We host quite a few events at the Centre for schools. Our stage setup and AV makes it quite an exciting space when we turn it to that purpose. To give a flavour, today we had Tees Valley Education’s ‘Book of the Year Awards’. I think it is fair to say that many schools write to authors of books to thank them and often they will get replies. TVED don’t think like that. Many of their pupils come from difficult backgrounds, often not having the opportunities that any of us would want for our children. The schools in TVED have very much taken that into account when creating their curriculum and wider offer.
Two years ago their choirs joined with other schools and played a concert at the Sage, last year it was the Royal Festival Hall with 400 children singing alongside West End stars and the Strictly Band. They are currently also leading a huge arts project with local artists and other schools across the Tees Valley.
And alongside this they also wanted to raise the profile of reading in their schools. So what have they done? Well they picked six best selling books aimed at children across the primary range and made sure that all children would get access to read them. They did the usual work around book reviews, linked curriculum work and so on but they wanted the children to really connect with the writing.
Their answer? Invite the authors to work with the children and run an inter-Trust competition for writing book reviews. They were going meet that distant, unapproachable name emblazoned on the key texts! Books that could be seen in shops, famous people! So today we hosted Em Lynas, Chris Callaghan, Gabrielle Kent, Dan Smith and Tom Palmer.
The culmination has been an event that celebrated a range of awards such as, Courage, Care, Commitment and Curiosity in each school alongside a vote for their book of the year. This year’s Book of the Year was ‘Armistice Runner’ by Tom Palmer.
I can’t wait for next year!