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Joining us in September 2020? Our Library Team are looking forward to meeting you, they have put together a welcome newsletter with some exciting activities for students to take part in, including their poster competition


This week’s newsletter is out now...


Retweeted From Alban TSA

NQT Secondary Network now available to book for 2020-21 Four sessions across the year, Sept, Nov, Jan and March. First session to be delivered as a pre-recorded webinar. For further information and bookings:


Joining us in September 2020? Head over to our website to view Miss Marino’s transition video, providing helpful information to support students as they start at SJL this September


Brilliant performances - well done all!


Joining us in September 2020? Our transition activity booklet in now available on the school website, the booklet is a great resource to help form tutors get to know their new Year 7 students.


Wellbeing Wednesday: reactions


Retweeted From National Online Safety

Lockdown your personal info! 🔐👣 You wouldn’t share sensitive information with a stranger, so why do it online? This week’s guide provides tips for parents on protecting ‘Personal Data’ >>


Year 11 & 13 students - this may be of interest to you. Still awaiting clarification on some details however.


This week’s assembly was delivered to students by Mr Williams, with the theme ‘Looking Ahead’. As well as looking back over the past 14 weeks, students are encouraged to think about developments and what are they going to resolve to keep doing?


As Pride Month draws to a close, our amazing rainbow is a reminder of SJL community commitment with hundreds of signatures signing the SJL pledge


Retweeted From SJL PE Faculty


Retweeted From SJL PE Faculty

OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF VIRTUAL SPORTS DAY 🔴🟡🟢🟠⚪️🔵🟣 Please see instructions and following tweets outlining the events and how to enter! Entries and proof of participation to Mr Bloxham


Retweeted From SJLScience

James in 7L sent us this beautiful photo of poppies on Harpenden Common. They are beautiful!


Thought for the Week: Being brave and showing grit Word of the Week: Duc, duct


Retweeted From SJLScience

Some stunning strawberries and raspberries growing in our eco garden! ?


Retweeted From SJLdrama

I absolutely love the detail that has gone into this set design for the End of KS3 Drama Project. Well done, Scarlett in Y8! 🎭


Year 9 timetables have now been issued, they are also available on the Documents tab of your EduLink account. Please make sure your child has a copy of their timetable with them when they are in school.


Joining us in September 2020? Our Yr 7 team are busy working on your induction plan. SJL are proud that we have always set aside the first week as an induction for Yr 7 students. Our Library Taster session originally scheduled for 6 July, will now be part of that induction.


SJL Wellbeing Week: Take Notice During lockdown many of us had to stop, but as restrictions are eased remember to pause and take a moment to notice what is beautiful or unusual in the world


This week’s newsletter is out now...


Retweeted From SJLScience

Always a fun game to play! Except there is not a cloud in the sky today


SJL Wellbeing Week: Keep Learning Learning new things can build your confidence as well as being fun. Set challenges to see what you can achieve


Retweeted From Herts School Games

Fab stuff from 🙌 solid entry from for the KS3 Competition


Congratulations everyone who took part


Important message for Y9 parents has been sent via EduLink, please check your email for details.


Joining September 2020? We cannot wait to welcome you through our doors, until then visit our website for a mini virtual tour of Sir John Lawes School


Wellbeing Wednesday: set goals


SJL Wellbeing Week: Be Active Being active is about having fun. Spend time doing things you enjoy


Joining us in September? Welcome from Ms Marino, Head of Year 7 2020 available on school website now


SJL Wellbeing Week: Connect Think about connections around you, lots of us have been building stronger relationships with our local communities. Maintain those connections to increase happiness and self-worth


Retweeted From SJLdrama

SUPER excited to welcome Year 12 back into the Drama space this morning 🎭


Welcome to what should be Wellbeing Week at SJL. Today we're highlighting GIVE from the Take 5 theme. Use this week to find new ways to give: make that extra phone call; add something to a food bank box... take a moment to think of others, reap the benefits


Year 6, joining us in September? Look out for your welcome assembly. Link issued via Edulink. If you have any problems logging in to Edulink, please contact


Thought for the Week: Aiming for a happy life Word of the Week: Dict, dic


Joining us in September? From next week keep an eye out for a whole range of materials to help you get ready! Make sure you have set up your Edulink account so you don't miss anything!


Retweeted From SJL PE Faculty

Well done to all who entered in the virtual pentathlon. Fantastic performances, the top 4 results for each age group go though to be compared at district level. Details of qualifying performances can be found on SMHW noticeboard . Congratulations all!


Do not forget to submit your entries for this year’s summer concert to Mrs Hastings-Clarke. Closing date Friday, 26 June (next week)


Retweeted From SJL PE Faculty

🚨SJL PE Department are now on Instagram 🚨 Give us a follow!


This week’s newsletter out now...



The SJL library is a real hub of the school. Competitions, reading challenges and library parties make literacy a key focus. Information skills are critical for independent learning and research, so the librarian runs classes to promote and develop these skills. The ethos is to provide both print and electronic resources together with a welcoming and calm environment to support reading for pleasure, homework and independent study.

The library is open from 8.40am – 5.00pm and is run by our librarian Mrs M Prickett and the other members of our library team who provide a wide range of resources, information, activities and support for students in all year groups. We are also helped by our student librarians who run the issue desk at breaks and lunchtimes and by our parent volunteers.

The school has invested in the library, with a major refurbishment in summer 2014, including a new library system which includes e-book loans, reading lists, a subscription to quality controlled websites for schools and integrated (federated) searching of electronic resources.

The physical library

Books and DVDs

The library has a spacious area which holds 16,000 books. Fiction is organised in separate children’s/young adult and adult sections.  Some is arranged by author and other stock by genre to encourage browsing. Spinners provide quick/easy reads.

Non-fiction or information books are bought to support the curriculum and to complement what is available electronically, often with the advantage of books being targeted at a particular key stage group. Non-fiction is arranged by subject, using the most well-known library system – Dewey.

DVDs based on books are bought together with factual DVDs to support the curriculum.

‘New books’ are displayed in the library and also on the catalogue home page. Students are encouraged to make suggestions of books that they would like us to buy.

Study space

Our newly refurbished library has study tables and chairs for independent and small group study. There is comfortable seating beside the newspapers, magazines, and other resources which are popular at break and lunchtimes, for example graphic novels.

The library has 39 computers, of which 30 are in the library computer room, together with 2 printers.   This room is used for independent study, classes and homework club.

There is a quiet study room which also holds a range of careers books, leaflets and university prospectuses.

The library catalogue

The library catalogue - my portal and the library app

The catalogue

All resources are searched for on the library catalogue:

  • through dedicated catalogue terminals in the library,
  • on the desktop of all PCs in school,
  • at home, through the school website,
  • using an app, on a mobile or ipad.

The catalogue includes books, e-books, DVDs, websites, and access to search a range of electronic resources available on subscription.

The catalogue also has book reviews written by students and reading lists.

My Portal

Students are given an individual login which corresponds to their library card. This gives access to their Portal and enables them to:

  • Search the catalogue
  • Check library loans
  • Renew items
  • Make a reservation for an item which is on loan
  • Write a book review
  • Read and borrow an e-book

Instructions on how to set up your portal

Library Link

This is the library app. Using the app, students can do the same things as through their portal, with the convenience of access through their mobile or ipad.

Instructions on how to to set up your app

Borrowing books and DVDs

All students are given a library card when they join the school and set up their own portal on the library system.  They can borrow four books and one DVD for two weeks by bringing them with their ticket to the counter.  After two weeks they can then renew them if no one else wants them.

They may 'borrow' e-books to read online or download them to a range of personal devices.

Electronic books, journals and databases

Our collection of e-books includes some popular fiction authors as well as non-fiction. The system provides instructions for downloading books to ‘borrow’ using digital rights software for laptops, PCs and mobile devices.

The electronic journals and databases are particularly targeted at older students, but are available for all to use. SJL has a selection to cover the range of curriculum subjects. The literary reference centre is available to search as a combined (federated) search with our book stock and the other resources may be accessed from the library system home page.

  • Complete Issues
  • Geography in the news
  • Issues Online
  • Literary Reference Centre
  • New Scientist Archive
  • Newspaper database
  • Philip Allan Journals

Challenges, competitions and activities

Challenges and competitions

There are a variety of challenges and competitions for students.

The BIG Challenge

Every other year we challenge you to try to read as many books as you can in one year. In 2012, 39 students, staff and governors completed our gold award by reading 52 books.  Another 10 achieved bronze or silver.

Year 8 M25 Challenge

This is for Year 8 students. You go on a virtual journey around the M25. The idea is to read five books especially selected for YOU to encourage you to read a variety of different and challenging books. There are prizes at the end for those who finish the challenge and write good reviews.

Extreme Reading

Come back from your summer holiday with a photo of you reading in some ‘extreme’ situation. Don’t do anything really dangerous!


SJL did Readathon in 2011. It is a national sponsored read in aid of selected charities for sick children. SJL raised over £1,000..


Reading groups

Reading is a very popular pastime for SJL students and we have a number of Reading Groups.

Junior Reading Group for Years 7, 8 and 9

Meets every Tuesday in the Library.

In some meetings we do activities such as researching books and author sites and doing quizzes. In other meetings we read and discuss books.

Children's book awards

Students can sign up to be a Red House judge or a Sir John's Shadower.  They read and write reviews for shortlisted books and then we hold an SJL event to promote these titles and the SJL favourites

Senior Reading Group for Years 11, 12 and 13

Meets once a month in SF2 at 13.00 to discuss a title the group has chosen.

Homework Club

When is Homework Club open?

Homework Club is open every night after school, from 3.30-5.00pm. Just drop in; you do not need to book.

Where is Homework Club?

Homework club is in the library and resources centre.

Who will help me with my homework?

Our library assistant or our teaching assistant.

Do I have to do homework?

No, you do not have to do homework. You can come to read, chat or use the computers but we give priority in using computers to students who are doing homework.

Ideas for reading

Browse SJL library catalogue:


Or try one of these sites:

Achuka Children's Books

Lively and interesting site about children's books and authors:

Reading Matters

Includes Bookchooses, to help you pick books you will enjoy:

Love Reading

Lots of book lists: 

Hertfordshire County Library

Search the County Library catalogue

Amazon Books


The Guardian

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