Staff at Cordwalles Junior School in Camberley had a surprise recently when the visit of a best-selling author led to the discovery of another writer in the playground the following day.
Chris Powling is a former headteacher turned award-winning children’s author, with over 90 books to his name, including ‘The Phantom Carwash’ and ‘The Mustang Machine’. During the course of his visit to Cordwalles, he spoke to pupils from Years Three to Six, telling stories of his own life as a writer and giving tips on how he goes about his craft – and evidently one pupil from Year Four was more inspired than most by his words.
“The morning after his visit, one of the children, Dylan, came in to school with a book he had written overnight, which he was showing off proudly in the playground – I think that’s proof that the visit was a success!,” said English subject leader Philippa Leah, who organised the visit. “Chris was great with the children. He told them stories from his own school days and his life as a writer, and gave them tips on how to improve their story writing. He even took some inspiration away from the school, for ideas for future stories, such as the special dance Learning Support Assistant Mrs Haddrell does when she puts the lights on!”
It was not just the pupils who had the benefit of his advice – perhaps fittingly for a former teacher, the author also took time out to talk to parents about the importance of supporting their children with their reading. “That came at the end of the day, around the time he did a book signing, so I think a fair few of the children will have gone home to read his books that night,” Ms Leah added. “It was a wonderful end to a great day – and what we saw next morning just confirmed how popular a visitor he was, and what an impact he made on the pupils”.
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