Patron of Reading

I am proud to be the Patron of Reading at Larbert High School near Falkirk. This is the first partnership of its kind in Scotland and we have very exciting plans. In this section, I’ll be adding news, projects and contributions from pupils. Do add your comments.

Poetry for healthy hearts – perfect for schools

What a stupendously gorgeous idea! The Hippocrates Initiative for Poetry and Medicine is launching the Healthy Heart Poetry Initiative. They are inviting entries from schools – poems and recipes – and selected poems and healthy food ideas will be published as an anthology of Healthy Heart Poetry by the Hippocrates Press. And there are teaching ideas, too. Schools, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain – hearts full of heartsong. I bet Larbert High School would produce some great entries…

Posted by Nicola Morgan on 14 July 2014   |   No Comments so far   |   Read More.

Chance to become a fitness instructor!

No, not me! Can you imagine?! But do you know a young person who would thrive on the chance to train as a fitness instructor? Or one who hasn’t thought of it but who loves the sound of it? A young person who is wondering what on earth to do for a career when academic exams haven’t been a piece of cake? (See, I talk about cake too much to be a fitness instructor.) Well, I’ve been contacted by a company offering a fabulous opportunity for three people to win £4,000’s worth of fitness instructor training as well as an internship with either...

Posted by Nicola Morgan on 7 July 2014   |   1 Comment so far   |   Read More.

Enterprise in Education

A lovely thing happened the other day. I heard that I’d been named an Enterprise in Education Champion. Larbert High School didn’t tell me they had nominated me so it was a huge surprise! Entrepreneurship is incredibly important to me – I don’t remember a time when I didn’t dream up crazy ideas and usually make the mistake of acting on them – and I can’t think of anything I’d rather get an award for. The award recognizes “that you have, through your support, demonstrated an attitude that is enthusiastic and motivating and that you have inspired and encouraged young people to develop...

Posted by Nicola Morgan on 26 May 2014   |   No Comments so far   |   Read More.

Great young writers of Larbert High School

Once again I’ve had the task of judging the creative writing competition for senior pupils at Larbert High School. I did this willingly, even though it was VERY difficult last year and I knew it would be again, and the main reason I do it is because it gives me stops me falling into the trap of believing the doom-mongers who rabbit on about poor quality of writing amongst young people. Honestly, those doom-mongers, many of whom doubtless read one of a range of three right-wing newspapers, need to see the passion, the skills and the talent of young writers...

Posted by Nicola Morgan on 25 April 2014   |   2 Comments so far   |   Read More.

Wellies? Me? At a school event? Srsly?

As many of you know, good footwear is important to me. I have been told that it is even part of my “brand”. In fact, it is the literal truth that my husband did once encourage me to buy new boots “because it’s part of your brand”. This was while he was studying the marketing module in his MBA, but still. There aren’t many women who can say this. So, it was with great reluctance, as you can imagine, that I spent a whole day in muddy wellies when I went to visit Larbert High School for their annual Literacy...

Posted by Nicola Morgan on 24 March 2014   |   No Comments so far   |   Read More.

Are you ready, Larbert High School?

Because I’m coming to see LHS on Friday and I may not want to leave. It’s their annual booky day and I have these things on my list to remember to take: Green body paint that won’t wash off easily (I will be wearing this so I hope I’m not arrested on the way) A spare brain 300 signed postcards A poster that I’ve made using my own very special untalents A pile of books I wrote A pile of books I didn’t £1 What I’m hoping for during the day: Sandwiches (I have strong memories of sandwiches last time)...

Posted by Nicola Morgan on 11 March 2014   |   4 Comments so far   |   Read More.

Books for young people, recommended by young people

Who are the best people to recommend books for young readers? Young readers, without a doubt! After all, we write the books for them so why would we care so much what adults think? (OK, we do care, a lot, but we should care more what the intended readers think.) How do we find out what they really think? Ask them! So I did! Specifically, I asked the S1 pupils of “my” school, Larbert High School in Falkirk, where I’m the Patron Saint of Reading. These pupils are 12 years old and I love the variety of their views. I asked...

Posted by Nicola Morgan on 17 December 2013   |   22 Comments so far   |   Read More.

Fleshmarket and Larbert High School

We hear too many negative things about teenagers. So I’m setting the record straight by telling you about my encounter with S2 pupils from Larbert High School the other day. They were in Edinburgh doing a tour of the Royal Mile, focusing on the gruesome bits, because they are studying Fleshmarket in school and studying Fleshmarket does lead people to seek out gruesome history. *rubs hands* So, they invited me to come and meet them at Fleshmarket Close, which seemed apt. As I walked towards them, they gave a huge cheer, and I covered up my blushes by pretending it...

Posted by Nicola Morgan on 11 December 2013   |   8 Comments so far   |   Read More.

Larbert High School and Woodlands Primary, South Africa

I’ve just spent some time reading the blogposts of the pupils of Larbert High School from their trip to Cape Town to work with and share experiences with Woodlands Primary School. What an amazing experience the LHS pupils are having, being able to see and help pupils from another culture. The post where they arrive one morning to discover that part of the school has been destroyed gives you a sense of what this trip means to them and the level of empathy they have. I think there’s a load of wisdom revealed in these sentences: “We recently found out...

Posted by Nicola Morgan on 24 October 2013   |   8 Comments so far   |   Read More.

Larbert High School publish a book of their creative writing!

The clever pupils and enterprising staff at Larbert High School have written and published an ebook of their creative writing! As their Patron of Reading, I’m very proud of them and have to admit I had nothing to do with it! Esto Perpetua (Last Forever) is a collection of writing from first year pupils “where they share their experience of The Carron Dams, a nature reserve which perimeters the school grounds.” Thanks to Live Literature funding through Scottish Book Trust, they worked with Chris Powici, an environmental poet and creative writing tutor at the University of Stirling. The ebook is...

Posted by Nicola Morgan on 28 June 2013   |   4 Comments so far   |   Read More.

Creative writing prize – Larbert High School

As part of my work as Patron of Reading for the wonderful Larbert High School, I recently judged the best creative writing examples from the Higher English class. DIFFICULT??? OMG, yes. They were all amazing, all sinister and/or sad, all with impressive structure and control, all really knowing what they wanted to do and doing it, and all displaying real power in terms of tugging our emotions. They all also need to rein it in a bit and be more selective with their adjectives – but that’s something I could say of every single young writer who will go on...

Posted by Nicola Morgan on 17 May 2013   |   8 Comments so far   |   Read More.

Can we find a book they’d love?

As part of my work as Patron of Reading at Larbert High School, I said I’d help readers who are trying to find a book they’d love find a book they’d love. You see, I believe wholeheartedly that there is a book out there for everyone, even those who think they don’t like reading. So, keen readers among you, can you help me? Can we help these young people become and remain keen and confident readers? This is about reading for pleasure, nothing else. And nothing is more important, reading-wise, tbh. All these readers are 12 and you can assume...

Posted by Nicola Morgan on 14 May 2013   |   19 Comments so far   |   Read More.

Feed your brain during exams

Continuing my posts to help teenagers during exams, I want to tell you about the right foods to keep your brain going well. Especially important for several reasons: Your brain absolutely will work better with the right food and liquid inside it. You may lose your appetite if you are nervous, so it’s helpful to select in advance some foods that you’ll actually want to eat. The brain is a very hungry organ and uses a lot of energy. You may have some wrong ideas about what are the right foods to fuel your brain. Oh, and by the way:...

Posted by Nicola Morgan on 5 April 2013   |   1 Comment so far   |   Read More.

My first visit to Larbert High School…

…was so exhausting that I’ve only just recovered! Exhausting in a very good way but also exhausting because I’d just ended a kind of iron-woman series of talks all over the place, including Prague via a country I wasn’t supposed to be in but was, thanks to snow… Anyway. I can’t remember the order of things but here, briefly and pictorially, was my day. Apart from the sandwiches, which were very delicious. I was given a wonderful welcome by Mrs Swinney’s S2 English class, who had been studying Fleshmarket. Here they all are, with some of their work on the...

Posted by Nicola Morgan on 2 April 2013   |   No Comments so far   |   Read More.

Exams: how to plan ahead with a perfect revision plan

Last week I blogged about how I’d been to Larbert High School and talked to some S5 pupils about preparing for and dealing with exams. In that post, I offered my general tips for reducing the harmful stress that can come with exams. I also talked about how training for exams is just like training for a big sporting competiton or match – your body and brain are your temple! Today, I want to talk about planning ahead. It’s the key to achieving your potential. The preparation starts the day you get your exam time-table, which should be at least...

Posted by Nicola Morgan on 25 March 2013   |   9 Comments so far   |   Read More.

Dealing with exams

Last week, I had my first visit to Larbert High School and much fun and exhaustion was experienced! I’ll be talking about that more soon. One of the things I did was talk to the S5 Higher pupils about exam stress and preparation. I told them to imagine they were sports stars and I was their coach, because when you think about it, preparing for exams is quite like preparing for a sports tournament or competition. After all, sportsmen and women have to work on: planning, preparation, sports science, skills, fitness, equipment readiness, stress, psychology, nutrition. And so, I showed,...

Posted by Nicola Morgan on 21 March 2013   |   3 Comments so far   |   Read More.

Larbert High School’s FABULOUS book video!

How could I not be proud to be Patron of Reading at Larbert High School, when they produce entertaining videos like this?! I had my first visit to Larbert last week and have lots to tell you about it but I’m snowed under at the moment so my impressions will have to wait. Anyway, the video is far more entertaining and interesting than I am. What was your favourite bit of the video? I liked the bit where the teacher fired an arrow and appeared to kill a colleague. Please excuse my warped mind.

Posted by Nicola Morgan on 19 March 2013   |   11 Comments so far   |   Read More.

Fleshmarket: a new chapter

When one of my books is studied in schools, it’s a) incredibly flattering and b) incredibly scary. (I think most adults have memories of hating some of the books we had to study…) Fleshmarket is read in most Scottish secondary schools and quite a few English ones and over the years I’ve (almost) become used to seeing displays and reading essays and stories and responses based on it, and every time I feel very proud, as well as surprised that this happened to one of my books. I guess there must be pupils who have hated the book but I’m...

Posted by Nicola Morgan on 13 February 2013   |   25 Comments so far   |   Read More.

Why all schools should think about having a Patron of Reading

Here is a lovely BBC Wales news item which gives a great sense of why this scheme is so good. My activities with Larbert High School will be different because it’s a secondary school, not primary, and the challenges are different, but our aim will be the same: to boost and value reading for pleasure. As that news item says, reading not for a test but reading because you want to. There are two quick points I want to make, in response to a comment the other day. First, there is no extra cost to the tax-payer. This is a...

Posted by Nicola Morgan on 16 January 2013   |   No Comments so far   |   Read More.

Larbert High School and I have plans, plans, plans!

I had to have a lie-down after an exchange of emails between me, Kimberly Bryce (librarian) and John Doherty (PT English) of Larbert High School yesterday. Basically, what happened was this: I suggested lots of things and they said yes; then they suggested lots of things and I said yes. We are going to get every year group involved and I hope I will meet them all at some point, but even those I don’t will be fully involved and I’ll be seeing their work and answering questions. There will be projects, competitions, challenges, events; opportunities for pupils to promote...

Posted by Nicola Morgan on 11 January 2013   |   8 Comments so far   |   Read More.

How did this Patron thing begin?

It began when Larbert High School near Falkirk asked me to be their Patron of Reading – the first in Scotland! This new scheme is the brainchild of Tim Redgrave, dynamic Head of a school in Wales and children’s author, Helen Pielichaty. After I blogged about the scheme and mentioned that I was available, by 9.30 that morning, the librarian at Larbert High School had invited me and everything was agreed that day. Two more schools emailed that morning – too late! I’m sure they will snap someone else up, though, so all will be well. I was thrilled when Larbert...

Posted by Andrew Brown on 11 January 2013   |   No Comments so far   |   Read More.

Would your school like a Patron of Reading?

This is a scheme devised by the dynamic Tim Redgrave, head teacher of a school in Wales, and sparkling children’s author, Helena Pielichaty. Helena has explained the whole thing here. If you are a published children’s author with a good track record for school visits, and you like the idea of putting yourself forward as a patron, contact Tim. (Read Helena’s article first, as it sets out important details.) If you are a school and you would love to have an author as your patron, and have read the details on Helena’s website, please also contact Tim. He can tell you...

Posted by Nicola Morgan on 12 December 2012   |   3 Comments so far   |   Read More.

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