About us

Book Clubs in Schools (BCiS) takes the normal book club model and makes it suitable for schools. Book Clubbers read the same book, then discuss it in small weekly book clubs held during school time, facilitated by Book Club Leaders, who are older pupils.

Leaders receive training to help them lead a positive, constructive discussion where younger pupils can learn to formulate coherent critical thoughts, express diverging opinions and learn to argue and disagree with each other calmly and respectfully.

Leader training is supported by BCiS training manuals and bespoke discussion questions and activities.

BCiS give young people the opportunity to read for pleasure and develop character, communication and social skills.

See a Book Club in action.

Book Clubs in Schools was founded by Beth Ginsburg and Ali Palmer.

Ali brings her sense of humour and a practical approach to Book Clubs in Schools. She learnt her ‘get real’ attitude from working as an Account Director for Exhibitions and Publishing. Beth brings her enthusiasm and an American ‘can-do’ attitude to Book Clubs in Schools. Beth has worked in the not for profit world in research and project management.

Our Patron – Alex Wheatle

“I am proud to be named as Book Clubs in Schools’ patron because I spent some time in a similar facility to the Pupil Referral Units (PRU) that BCiS work with. As Creative Writing Lecturer of Children’s Writing at Manchester Met University, it’s great that the Manchester PRU is part of the pilot. I understand that some students can find it difficult to engage with reading and think it’s vitally important to publish more diverse fiction that engages and relates to students. I know first-hand that reading can also promote empathy, compassion and understanding of others, which is why the Book Clubs in Schools’ work resonates with me”

Our Trustees


Katy Whelan

Chair of Governors, WLFS

Katy Whelan (chair of trustees) is a senior business management professional with a background in financial services and education management. She spent 18 years in the corporate finance division of Deutsche Bank and is a qualified chartered accountant. She has held a number of non-executive board positions currently including the London Film Academy and DV8, a media studies college. She was previously chair of governors of the West London Free School, and is currently a governor at Portslade Aldridge Community Academy in Brighton.


Victoria Gray

Executive Director, Give a Book

Victoria Gray is the Executive Director of the charity Give a Book and is a Trustee of the Hawthornden Literary Retreat. In 2011, she founded Give a Book, which promotes books and the pleasure of reading in the hardest places such as prisons and with disadvantaged children and young people through the UK.


Alison Lambert

SVP Head of European Finance for Oxford Properties

Alison is a senior real estate executive in her position as SVP Head of European Finance for Oxford Properties. Alison is an active proponent of improving and promoting inclusion and diversity within the real estate industry. Alison is a champion of local causes and as such is the Treasurer of BCiS.


Rich Parkin

Partner, Arthur D. Little

Rich Parkin has spent the last 20 years advising organisations on strategy and transformation, as a partner at Booz & Company and now Arthur D. Little. As a Trustee he is focused on strategy and outcome measurement.


Caroline Reynolds

English Teacher

Caroline has been an English teacher at Southfields Academy for 11 years and her real passion is to spread the love of literacy around the school and the wider community.


Tony Smith

Global Head of Market Activation, Customer Experience, Ipsos

Tony Smith works for global marketing insights firm Ipsos. He is Global Head of Market Activation for the Customer Experience practice, advising clients around the world on how to deliver best in class service. As a BCiS trustee he advises on strategic direction, planning and operational issues.