On Friday 22nd of November as part of Book Week Scotland, staff at Cumnock Academy were invited to attend a lunchtime Books and Banter event. Organised by EIS Learning Rep Eleanor Ness, and with funding for the lunch from Scottish Union Learning, the staff provided the banter about favourite books.
Book Week Scotland is an opportunity to focus on the role that reading plays in self-development and professional learning, for learners of all ages and stages of their career. The theme for 2019 - 'Blether' - reminds us that reading is not just a solitary pursuit, but one that can connect us with colleagues and friends through stories and new ideas.
Holding a Book Week event for staff in the school was also an opportunity to link professional learning to mutual support and a sense of collegality. Mrs Graham of the Home Economics department cooked up a storm with the help of her pupils in the morning and Miss Ness the EIS Learning Rep provided some terrible book puns that set the tone of the light-hearted event. A survey of preferred food items had been set up to let Mrs Graham know what foods to prepare and there was a selection of hot and cold items with "red, rose or white" Shloer. The spicy chicken and rice was especially popular. The array of food was impressive and very welcome.
EIS Learning Rep, Eleanor Ness, said 'The event was a timely reminder to everyone that reading books for pleasure and having friendly conversations with colleagues instead of doing "just a bit more marking or preparation" in your own time can improve work quality when you get back to it and increase staff well-being and morale. The link was made with the EIS campaign to take weekends back with posters at each table.
'We are particularly happy that classroom assistants, class teachers, heads of department and people from the Senior Leadership team all came and enjoyed themselves. Around twenty people came along for the live event. Surplus food was shared with other members of staff who hasn't quite managed to make it to the conference centre, due to lunch clubs etc., so no-one was left out and nothing was wasted.'