shadowing the Shortlist

Prizes were £10 Waterstones vouchers and Easter Eggs, part funded by a 6th form editors and contributors of the school magazine, The Croak,  who held a cake sale.


Some thoughts to conclude:

We spent time purchasing the books (some we were unsure of were purchase New & Used from Amazon to save money), creating a display, plasma slides, reviewing bookmarks and building a blog to promote the challenge and for student comments. 6th form assistants uploaded the many reviews and we gave chocolate “Wonka bars” to each new reviewer during assemblies or library lessons. (each received with a surprised grin)

The Librarian promoted the challenge to all 18 classes Y7-9 at the beginning of the year and returned to demonstrate the reviewing blog. If she had time to do a Book Talk on some of the titles eg novels in verse, they were generally borrowed.

We hadn’t taken into account World Book Day and the Scholastic Book Fair that stays with us the week after half term, for 2 weeks we run competitions to herald its arrival and all classes visit during the week so promotion was halted and allowed to slip. We also didn’t think to remind English staff taking the Y8 -9 classes to remind their students to choose from the collection. So as the weeks have gone by the collection has gradually filled up as books are returned and new titles not borrowed.  The 7 winners were far and away our best borrowers and reviewers. 

Winners said they entered because they loved reading, wanted to read more and experiment with new authors. They all enjoyed the challenge and said that they rarely gave up on a book!

Would we do it again?

I think so, as we can build on what we have learnt this year, and re-use resources we have created. I think the money was well spent on quality literature and a number of books which I might not have chosen, went out more that I thought they would have. Many titles have appeared on other shortlists (Blue Peter, Branford Boase, YA) and so we will be able to promote them again next term. 

Instead of our usual competitions for Scholastic, we could offer the Book Token prizes as an incentive to keep reading 2 months on.

We would offer some training to English teachers who take the older classes so that they are fully on board and confident to encourage their students to undertake the challenge. When lessons began with a book talk by the librarian (eg novels in verse) the books were usually borrowed. I think we could also make better use of the students and their reviews – to include some “Speak-outs” in class. 



Stories rooted in Science for Science Week

National Science Week got us thinking in the Library, firstly about our non-fiction collection, but then we began to look at our Fiction collection and found many stories to promote to our readers. And what a range of writing? Adventure, Humour, Steampunk, Nature, Fantasy and a Graphic Novel. Something for all ages and for all interests. 

All are on display in the Library at the moment. 

Stories rooted in Science Reading List

Stories rooted in Science Reading List

Riveting Reads -have you read any of the Carnegie/Greenaway long-listed titles?

The Carnegie Greenaway Judging Panel have announced their top 20 in each category with the Long-lists. Here are the Carnegie titles (and three of the books we have been reading, which are featuring for their illustrations, on the Greenaway Long-list. 

Carnmegie Longlist

CILIP Carnegie Medal longlist

There is still plenty of time to read these before the short-list of eight titles is announced in March. 

And don’t feel you have to read these, titles not appearing on the shortened lists are still amazing books (Mrs Gibson’s favourite so far, Flying tips for flightless birds is not there). The Riveting Reads collection will be out on display until Easter.

Student reviews are being added to our blog, Riveting Reads, all the time. why not take a look to see what others have enjoyed. 

Serious fun at the Harry Potter Quiz

Our 3rd year, and the competition remains as fierce as ever – who are the true HP Aficionados in school (students or staff!)? With no great re-decorating of our (very large library) and just a few props, the atmosphere is created by the energy and enthusiasm of those attending. 

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 We love to see Y8 and Y9 students so excited about all things Potter. Fifty students and staff entered into the quiz with gusto, answering rounds on General Knowledge, Hogwarts Houses, Fantastic Beasts, Spells and Who said……..? We were rudely interrupted by Dementors which thankfully were discovered stuck to the bottom of a number of chairs – crisis promptly averted with bars of Dementor Relief  chocolate!

But in the end, The Return of the SPEW won dropping just a single point, closely followed by The Baby Nifflers. Sorry to the ever-changing staff team of The Professors – but thank you for joining us – and showing us the weirdest way to bite into a Sorting Hat Cupcake!!

Thank you for coming everyone and               

here’s to next year!



Riveting Reads runs off to a great start!

Display header pic.jpgOur reading challenge Riveting Reads has run off to a great start, with 62 of the 85 titles out on loan as we type! Most students are taking a leisurely read, but we have some Y7 and Y8 students who are racing through them.

We have also had reviews aplenty and to entice others to try some of the titles, we have created a blog on which to publish them. You can look here to find more like these:


Review eg


Riveting Reads: The Carnegie Challenge 2019

We all begin the year with new resolutions, and the Library Ladiez always try to inspire our Y7 students to read more and maybe try a new genre for a change. We also run a Reading Group from Easter into the Summer term who follow the Carnegie Book Award (an annual award for the “best written book” of the year)

This year, we wanted to include all students who have a Reading Lesson, ie Y8 and Y9. And so we have taken an idea used in Gordano School and are encouraging KS3 students to read as many of the books, which at this stage, have been nominated for the Carnegie award. 85 titles were suitable for Backwell School and they are now displayed at the entrance of the Library for all to borrow. There really is something for everyone there: mystery, adventure, retelling of myths, gritty realism and non-fiction. 

Even a selection of books written in verse:

novels in verse

Our challenge?

  • To take a look and borrow what takes your fancy. You will be given a bookmark with space to write a review on the back. Post this in the box and you will be in for a chance to win a fortnightly sweetie prize.


  • Read 12+ titles before the Easter holidays and we have some Amazon vouchers up for grabs. 

To find out  more about the challenge, and Carnegie Medal, read our leaflet here:

coverRiveting Reads: the Carnegie Challenge 2019

It will be interesting to see if we have read any of the 8 shortlisted titles which will be announced on 18th March. And we may have encouraged more students to join our Reading Group to decide which title, overall, should win the gold medal. 

For those interested, here is a list of all 137 nominated titles:


Click here to find out more about the Carnegie medal and the the Shadowing process