author visit gets school into stories

Youngsters at a Durham school have been learning the art of storytelling following a visit from a popular author.

Best-selling children’s author Ross Welford paid a visit to a Framwellgate School Durham with advice for budding writers.

Cullercoats born Welford, best known for his hit children’s books ‘Time Travelling with a Hamster’ and ‘The 1,000-Year-Old Boy’, shared a whole host of tips on developing characters and plots with students in Year 7. They even created a story of their own, featuring a wolf called Gary and his search for a magic apple.

The visit was part of a reading programme for new Year 7 pupils arriving at Framwellgate School Durham this month. Every student received a copy of ‘The 1,000-Year-Old Boy’ together with a range of learning materials themed around the story.

The programme was created to help bridge the gap between leaving primary and starting secondary school. Research has shown that there is often a dip in literacy levels during the transition. The project was made possible by funding from County Durham Housing Group, local councillors and money raised by the school.

The school received £500 as part of County Durham Housing Group’s ‘group grant’ funding programme.

County Durham Housing Group Funding Officer, Damian Pearson, said: “It was great to see the pupils engage so much with Ross. He had loads of great advice for their writing and really demonstrated how to create a good story; complete with Gary the wolf. I think it’s an experience that will stay with them for a long time.

“Projects like this have a direct impact, not only on the education of the pupils, but on their wider life too. It’s exactly the kind of work we like to support, where a small injection of funds can make all the difference.”

Cllr Mark Wilkes said: “Councillor Simmons and I are delighted that we have been able to assist in promoting reading. Meeting the author of a book you have read can really inspire young people. Hopefully this project will have a long term positive impact on all the students who had the opportunity to join in.”

Dr Amy Smith, Head of Year 7, said “During the transition process, students can become anxious about making new friends and getting to know a new place. ‘The 1,000-Year-Old Boy’ provided us with the perfect starting point for discussions about this topic, and students learnt a lot from the central character’s determination to find a new friendship group.”

The application process for ‘group grant’ has been kept deliberately simple and funding decisions will be made monthly to ensure local organisations are not waiting for lengthy periods to find out if they have been successful.

Full details of the group grant scheme are available at here.

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