Shropshire Star

Council launches consultation into scrapping school library service after backlash

Shropshire Council has launched a consultation into the future of its Schools Library Service after its shock announcement it would pull the service was met with backlash.


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The council had told schools earlier this month that it was stopping the service, which caused a number of complaints about a lack of any consultation before the authority decided to axe the service, which the council said had been “regrettable”.

A petition that has gathered more than 3,000 signatures was launched by Tracey Cansdale, headteacher at Christ Church C of E Primary School in Cressage after the announcement, who said scrapping the service was “unthinkable”.

In Shropshire, the Schools Library Service operates as a traded service that 65 per cent of schools buy into and borrow books and receive training for staff and pupil librarians. Schools also use the service to supplement their own stocks of books and resources.

However, the service has been operating at a loss for the last two financial years and the council said it cannot continue to fund any future deficits by Schools Library Service.

The council has now invited schools to respond to a consultation to capture ideas, including whether they would be willing to pay more for the service, or start using the service if they don’t already, to make it financially viable for the future.

Families and the public are also able to respond to a survey to share their thoughts on the plans.

Kirstie Hurst-Knight, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for children and education, said: “Shropshire, like many other councils, faces a very challenging financial position and must find £62m of savings this year. This is due to ever rising demand for social care, which now accounts for almost £4 in every £5 the council spends, and rising costs from continuing high levels of inflation.

“This means we now have some very difficult decisions to make, including reducing some services, particularly non-statutory ones. In some cases, this means stopping services altogether. Schools Library Service is one such service that councils do not have to provide by law, and which many other councils have already stopped operating.

“As part of the council’s savings plans, it proposes to stop the service from the autumn if no other solution can be found.

“The scale of the financial challenge the council faces means there will be many decisions that we have never wanted to make, so that we can continue to prioritise statutory services that support the most vulnerable people.

“All possible options to continue the service will be explored and we welcome all suggestions.”

More details on the consultation can be found at