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School Libraries

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL324, tabled on 22 October 2019

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to make it mandatory for schools to have a library.

Answered on

4 November 2019

It is for individual schools to decide whether to provide and maintain a library service for their pupils. The vast majority of head teachers recognise the important role school libraries play in improving literacy and encouraging pupils to read for pleasure and ensure that suitable library facilities are provided. The national curriculum requires teachers in maintained schools to encourage pupils to develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information. It also emphasises the importance of listening to, discussing and – as their fluency increases – reading for themselves a wide range of stories, poems, plays and information books. Ofsted’s school inspection framework has a significant focus on reading as part of the quality of education judgement, with reading being prioritised to allow pupils to access the full curriculum offer.

The last Progress in International Reading Literacy Study indicated in 2011 that 92% of pupils in Year 5 in England were attending a school where there was a library. This was above the international average of 86%.

We do not collect data on school library provision or the impact it has on children’s educational attainment.