Saint Benedict Reads

Reading for pleasure is regarded as very important for the developing child.

To support this, Saint Benedict has a high quality library stocked with over 20,000 books to appeal to students with a broad range of interests and abilities.

We pride ourselves in stocking all the latest children’s fiction, including long-established favourites such as Percy Jackson, Tom Gates and Jacqueline Wilson, but also a wide range of contemporary Young Adult novels, Manga, Graphic novels and books by authors that reflect the diversity of our school community. The library is open throughout the school day, and a homework club operates on a Monday evening.

Library Initiatives and Activities

Reading Buddies

Reading is without doubt one of the most important skills we need, and pupils who develop a love of reading are more able to communicate effectively, write confidently and flourish academically.  Reading buddies runs once a week, during form time in the library, to support our students in Years 7 and 8 with their reading.  Each reader is assigned a sixth form buddy, who will listen to them read out loud.  Not only is this a valuable confidence building activity for the reader, it is also a rewarding opportunity for the buddy, enabling them to give back to the school community.

Links with Derby Book Festival

The school librarian sits on the education panel for the Derby Book Festival, enabling students to participate in the many activities they offer throughout the year.

Derby Book Festival Flash Fiction

Each year, students are given the opportunity to write an original short story or poem in 50 words or less on a different theme. This year’s theme was ‘Light,’ and our students embraced this opportunity contributing to over 550 entries the Book Festival received from across the city, so competition was strong.

Congratulations to Maria Rowlands Year 7, who is the 2023 Derby Book Festival Flash Fiction Competition Winner, in the 12-17 years age category.  Maria wins a £50 book token and the opportunity to get her winning poem published on a bookmark and distributed to the public during this year’s festival.

Read the full article here


by Maria Rowlands, Year 7

Is it a feeling? An emotion? An object?

I’ll tell you.

It’s when you understand Pythagoras;

When people like you for who you are;

When your sibling comes running to you at the end of the day.

It’s when you feel loved, respected.

This is light: indescribable yet perfect.

The Light in the Dark

by Asiya Ahmed, Year 8

The light stretched out across the abyss. It brought hope.

The light stretched out across the Earth. It brought life.

The light stretched out across the desert. It brought water.

The light stretched out across the grief. It brought hope.

The light stretched across darkness.

Author Events

In conjunction with Derby Book Festival, we have been involved in a number of live and online author visits from prominent authors including Patrice Lawrence, Christopher Edge and David Solomons. In 2022, we hosted a Zoom event with Sarah Crossan, who was interviewed by our very own Mrs Peden, whilst the event was broadcasted live to Derby City schools. This year, two of our students will make up part of the panel interviewing world renowned author John Boyne, about his book, )The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’.

World Poetry Day and Poetry by Heart

The ‘Poetry by Heart’ initiative gave students the opportunity to see and listen to their teachers being passionate, enthusiastic and celebrating poetry, showing that yes – reading can be fun if we allow it to be. To go hand in hand with this and ‘World Poetry Day,’ students had the opportunity to participate in a competition on the theme of Refuge, with the chance to win a book token.  We have enjoyed reading their work and look forward to choosing a winner.  Here’s a couple of fantastic entries!

Immigrant Parents

by Haleema Kayani  Year 10

My immigrant parents are ones who inspire,

their patience, their will, I honestly admire.

To start afresh, leave everything behind,

a better life for their child, the only thing on their mind.


Their family, their friends, their life back home,

was suddenly on the other side of the globe.

Their culture, their clothes, the list goes on…

was now laughed at, and looked down upon.


Making sense of the new systems and way of living,

with everyone’s attitudes being anything but giving.

Stares and scoffs from every corner they turned,

people aren’t as nice here, they eventually learned.


Months and months slowly passed by,

and the anxiety of going out slowly died.

Those stares now were returned with smiles,

and friends were picked up which made it worth the while.


As the next plane from Pakistan starts to land,

the cycle continues, as if it were planned.

The racism, the prejudice, the scoffs and stares,

surely we can’t leave them feeling that nobody cares?

My Only Refuge

By Anum Irfan

They are always watching

They are always listening

But they cannot see my memories

They cannot hear their voices,

Their secret whispers and jokes I long to share

They have taken everything away from me

But they will never take my memories

They have broken my spirits, my morale

But they will never break through

The barricades of my brain

They will never take my mind

My only refuge, the one part of me

That will be always be mine.

We Are Writers

We Are Writers

Saint Benedict CVA has been producing our very own, ‘We Are Writers’ book for many years and 2023’s book was launched on World Book Day and will be even bigger and better, with the library, English and Art Departments working collaboratively.  In Art, students in Years 7-9 were able to design the cover, in a competition open to all students. The winning entry will have their design featured on the cover and will receive a complimentary copy.  The standard of previous competition winners has been amazing, with one design chosen to advertise the ‘We Are Writers’ project nationally.

Will this be this year’s winning design?

It’s up to our staff and students to decide the cover from the shortlisted entries, with online voting open to our whole school community.

WE Are Writers by Tracey Burrell

Students will also have the opportunity to produce a piece of creative writing based on our mission statement, ‘Be who God meant you to be and you will set the word on fire,’ and entries will contribute to the book.

Later in the year, there will be an opportunity to purchase the book, which is also filled with stories, poetry and interesting insights into the life and mind of a teenager. It is a valuable keepsake, allowing students to look back and reflect upon their writing in years to come.

This me

by Bianka Valantine, Year 7

I am from a community,

a community of mixed emotions,

that change like the seasons.


I am from a family,

from a family of love and hatred,

we share and argue like everyone else,

we are different on the outside

and the same on the inside.


This is me!

I am not enough

by Eleanora Pereira, Year 8

I am not enough

And I wouldn’t dare to believe that

I am destined for greatness

and I know

I am not perfect

and never do I feel that

I love the food of my country

I hate myself

and never do I say

I love my skin

I am not beautiful

And never do I think

“I am proud of who I am”



Predator and Prey

by Ruby Wilcockson, Year 10

Book Fairs


We understand how important it is for children to own their own books and are aware of the recent findings by the National Literacy Trust that almost a third of children who receive FSMs have less than 10 books at home, compared with 20% of their peers.  To give pupils the opportunity to have their own books to keep, we offer termly fifty pence books sales, book swaps, plus the opportunity to buy newly released fiction from Scholastic Book Fairs.  During our summer fair, we also sell our ‘We Are Writers’ book, raising valuable commission for the school library.


Sixth Form Purchases

There is always something for everyone!!