The 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.

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 VI formers with the books and periodicals needed to support their studies, and a careers section kept up to date by a careers teacher.

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.


Younger pupils each have a personal reading challenge, a Reading Olympics. 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. Students have time to explore online book choosers, which are linked from Mrs Hickford’s blog.

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

Why use the Library?

"The visibility and availability of books and other reading materials are key components of a reading culture at home, in schools and throughout society. Children growing up in homes with more books develop better reading skills, no matter what their social background. Schools should provide a wide range of reading materials that attracts boys and girls of all ages and interests. School and public libraries can play a significant role in helping and inspiring pupils to find reading material that they can relate to."

Final report of the EU High Level Group of experts on Literacy, EU High Level Group of Experts on Literacy, September 2012.

longitudinal research study has found that children who read for pleasure are likely to do significantly better at school than their peers, according to new research from the Institute of Education (September 2013). 

Tap here for SUB-MENU