DGS Library is a vibrant and stimulating space which is used regularly both for research and independent studying, as well as for relaxed and enjoyable reading. It is a welcoming and safe environment used by the whole school community on a daily basis, for teaching, learning and academic achievement.

Follow the DGS Library on Twitter for exciting updates about library events and all-things books!

World Book Day

WBD costumesDGS students didn’t let the cold weather dampen their creative spirit for today’s World Book Day. A number of students spent the day dressed as their favourite book character, drawing inspiration from classics such as ‘Harry Potter’, ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and ‘Mary Poppins’ to name just a few.

At lunch time, the library was packed with audience members and performers for our first ever Poetry and Song-writing Competition. Participants were free to write a poem, verse or song, the only condition being that it be written from the point of view of a book character. Our Patron of Reading, Jo Cotterill, came in to school on 20th February to work with students on their lyric and music writing, in preparation for the competition. The range of entries was incredible, including  a two-piece performance from the point of view of Voldemort that featured epic rap sections, and a heart-felt piano-accompanied song written from the perspective of the lead character in Jo Cotterill’s ‘Looking at the Stars’. Our Patron of Writing, Elaine Baker, was here to judge the entries, and was thrilled with both the turnout to the event, and the extraordinary talent and confidence the performers displayed. She now faces the challenge of deciding on a winner!

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Many thanks to Jo, Elaine, and Mr Dingley, as well as all the students who took part.

Pam Smy Visit

PamOn Thursday 8th March, we will be welcoming illustrator and author, Pam Smy, to DGS. She will be talking with the whole of Year 8, as well as running a workshop for selected students. As part of her visit, copies of her book 'Thornhill' will be available to buy from the library at lunch time for the reduced price of £10.49. Students will also have the opportunity to meet Pam and get the books signed by her!

ThornhillIf your daughter would like to buy a copy of 'Thornhill', please complete the order form at the bottom of the letter below, and return it to Mrs Barnes in the library with the correct payment. Books can be purchased on the day, but ordering in advance will aid organisation and ensure students receive their copy promptly.




 Song-writing workshop with Jo Cotterill

Jo Cotterill Songwriting 2On Tuesday 20th February, students from Years 7, 8 and 10 took part in a song-writing workshop with Jo Cotterill, our Patron of Reading. Inspired by the protagonist in Jo’s latest book, Jelly, the students spent the first half of the two-hour workshop writing lyrics from the point of view of a book character. They then spent the second half turning these into songs that incorporated keyboards, guitars, and some very talented singers. This was the first time Jo has used music in her writing workshops, and it was a great success. The students are being encouraged to perform their pieces at the DGS Poetry and Song-writing Competition taking place on Thursday 1st March, in celebration of World Book Day. Participating students will come to Cockcroft Hall at lunchtime to have their entries judged by our Patron of Writing, Elaine Baker. We can’t wait to hear the songs in all their glory! Thank you to Jo, and to Mr Dingley, for making this fantastic event happen.

Jo Cotterill Songwriting 3

DGS Poetry and Song-writing competition

We are excited to announce the first DGS Poetry and Song-writing Competition! Take a look at the video below for an introduction from our Patron of Reading, Jo Cotterill.

The closing date for the competition is Thursday 1st March - World Book Day - when students will perform their entries to our Patron of Writing, Elaine Baker, at a lunchtime event in Cockcroft Hall. Entries can take the form of poetry, lyrics set to music, or a whole song, and should be written from the point of view of a book character.

We are also offering students the opportunity to take part in a song-writing workshop with Jo Cotterill and Mr Dingley on Tuesday 20th February, in which they will work on their entries. For more information, pick up a letter from Mrs Barnes or Mr Dingley.

Best of luck to you all - we are looking forward to seeing your entries!

Patron of Reading: Jo Cotterill

Take a look at the video below for an introduction to our Patron of Reading, Jo Cotterill!

Hello, DGS! I am VERY excited to be your Patron of Reading 2016-2019! I'm looking forward to meeting lots of you and hearing about the books you love/hate/want to climb inside as well as all your brilliant ideas for stories and characters. I'll be coming in for events every now and then, and also to recommend books to you that I've read and loved.

I've been publishing books for children since 2004 and now have over 25 to my name. I used to be an actor and then a teacher (GCSE English in an Oxford school!) but now I write full-time at home in Kidlington. I went to an all-girls school myself, so the environment at DGS feels very familiar and homely. My latest books are the Electrigirl series (about a female superhero, partly told through comic strip) and A Library of Lemons, a story about a girl who loves books and discovers friendship. I've also won some awards for my novel Looking at the Stars, which is about a girl who loves to make up stories and realises that her imagination is the best asset she could have as a refugee.

When I'm not writing, I write songs for my band First Draft (three children's authors and one bookseller) which performs occasionally at book and music festivals. I also love crafts, especially card-making, and spend far too much money in Hobbycraft. Do come and say hi if you see me around school!

Read more about Jo and her books

Discover Jo's books in the DGS library

Take a look at the video of Jo announcing the winners of her t-shirt design competition!

Patron of Writing: Elaine Baker

As our brand new DGS Patron of Writing, Elaine Baker will be working alongside students and staff next year to inspire and stimulate creative writing across the school, as well as to promote the writing profession as a potential future career pathway for students.

Elaine has been a story writer since the age of around six years old. She has always had a particular passion for poetry and after studying creative writing with the Open University in 2009, began submitting work for publication. In the last five years, she has had continued success with publication and has recently been working on her first poetry collection. She is currently a poetry Masters student at The Poetry School, London and has read her work at the Troubadour Cellar Club, London. You can read more about Elaine’s work on her website, and follow her poetic reflections and #poetweets over the summer on Twitter @kitespotter.

Elaine is delighted to be taking on the role of Patron of Writing at DGS and is very much looking forward to: getting creative and wordy with Year 9 and 10 students in writing workshops in English lessons; mentoring a small group of Year 9 and 10s throughout the year and supporting them in creating their own work; leading a session for some of our Year 7 and 8 Advanced Learners; tailoring and running a special session for Sixth Form and, alongside the students, putting together a celebration of all things wordy in DGS’ very first Word Week, in term 6 next year. We also look forward to Elaine working alongside Jo Cotterill, DGS’ Patron of Reading to celebrate reading and writing for pleasure throughout our school community.

A final heads-up for students: watch out for the upcoming student Poet Laureate opportunity, which our new Patron of Writing will be unveiling when you all return from the summer break!


Page Downloads Date  
Recommended Reading for Year 7 04th Aug 2017 Download
Recommended Reading for Years 8 9 04th Aug 2017 Download
Challenging Texts Differentiated Reading... 25th Sep 2017 Download
Pam Smy March visit letter 22nd Feb 2018 Download
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