News School support staff

Branch members’ Writefest success

Writefest planning group

The branch is delighted to report on Writefest, an annual event organised by four qualified librarians, Carol Mitchell (Network Librarian Portlethen Academy), Jan Murdoch (Network Librarian Ellon Academy), Pearl Morrison (Network Librarian Fraserburgh Academy) and Jane Brebner (Young People Services Librarian), all of whom are Aberdeenshire UNISON members.

Carol explains, “The target audience is Advanced Higher English students and this event gives them access to professional writers and a university level experience over a whole day.  The Scottish Book Trust has supported this event since its inception and continues to do so.  The added value this event provides is widely recognised by our teaching staff colleagues.

“This year Writefest was a landmark event for several reasons; not only did it take place during a Global Pandemic; it was further challenged by massive budget restrictions and an everchanging landscape.  However, given that it was the 20th anniversary of the event, the dedicated working group were determined to run it no matter what.

“This entailed transferring the event from a physical day at Aberdeen University to a virtual LIVE online event, hosted in each secondary school across Aberdeenshire.  A further challenge we faced, was the withdrawal of matched funding from the Library Service due to budget restrictions.  We tentatively approached the English PSG to ask if they would be willing to step in and breathed a huge sigh of relief when they replied that they were more than happy to fund the event.

“At that point, with everything in place, we contacted Jim McLean; Education Support Officer, to give us the technical support we would need to run the event successfully. He was very generous in the time and support he gave us, both on the run-up and during the event itself, and we can’t thank him enough.

“The day of reckoning finally arrived, Wed 7th October. To be honest, we were all slightly fearful of the outcome. However, our authors were fantastic and provided interactive workshops allowing our AH English students to glean a variety of practical strategies which they could readily employ to enhance their own pieces of assessed work.  The day went extremely well and the feedback from all involved has been superb.

“One S6 girl said, “It was the highlight of my year.”

“Job done!!”

Congratulations to our librarian members on an excellent event and a great success.