The Hartley Learning Centre

Miss J Lister - Learning Centre Manager

Welcome to the Hartley Learning Centre. As the Librarian here at Saffron Walden County High School, my role is to promote reading for pleasure and all of its benefits to the students and staff within our community.

Reading for pleasure is at the heart of everything we do in the Hartley Learning Centre. With over 10,000 resources that span over fiction, non-fiction, and a range of genres, it is our goal to ensure that all students can find reading material that they will enjoy and be interested in.

The Learning Centre space is calm, quiet, and open plan in style to offer students a different learning environment to that of the traditional classroom. There is space to work at a table as well as a computer suite and there are also comfortable chairs for relaxed reading or simply taking in the quiet space during a busy school day.

Each year group has its own, allocated time to use the library before school and throughout the school day and the Librarian is on hand to help students find resources, offer reading recommendations, and ensure that the Learning Centre is a safe and welcoming place for any students who wish to use the facilities.

Opening times and Homework Club

The Library is open throughout the school week, from Monday to Thursday from 8 am to 4.30 pm, and on Friday from 8 am to 4 pm. Students are able to borrow, return and renew books before school, at break, at lunch and after school. Books may be borrowed for two weeks.

After school, Homework Club for Year 7 runs each day and provides a quiet place to keep on top of homework using all the facilities on hand. Myself or a member of the Learning Support team are available to respond to queries and to recommend resources, as well as to maintain an atmosphere conducive to study. 

Library lessons for Year 7

All Year 7 classes receive a thorough induction into how the Learning Centre works, and fortnightly visits, for reading and borrowing, are an established part of the English curriculum in Year 7. Reading for pleasure is actively promoted with students exploring their own reader identity and having the freedom and choice to select and try new genres in their own time and at their own pace.

Reading for Pleasure enrichment opportunities

Portable Magic our Book Delivery Service-where students can request a book from the Library online, to be delivered to their form room, or collected from the Library.

SWCHS online Book Group which is available through the Teams app and is rich in reading for pleasure discussion boards and activities. This online platform is unique in that it brings together both staff and students to share their common love of books and reading.

SWCHStory-is accessible via the SWCHS online Book Group, SWCHStory is different members of staff reading a book aloud for all members of our school and wider community to enjoy. This is a great way that parents and students can join the school community to discuss and explore, not only a great story, but all the other subjects and thoughts that a story can inspire.

SWCHS Staff Book Talks-each week we have a different member of staff talking about books that influenced their lives in some way. This is great way for students to get to know the people behind their school personas and to gain reading recommendations too. This too will be accessible via the SWCHS online Book Group, until we can gather again in the future.

Reading for Pleasure Bookmarks -another way that teachers and parents can engage with students through reading for pleasure. Activities include creating a relaxed reading den at home, talking to a family member about what they are reading now, or have enjoyed in the past, exploring the power of storytelling through reading aloud and simply making time to fit in a little bit of reading for pleasure as often as you can at home-even five minutes of reading for pleasure every day can improve mental wellbeing, creativity, literacy skills, vocabulary, and empathy for others.

I feel so privileged here, at The Hartley Learning Centre, to have such a wonderful space that is dedicated to enriching students’ lives through reading. I hope that students will use this space and learn to enjoy, engage, and appreciate the power of books and reading during their time at school and long after they have left too.

Please do contact me at: if you have any reading queries or you would like some reading recommendations for your child-or even yourself!