A good initial response to the library consultation and exciting times for pupils waiting for their exam results

As you may be aware we launched a consultation into the future of our libraries in July and I’m pleased to report that we’ve now had over a thousand people respond. Furthermore, over 300 people have also attended the first wave of our 47 face-to-face sessions.

Most people are letting us know that they understand that having a library service for the future means change is needed, and it’s pleasing to see so many people are taking an interest in their local libraries and have taken the time to give us their thoughts.

The public meetings include drop-in sessions at each of the county’s 43 libraries, presentations with Q&A sessions and workshops for groups interested in taking over the running of a library. Details of public and online consultation are available in each library and at http://www.staffordshire.gov.uk/libraries

I have said before that it is vital we hear from library users and non-users alike, so I would really urge people to get involved and have their say.

It’s always nice to receive a positive mention on national media including the BBC and Radio 4 and we had just that this week with the announcement of our project to research over 20,000 military appeal tribunal records from WWI.

After the war most counties were asked to destroy their records, but for some unknown reason the Staffordshire records managed to survive. This was lucky for us – the information is fascinating and now gives a real insight into why men from the county appealed against being conscripted. We are now looking for volunteers to help us index the records and piece together the stories so people can visit the Archives Offices to learn more about life during that time. If you’re interested in getting involved you can contact the Staffordshire Records Office or visit their website.

It’s going to be both exciting and nervous times for young people who have received their A Level results and next week for those receiving their GCSE results. The main message is not to panic, no matter what the grades, there are careers advisers standing by to help people look at their options and work out what’s best for them. There are a variety of different paths for young people to take, be that university, apprenticeships, training and employment, or college. It is important that young people are aware of all the options available to them so they can make informed choices about their future career

Sticking with education, some more good news for pupils with improvements at Key Stage 2 with increased results in reading, writing and maths. Latest figures show 11 year olds across the county are making marked improvements in the tests and teacher assessments.

Initial results show that over 85 percent of pupils achieved at least the expected level in writing, up from just under 84 percent last year with further improvements in maths.

Our recently-published Learning and Skills Strategy challenges every one of our 400 schools to be rated as ‘good or outstanding’ by Ofsted. We have seen some significant improvements in recent years, but we want to go further and move faster to collectively raise standards even more. We need to ensure that high performance is consistent across all our schools. We’re heading in the right direction and ultimately, we want to ensure that every child in Staffordshire has the opportunity to attend an excellent school, fulfil their potential and be equipped with the skills and knowledge to lead fulfilling lives and rewarding careers.

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