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My Visit to Stivichall Primary School

Submitted by Nigel Bernard on Mon, 03/06/2017 - 11:25
Nigel A. Bernard,Children's Author

I had a great visit to Stivichall Primary School, Coventry last week. I went on Thursday to join in with their World Book Day activities. I was with the two Year Three classes led by Mrs Tiwana and Mr Bainbridge. Or at least that’s what I had been told. In fact, the Mad Hatter was in charge of one class and Fantastic Mr Fox was in charge of the other.

Many of the pupils had dressed up as different characters from children’s fiction. They had obviously given a lot of careful thought as to which character to portray and had put a lot of effort into making their costumes. I was quite nervous - it’s not everyday you are confronted by both Darth Vader and a knight, complete with shield and sword. The knight told me he was Tom Thumb, but he looked a lot bigger than that.

I read them three chapters from Charlie Lupton and the Cavalier’s Treasure. They concentrated really well and listened intently. Then they divided into groups and did an activity which I had devised which taught them how to structure a story. It is based on the ‘climbing a mountain’ approach to story writing. All the pupils did really well at this activity. Then they began work on planning their own stories.

A full school assembly was held at eleven o’clock when all the children, and teachers, could show off all their costumes. I then had to talk to them about one of my favourite children’s books. I chose The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier. I told them that one reason why this was a favourite book of mine is because it was read to my class at school when I was their age. I then read them the first chapter from Charlie Lupton and the Secret Satellite.

After assembly it was back to planning individual stories. Eventually these will be written out in neat and bound. Lunchtime came all too soon and it was time to leave. My lasting impression of Stivichall is the enthusiasm of both the pupils and teachers. They obviously all enjoy school life and work really hard. Thank you everybody for making me so welcome!

I did, however, have one strange experience. Early on in the day I saw this Dalmatian approaching. She looked quite lonely, but apparently she does have a hundred friends. Then she started speaking to me.  I knew it was a real Dalmatian because she even had a big black spot on her nose. I felt a bit awkward talking to a dog, but I tried to act as though this was quite the normal thing to do. Then the conversation took a very strange turn. She claimed that, actually, she was the head teacher …


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