Recognising Achievement for Library-based Activities – The Youth Achievement Award

The school library has a long history of providing structured activities for pupils to do in their leisure time (eg. Pupil Librarian Training, special events such as Poetry readings / story telling and role-playing games activities, Manga club) and now they can use these activities to work towards recognised qualifications in a pilot project which allow pupils to work towards a Dynamic Youth or Youth Achievement Award.

With the Community Learning Officer (OIC), and Deputy Head, Mrs Sinclair, the School Librarian has took on the role of ‘Award Group Worker’ to oversee the pupils undertaking the awards during a pilot profject 2010-12. Two pupils successfully gained their bronze YA earlier this year and the awards have been rolled out across the school with a number of other staff training for and taking on the role of Award Group Worker. Dynamic Youth Awards have now also been introduced.

Dynamic Youth Awards give recognition and accreditation for your achievements in challenges young people set themselves during activities they choose to be involved in both in and out of school. It is aimed at young people who are aged between 10 and 14 years old

 DYA is based around a star rating system based on the number of cumulative hours done.              

*5-15hrs           **16 – 30hrs           ***over 30hrs

 Up to  30hrs can be used as ‘prior learning’ and can count towards the Bronze Youth Achievement Award with each 15 hour DYA challenge equalling ONE Youth Achievement Award Challenge. 

The Youth Achievement Award, aimed at ages 14+, has four levels and each level provides an award equivalent to SQA qualifications for which pupils have to carry out a number of peer assessed challenges of their choice, producing a portfolio of evidence which can include photos of the activity, logbooks, diaries, witness observations, plans, records of attendance, certificates, to name but a few.

  • Bronze – takes part in activities: Four 15-hour challenges / equivalent to General level Standard Grade
  • Silver – helps to organise activities: Six 15-hour challenges / equivalent to Credit level Standard Grade
  • Gold –  plans, organises and leads activities: Seven 15-hour challenges / equivalent to Higher
  • Platinum – takes on a leadership role: 135 hours participation / Advanced Higher


Both awards work on a plan,do, review with the pupils discussing ideas with their peers and Award Group Worker and set out their own challenges and create a set of targets to achieve to complete the challenge. These awards are pupil led and they need to show responsibility and have the motivation to carryout the challenges and produce the evidence they need with minimal input from the Award Group Worker who acts in a supporting role. Peer assessment is also part of the awards and is carried out prior to portfolios being internally moderated, then sent away for external moderation.

Any activity (in or out of school) can be used as long as the pupil can prove that theyhave done it by collecting evidence (logbooks, photographs, hours sheets, certificates, witness statements, etc). All library-based activities are eligible to be used for DYA (and YAA) and can be used in part or whole towards either award.

Further information can be obtained from Mrs Sinclair in the Library.

Hit the Ground Running

We are now into our third week back after the summer holidays and it doesn’t really feel like we have stopped ‘running’ since the first day. Everyone has got back into the way of work, study and learning as far as I am aware. The usual library activities have started, both leisure and academic.

S1 and S2 Library & Information Literacy Skills courses are well underway and taking up lots of time but are certainly proving to be enjoyable from this Librarian’s point of view and I do hope the pupils (and staff) are getting something out of them too. We will be covering everything from behaviour expectations, how to choose and borrow books, Dewey Numbers, Alphabetical Order, fiction & non-fiction books, various games to reinforce library skills, reading records, reading skills such as scanning and skimming, getting to know the reference section, learning about Glow (the Scottish intranet for education), using journals, using the internet, note taking… to name but a few.

The first research classes have now been booked into the library and are coming from S2 Geography to research earth forces. Book displays that relate to this are up and more resources will be borrowed from the Orkney Library to support the 3 week project.

Friday afternoon activities have started with two separate ones being run in the library. One of our 5th year students is running an Animé & Manga Club in the upper library for a small group of around 6 pupils. They will be watchingand discussing  Animé films and Manga novels and even having a go at learning to draw Manga.

In the lower library, the Role Playing Games group of 10 pupils will be playing Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) or Magic the Gathering (MtG). 6th year students are helping out with this so this Librarian may well get a chance to play a  D&D character rather than be Dungeon Master… now to think on what type of character I will play (Muahhaha)!

Tuesday after school activities got off to a slow start this week… where were you all? Hopefully more folks will turn up next week to play either D&D or MtG and of course, the library is also available until 4.30pm Tuesdays for anyone wishing to use the computers, read, study, do homeowrk, chill…

Lunchtime proves to be popular (no doubt it will be especially so today due to the fact in is pouring down outside) with pupils ‘chilling’, using computers for games, playing MtG, reading or maybe even doing school work – remember school work will always get priotiry over leisure use on the PCs! Must remember to get the board games out so folks can play chess or draughts at lunchtimes.

An eager six S2 pupils (all boys this time round) join me every morning before registration to help in the library, shelving, and shelf tidying. They will now go on to train to be Pupil Library Monitors. Three 5th year Pupil Librarians will be helping to ‘train’ them. In the process the younger ones will be doing Dynamic Youth Awards (some of the hours of which can be counted towards the Bronze Youth Achievement Award),  whilst the senior pupils have expressed an interest in doing their Silver Youth Achievement Awards. These are a great way to give recognition (and qualifications) to the pupils’ work they do in helping with library duties. Two of the S5 pupils have already gained their Bronze YAA which is the equivalent of a Standard Grade at General Level, by taking part in library-based activities.

So it is proving to be as busy as ever… now to get on with all the book ordering, shelving, shelf tidying, book processing, cataloguing, development work, newsletter writing, filing, website development, Glow development, Pupil Librarian training, meetings, staff liaison…. the list could go on but despite all the work and pressures of running a school library and always multitasking, often being interrupted, etc, I wouldn’t have it any other way – it is more of a passion than a career. FS