Summer news from the Curriculum Centre

Over the summer holidays, in what’s usually a slightly quieter time here, we’ve been busy with visits, weeding (!) and staff changes.

Here’s a round-up of what’s been happening

U.S.A. students visit the Curriculum Centre

Illinois State University students in the Curriculum Centre Illinois State University students in the Curriculum Centre

This week, we were delighted to show students from Illinois State University around the Centre. Here in the UK as part of the Student Teacher Summer School, a four week summer programme, the student teachers have been visiting several schools in the local area and Mary Jones from the Study Abroad Office was keen for the students to get a taste of what the Curriculum Centre offers our own students.

Happy smiles all round from the US students as we showed them the wide variety of resources in the Centre, including fairy tale revisions, maths shape and number games, books that are diverse and inclusive for Primary School pupils as well as our creativity resources for use in the Centre. The students felt the Centre was amazing and ‘gorgeous’ as well as a great resource that they don’t have an equivalent of back at their own university. Any time Illinois State U needs the advice of the Centre staff on how to create their own Curriculum Centre, let us know, we’re always ready for a trip abroad 😉

Changes in the Centre

Mandy’s retired

Our incredible Centre Coordinator, Mandy Williams, retired in June, having worked for the University for over 30 years. Over that time, Mandy shaped the Curriculum Centre to how you see it today, packed full with useful resources and she was the font of all knowledge when it came to Maths and Science. Mandy is much missed but we know she’s thoroughly enjoying her retirement, with big hiking plans across the UK. The Centre is now staffed by the dynamic duo of Becky Priestley-Leach, Senior Learning Resources Assistant and English and children’s literature expert, and Suse Bentley, Learning Resources Assistant, systems and Humanities expert – do pop in to see us in the new academic year.

New academic year and opening hours

Our opening hours in the new academic year 22/23 will be Mondays to Fridays, 8:30am to 4pm and yes, you can bring your lunch in with you while you’re using the Centre as long as you recycle/clear up afterwards.

How we issue resources

Our final change news! Students are allowed to take out resources for 2 hours for use in Checkland classes and we supply lecturers with boxes of resources for use in classes. So that we can keep track of where things are going, all resources are now issued using our cataloguing system. In the words of the great Miranda, please bear with us in September with this new way of working.

Keeping our resources up to date for you

Having been closed at times during the 2020-21 academic year, we’ve had a lot of resources that are no longer current or useful for School of Ed students and staff. Here in the Curriculum Centre, we aim for our resources to be as up to date and useful for you as possible as well as increasing our focus on diversity, inclusion and global sustainability issues. To help that happen, we invited subject teams in over the summer to go through their subject shelves and weed!

Weeding in a library sadly doesn’t involve trowels and mud but it does involve big pedagogical and, at times, philosophical debates amongst the staff over what should stay on the shelves, what can be archived and what is no longer needed at all so can go to Book Rescuers, a fab organisation who works with educational charities around the world. The School has had some new staff start in the last two years so weeding has also given them a great chance to see exactly what the Curriculum Centre can offer their students and themselves!

Closure dates

This week is our last week open until Monday 5th September. With a combination of stock-taking, shelf organisation, maintenance and holiday/bank holiday time, the Curriculum Centre will be closed to all staff and students from Monday 1st August until Friday 2nd September (inclusive of those dates) and we will be reopening on Monday 5th September. The languages skills hub side of the Open Learning Centre will still be open at times BUT we ask that you don’t use any of the study spaces/tables nor remove anything from the Curriculum Centre during our closure dates. We’ll be welcoming you all back from Monday 5th September.

Book Displays

Curriculum Centre books displayBecky regularly puts together book displays just inside the entrance to the Curriculum Centre and her recent display for World Ocean Day had some great books we recommend to you.

  Anglerfish the Seadevil of the Deep by Elaine M. Alexander and illustrated by Fiona Fogg

With additional information at the back of the book and beautifully illustrated, this Read and Wonder series book tells you all about one of the weirdest looking fish in the world.


Narwhal the Arctic unicorn by Justin Anderson and illustrated by Jo Weaver

Another beautifully illustrated book in Walker Books’ Read and Wonder series, this book includes further information about the future of this very weird but wondrous mammal. (Honestly, I love Narwhals! Whales of all kinds! You can livestream Beluga Whales migrating during the summer months with Polar Bear International’s livecam.)


  The Lost Whale by Hannah Gold

Still on the whale theme, this new fiction book sees a lonely boy called Rio follow White Beak, a ‘gentle giant of the sea’.



Stella and the seagull : You’re never too small to make a difference by Georgina Stevens and illustrated by Izzy Burton

Shortlisted for the FCBG children’s book award, 2022, this book tells the tale of environmental justice, plastic and its effects on seabirds and how everyone can make a difference.


A sea voyage : a pop-up story about all sorts of boats by Gerard lo Monaco

Not your average pop-up book, this book is packed with information about lightships, tall ships, ocean liners and more.


Alphabravo, Charlie : the complete book of nautical codes by Sara Gillingham

Living by the sea, you never know when a signal flag or morse code might be handy! This book has every flag and code you could ever need on the high seas. I particularly like the Quebec flag meaning ‘my vessel is healthy and I request free pratique’ and the Papa flag meaning ‘my nets have come fast upon an obstruction!’


That’s all our summer news! See you all from Monday 5th September!








One thought on “Summer news from the Curriculum Centre

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *