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World Book Day - high school headteachers reading books

Wise heads and author book a trip to school

High school heads from the across the borough met at Ellen Wilkinson School for Girls today (Thursday). They took time out of their busy schedules for World Book Day, to celebrate their love of reading.

“Reading is a significant part of our roles,” said Rachel Kruger, the headteacher at Ellen Wilkinson, which is in Acton. “We also need to be able to read fast and with comprehension, so we appreciate the teachers who took the time to teach us to read when we were at school.”

She explained how reading is firmly embedded in the curriculum at the school to such an extent that it was decided one day was simply not enough to celebrate World Book Day.

So, the school’s librarians, head of literacy and head of English, all worked together to run a week-long Reading Fest, including a visit from an author.

Students took part in a treasure hunt; had a competition against teachers; held ‘read-a-thons’ in English lessons; presented their own assemblies; and head of careers, Rebecca Gibson, took the opportunity to invite successful businesswomen from Penguin Books to talk to the students about careers in publishing.

The highlight of the week’s festivities was a visit from local author, Faye Bird.

Author Faye Bird signing her books at Ellen Wilkinson School for Girls
Author Faye Bird signing her books at Ellen Wilkinson School for Girls

Faye addressed Year 9 students and talked about the challenges she faced as an author. Later, Faye led a workshop for a group of Year 7s. During a book signing session, students then told Faye that they loved her stories and could easily identify with the modern-day problems they faced. Faye told the teachers that her original goal in going to the school was to inspire the students to read and compose their own stories; but, in actual fact, she said the students inspired her just as much. Faye said that the students greatly impressed her with their thoughtful questions, enthusiasm and willingness to share their ideas. She said: “I had a brilliant day with the students at The Ellen Wilkinson School. They were truly inspiring.”

Fellow novelist Sarah Holding works closely with the school throughout the year and, on World Book Day, the English department enjoyed dressing up as ‘cli-fi’ teenagers from Sarah Holding’s novel, Seabean. In fact, all the teachers got into the spirit and dressed up in a variety of costumes.

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