Alcester Grammar School

– Library and Information Centre

Archive for the category “News”

‘Bookbuzz’ – Nov 2016


Our new Year 7’s were given the opportunity to buy a book at a reduced cost as part of our annual Bookbuzz programme, a reading programme from Book Trust, which supports schools to encourage reading for pleasure; independent choice and to develop a whole school reading culture. Students chose their own book to buy, at a reduced cost, from a list of 17 titles suitable for 11-13 year olds and selected by a panel of experts.

A selection of some of the mainstream titles received were:

  • You Killed Me! By Keith Gray (Barrington Stoke Ltd)
  • Gorilla Dawn by Gill Lewis (Oxford)
  • 13 Hours by Narinder Dhami (Tamarind, Random House)
  • My Brother is a Superhero by David Solomons (Nosy Crow)
  • Petunia Perry and the Curse of the Ugly Pigeon by Pamela Butchart and illustrated by Gemma Correll (Nosy Crow)
  • I am Malala by Malala Yousafzaia and Patricia McCormick (Hachette Children’s Group)
  • An Eagle in the Snow by Michael Morpurgo and illustrated by Michael Foreman (HarperCollins)
  • The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge (Macmillan)

‘500 Words’ – Final 27th May 2016

The final of this wonderful event, created by Chris Evans to inspire children to write creatively, was held live from the home of British story-telling, Shakespeare’s Globe .


  1. Honorary judge, Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Cornwall, attended to present winners of the Gold award with their prizes.
  2. This year’s BBC Radio 2 500 WORDS competition received 123,436 entries from young writers
  3. ‘Refugee’ is the Children’s Word of the Year.

Our Head Librarian, Louise Beeson, received a certificate of thanks for her contribution to the event.LOB with Certb

For further information on the competition winners and lots of fun links please click:


Chris Evans – Final of 500 Words event

Here is a link to one of the shortlisted stories.

‘Fakebook’ By Anna Harries, aged 12.    We love this story, what do you think?



Fantastic Fun with Words – 2014

With some events held at Alcester Library each year, this is a great, local Literature Festival organised by the Warwickshire Schools’ Library Service.
Mrs Beeson with a group of Year 8 students went to see Maria Whatton, who is a writer and storyteller with an interest in myths, legends and folktales. She put on a performance weaving words and stories together to help studies understand the power of this classic legacy.


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AND here’s a review from two of our students:

‘Fantastic Fun with Words’ 2014 Festival
It was interesting to hear the Irish tales that Maria told. She drew us in using exaggerated facial expressions and interesting words. Her cultural background allowed her to tell the stories with more emotion as they were a part of her and weren’t just words. She told a range of different stories from dragons and ribbons to goddesses and hidden lands. She engaged us by including our input and changing the landscape in which the stories were set. In fact, the stories were so good they inspired us to tell our own and we were all amazed at how interesting were our stories.
Overall we think this event was inspirational and thrilling and we would love to see Maria and hear her stories again.
By Tristan and Eleanor

450th Anniversary Celebrations of Shakespeare’s Birthday.

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Mrs Louise Beeson, who has a strong passion for anything Shakespeare (a fact well known by anyone that works in the Library) attended the celebration and has written an article for us on the event.  Please enjoy!

The Library  has a Partnership Project Link with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

The 450th Anniversary Celebrations of Shakespeare’s Birthday


Performing Arts Donation handed to Mrs Beeson

Performing Arts Donation handed to Mrs Beeson

We were delighted to receive a donation of £100 from ‘The Absolute Beginners Performing Arts Group’ – a former, independent, AGS student drama group. This was from our 2013 leavers who wanted to contribute to the Library as a ‘Thank You’ for the resources and facilities available to students. The cheque was presented to Head Librarian, Mrs Louise Beeson, by student and budding actor James Reeves.
We decided to invest in a range of Performing Art books and Nick Dereza, Head of Performing Arts, liaised closely with the Library and selected resources based on theatre, stage and drama for the Department.

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Chris Evans – 500 Words Competition

We are now reached the deadline for this wonderful competition. Children, in two categories up to the age of 13, from all over the UK were invited to write a story of no more than 500 words. As well as the chance of having their story read by famous celebrity readers, at the grand final, there is also the chance to win a serious stack of books for their school! Judges include Richard Hammond, Francesca Simon and Malorie Blackman. Thanks to our own preliminary judge, teacher and Head Librarian, Louise Beeson – one of many volunteers who will give up their time to read the stories and put forward their favourite judged by specific criteria.
Also, teaming up with the Children’s Dictionary and Language team at Oxford University Press to analyse the words used in 500 words submissions, it was discovered that the longest phrase was “deep breath” and the most frequently used word in last year’s submission was ‘mum’ – what a lovely focus!Most frequently used word was 'mum'.

Formula 1 – All The Races – 1950 – 2012 (second edition)

Thank you to Dave Smith, one of our Exam Vigilators, for recommending the above mentioned book for our Library. Written by Roger Smith, this remarkable book, presents a comprehensive history of the Formula 1 World Championship since 1950, its 616 pages densely packed with facts and figures as well as analysis and perspective. Car racing being something which Dave is passionate about.
He helped with verifying some of the statistical data for the book which records events in extraordinary detail. No Formula 1 fan will want to be without it.

Warwickshire Secondary Schools Book Award

Warks Book Award TeamThe 2014 Warwickshire Secondary Book Award, organised by the Warwickshire Schools’ Library Service, is underway. It is for KS3 students and there is a shortlist of 6 books for them to read before voting for their favourite choice – a book that “…you can’t put down”. Nearly every week the students meet up for discussions to help in the choice of their winner, second and third place and they then vote to determine our AGS group’s top three – there have already been some definite opinions!

The Award Presentation for the winners, voted for by all the schools, will take place on the morning of Tuesday, 1st April at The Bridge House Theatre, Warwick School. There is also a competition run for the students to win prizes and at the final event one or two of the shortlist authors is invited for discussion and to sign books, which the students love!

Library Partnership Project with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

The Library Assistants and Mrs Beeson were delighted to have the opportunity to visit the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, which offers so much. It is a place for research from different aspects like the archive sources; the artistic influences; the multicultural sides; its community elements and of course, from the Trust aspect, the wonderful legacy of Shakespeare!

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There were some fantastic research opportunities with the varied range of resources and we were particularly captivated by some of the original texts with the beautiful, intricate image on the page edges, only revealed when the text was at a specific angle – just like appreciating the carefully woven, dramatic and poetic sides of Shakespeare.

From an Art point of view, there were some very impressive images of paintings and stage sets. These were indicative of the way in which some artists had interpreted moods and specific interaction between characters and audience: something that stood out for us was the paintings of John O’Connor’s original, ‘The Tempest’. Whilst as regards local history there were some records of the Stratford District area and the critical reviews of the plays at different times. Particularly special though are some of the Quartos and the First Folio with plays like ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ (1600).

On the geographical side, there are some archive maps of the local area giving a clear, pictorial aspect of Stratford- Upon- Avon. Furthermore, from an historical and cultural, as well as dramatic point of view, there were records, critical reviews and recordings of the plays over different time spans. Not forgetting, with 80 languages represented, the diversity and the multi-cultural aspect of Shakespeare and the powerful messages in his plays for all the world!

This visit making us all realise the classic genius of Shakespeare.


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Not long after visiting the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, it was so appropriate for the Library Assistants to be able to see the excavations by the Heritage Trust before the main foundation digging for the new school block.  This is because the area has some protection because of the heritage links of our site with its Roman aspects and the Medieval monastery that still has foundations in the field adjoining the school and of which the remains of an outerpart of the monastery is still under this area of the school site.

The Heritage Trust team are so dedicated and responsive and it was especially good for us to see some primary sources. There has been revealed the original base of a medieval Blacksmith’s area with some definite detail, giving an appreciation of the life and needs of the people at the time and including some of the artefacts that were carefully dug up, like the small, beautifully carved section of a pillar and the fragment of an original pot.

Really useful sites they have recommended to us for further research from a heritage and geographical point of view are: and

Enjoy searching!

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