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Thinking and Learning Centre

Our Thinking and Learning Centre (TLC) provides first class learning support for students and staff at the academy.   The TLC is based on the second floor of the main building, providing stunning views of the academy’s greenfield site and a calm atmosphere conducive to study, research and a place to enjoy recreational reading. 

The TLC boasts an extensive range of fiction and non-fiction covering adventure, the animal kingdom, crime, fantasy, family history, humour, law, mystery, romance, science fiction, short stories, sports, geography, languages and, material for the burgeoning young adult.

We rotate our offering of literature on a regular basis and have several new titles this term.

Several PCs are available for use by students to create, research, access Show My Homework and Teams and to take further study. 

At St Marks we strive to enrich and contribute to the academic careers of all of our students, of course many of our face to face and contact activities are subject to COVID19 and government safety guidelines.  Once the opportunity arises to run an activity we will investigate all avenues to ensure that it can be done so safely.   

By the time students leave the academy, we want to ensure that they are ready to tackle life’s rich tapestry of opportunities and, most importantly, can draw upon their academic learning as well as drawing on the skills and foundations established by progressing through the year groups and in other areas of the academy, including the TLC.

Prior to COVID19 the Thinking and Learning Centre enjoyed a full day of activity, opening its doors to students, pre-coaching time at 8am, to catch up on homework and to prepare for the school day, closing at 5pm with year 11s utilising the space for independent study.

The TLC interacts with all areas and participants in the academy from expectant year 7s, established year 8s – 10s, teaching staff, the Senior Leadership Team to year 11s and 6th formers preparing to leave and take up their chosen fields of further learning or moving into the employment market.

A brand new 6th form reading area has been established showcasing recommended fiction, non-fiction and serial publications – the New Scientist and Time Magazine – to support further learning and we have recently updated our Careers support provision.

Our 4-strong team of 6th form volunteers are invaluable in keeping the TLC ticking over, taking on a range of jobs, including processing new literature, assisted reading with younger years, returning books to the shelves and, generally keeping the library operational and accessible.

‘Library-Lates’ in the TLC sees invited speakers coming into the academy to run workshops with the students and staff.    Our most recent offerings have included workshops and after school presentations with Yolanda Mercy, a London based actor and playwright, and with Poetess Jess, an urban-spoken word artist. .

In order to keep student ‘bubbles’ safely separate, we have introduced a COVID19 safe mobile library, visiting every year group on a fortnightly basis. Our statistics are indicating a significant increase in book loans and it is also amazing to see the anticipation and enthusiasm of the students when using the library trolley.

Working closely with Merton Council, the TLC has had the opportunity to pre-register key stage 3 students for library cards which can be used to access a wealth of free online resources and services including e-reading.

Always striving to keep interest in the library and reading for pleasure alive, we look forward to re-launching our Book Fairs which caused such a buzz within the student body in recent years and to launching similar initiatives including the Book Bus, where we can welcome a double-decker bus stocked with new reading material onto the academy’s site!

In-line with the shift of emphasis between hard copy and online reading, we have recently ‘spring cleaned’ our older non-fiction offering of books and will be looking at creative ways in which they can continue to be useful external to the academy.

Queries and ideas for how we can enhance our library provision can be directed to Maria Taylor, Learning and Resources Manager;