Monday 16 June 2008

Children Behaving Well

I completed two more school visits last week, both of them secondary. One was in Stockport and one in Pontefract, so reasonably local to me in the north of England.

The children at the Stockport School, the Werneth High School were very lively. Nikki Heath, the school librarian had arranged it all. As I drove into the car park, I noticed a banner congratulating Nikki on being voted school librarian of the year. Once I’d met her, I could see why. She is so committed, energetic and apparently tireless.

The library at that school was absolute buzzing when I arrived and it got even busier as we went into break. Nikki had assembled a group of 35 Y8s and Y9s. They were all interested in reading and writing, but weren’t necessarily the brightest students in the school. We were also aided by one of Nikki’s Y11s. I did ask myself whether this was going to be a particularly easy talk, given the liveliness of the children. I needn’t have worried. As soon as I started talking, there was absolute silence. The students remained engaged for the complete two hours. I did my Character Magic exercise again. There was no reluctance to read out work at the end. The children’s character scenes were delightful. Nikki tells me how much they all enjoyed the workshop.

The Pontefract School, the Hemsworth Arts and Community College, was enormous. I saw two Y7 classes there. The talks came out slightly different to each group, which is not unusual. The second group asked hardly any questions, but we did get into an interesting “what if” conversation, with the students’ imagination, and mine, running wild. Their behaviour was impeccable. Their teacher, bright, young and enthusiastic, but nevertheless strict did deal with a couple of children I’d hardly noticed breath.

I have another primary visit today. Apparently there will be an Ofsted inspector there. Well, it won’t be the first time.

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