Alcester Grammar School

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THE FINAL EVENT – Alcester Schools’ Book Award 2016: Winner announced.


The culmination of lots of months of planning and fun came to an end in May when the three Alcester schools re-united for our Annual Book Award.

  • One of our Year 8 students wrote:

Today we went to St Benedict’s School for the end of the Alcester Schools’ Book Award.  It was an interesting morning, speaking and working in a group of people we have never met before. Together we had to complete activities such as quizzes and writing an end to one of the stories. It was quite cool to hear the opinions of people from the other schools who had been reading the same books.

Finally we were told the winner of the Award. All three schools voted for the same book which was amazing because this was the first time this has ever happened. Not only that all three schools had the same top 3 authors! It was an interesting and exciting experience.

The results were as follows:-

Book Cover Choices         Winnersnowhere

1st – Nowhere                       1st – Nowhere

2nd – Terror Kid                  2nd – Terror Kid

3rd – Flyaway                       3rd – Dark Lord – The Teenage Years








Alcester Schools’ Book Award 2016

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2nd Event – Author visit, Jon Robinson.

As part of the Alcester Schools’ Book Award events this year, at AGS, we were joined by Jon Robinson – author of Nowhere, Anywhere and Somewhere.   Jon fascinated us all by telling us of his first, rather macabre, short story at 11 years old – hanging intestines, skin and a heart on a Xmas tree!  Rather than criticising him, his English teacher praised his story and gave him encouragement with the comments “…strange imagination – keep writing.”

Later in his life, with a spell on crutches and time in a wheelchair, after having been hit by a car, it helped give him time to bash away on an old typewriter and saw him submitting his first book at the age of 12.  Jon then went on to recount the long journey of submitting books (8 novels and 8 rejections over 8 years) before finally, on writing for a different audience in 2011 saw success and the publication of his first novel … ‘Nowhere’.

Jon then spoke about about some of his writing influences: studying ‘A’ Level Psychology and the interest of the subliminal messaging used by advertisers in the 1950’s; also he read about a teacher showing the power of self-belief with her experiments on Primary School children and the effect of discrimination on them and Jon’s short spell in a prison cell (not his fault).

The effects of these varied experiences were long lasting and it was only after Jon reflected back on his career that he realised how much these incidences had influenced his writing and the subsequent success of his series.

To find out more about Jon visit:

One of our students wrote afterwards:

Jon Robinson Author Visit

On the 27th April 2016, the professional writer, Jon Robinson (the Writer of Nowhere) came into the AGS Library to discuss book writing and his ideas. It made us all think that writing isn’t all about making something up randomly, it’s about creating an idea and letting it grow, enabling you to share with the world your opinion. His presentation included a lot of information about different elements of psychology, including subliminal messages. Subliminal messages are images that flash up during a film or elsewhere, that only the subconscious mind can recognise. He included this in his presentation because in his book it includes these. As well as that, he talked about the influence things have on us. If you haven’t read his book, here is the blurb:

   “NO ONE’S

         COMING FOR US.

               NOT OUR FAMILIES


                    NO ONE.”

Alcester Schools’ Book Award – 2016

Our annual event kicked off with great excitement in March with the first event held at Alcester Academy.

The participating Year 8 students all came together to discover which books had been chosen by the School Librarians and then had a chance to discuss, on first appearance, which books they thought had the best chance of winning based on their blurb and cover.

The list of books for 2016 were:

1              Nowhere                                              Jon Robinson

2              One Day in Oradour                         Helen Watts

3              Dark Lord                                            Jamie Thompson

4              Fly Away                                              Lucy Christopher

5              Terror Kid                                            Benjamin Zephaniah

Their position: based on the cover and blurb were as follows:

1st        Nowhere        (20) + Staff (5)

2nd      Terror Kid        (5)

3rd       Flyaway          (1) – yellow cover version

What followed was reading the novels for the pupils to decide their winners. What will be the final result?


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New Alcester Library Opens


Photo credit : Dave Warren

On 13th April a small group of our Year 7 Librarians were selected to participate in the opening of Alcester’s lovely, new library facility.

Globe House now houses the County Council’s Library, which has joined together with Alcester’s Roman Museum and Town Council to bring local services all under one roof.

Our Year 7s, as part of the local community, had the chance to see a Humanoid Robot and a Roman Soldier at the official launch of the newly refurbished Globe House.

Here is a selection of some of our students’ comments:

“I loved going to the new Alcester Library because it had loads of books and great facilities. We met a teacher who used to work at AGS! It was great”

“I loved the Roman activities and also the Library. The opening speech was fantastic including the robot dance”

“I really liked the Library and Museum as it was big and there were lots of books”

“We met old teachers of AGS and there were lots of photos”

“I really liked the pretty Roman bracelets”

Laurence Thatcher, the ex-Head of 6th Form at AGS, and Chair of Alcester Heritage Trust, said:

“This is a tremendous opportunity for the future. We have already started to plan a programme at Globe House, which starts on 14 May with a Roman Alcester Celebration Day.”

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‘500 Words’ – Final 27th May 2016

The final of this wonderful event, created by Chris Evans to inspire children to write creatively, was held live from the home of British story-telling, Shakespeare’s Globe .


  1. Honorary judge, Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Cornwall, attended to present winners of the Gold award with their prizes.
  2. This year’s BBC Radio 2 500 WORDS competition received 123,436 entries from young writers
  3. ‘Refugee’ is the Children’s Word of the Year.

Our Head Librarian, Louise Beeson, received a certificate of thanks for her contribution to the event.LOB with Certb

For further information on the competition winners and lots of fun links please click:


Chris Evans – Final of 500 Words event

Here is a link to one of the shortlisted stories.

‘Fakebook’ By Anna Harries, aged 12.    We love this story, what do you think?



Ex student of AGS, Sheila Kinchin, visits

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We were recently contacted by  a previous student of Alcester Grammar School, Sheila Kinchin (now Roberts) asking if she could visit and bring in her school memorabilia which she thought would be useful for our archives.

Sheila who had been a student here from 1955-1961 was able to show us her whole school photograph, from when there were only approximately 330 students.  In her own words, “I loved being at Alcester Grammar School, it was very strict though”.  It was a time of black blazers with red trimming (for the girls only) and a red beret and “you were in trouble if you didn’t wear it correctly”.  You would go and be measured up for your uniform before you started at the school.  Some others of us might remember these times!

Sheila was not keen on hockey so started up a Ballroom Dancing Club.  You stayed at school until you were 15 but if you were taking your exams you stayed until 16.  Sheila achieved her qualifications and went on to work at Midland Bank.  The Headmaster at this time was Mr Davison.

Sheila had been having a clear out and had come across photographs, school reports and other fascinating documents from her school years and had decided to donate them to us, which we were delighted to receive.  She also gifted us a very special book, a mini Shakepeare book of the Play “Cymbeline” which was dedicated to Ellen Terry and published in 1904.

It was a fascinating visit and we would like to thank Sheila for her lovely contribution.

Chris Evans – 500 Words 2016

chris evans 500 words

Photo and content copyright –

Please note: the 2016 competition is now closed for entries. 

*We are delighted that our own Head Librarian, Louise Beeson, has once again been asked to help pre-judge this year’s competition entries …… no mean feat with the calibre of applicants, again, being of an extremely high standard.*

500 Words

Six years ago, Chris Evans had a dream: to get children excited about reading and writing. All children, no matter what their ability. 500 Words is now one of the most successful story-writing competitions for kids in the world. Nearly half a million pupils have written a story; that’s over 215 MILLION words!

It’s very simple.

Entrants write an original story on any subject or theme in 500 Words or fewer and submit it online. If they win, their story will be read live on the radio by a superstar celebrity…like Sir Kenneth Branagh, Jeremy Irons, Hugh Bonneville or Sherlock himself -Benedict Cumberbatch.

Each year, 10 million Radio 2 listeners hear, read and love these stories.

Winners will rub shoulders with the world’s biggest celebrities and massive pop-stars performing at the final. Plus in 2016, 500 Words is delighted to welcome back real-life royalty to the competition: Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall, who returns in 2016 to support the competition as the Honorary Judge! She’ll be reading and debating the top 50 stories of the competition with our amazing author panel: Malorie Blackman, Charlie Higson, Frank Cottrell-Boyce and Francesca Simon.

AND in the year of Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary, the final will be live from the home of British story-telling, Shakespeare’s Globe, on the 27th May.

 For further information, lots of fun links and to check on the competition progress please follow this link –





Pokamon for newsletterA great new Pokemon Club now runs every Tuesday and Thursday lunchtime in the Library.

Formed by a group of Year 7 students this is an opportunity for great team spirit, card swapping, match play and strategy.

6TH Form Book Club (with cakes)

Established well last year the 6th form bookclub is up and running again. It kicked off this term with Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? A dystopian novel by Philip K Dick which definitely gave rise to discussion!

The club runs regularly on the first Thursday of every month and includes lovely cakes! For further information on joining the group please ask at the Library desk or speak to Miranda Gleaves or Beatrice Taylor.

Do Androids

(Accessed from https://enWikipedia.Org 16/11/15)

First Addition Cover

Bookbuzz Books – 2015-16


Bookbuzz Image

Our new Year 7 were given the opportunity to buy a book at a reduced cost as part of our annual Bookbuzz programme. Reading is a pleasure and “a vibrant way of bringing books to life”,

A selection of some of the mainstream titles received were:-

  • The Children of the King by Sonya Hartnett
  • Flirty Dancing by Jenny McLachlan
  • Infinity Drake by John McNally
  • The Last Wild by Piers Torday
  • The Tornado Chasers by Ross Montgomery
  • Dr. Proctor’s Fart Powder by Jo Nesbo
  • What Are We Fighting For?  by Brian Moses and Roger Stevens
  • The Astronaut’s Handbook by Louis Stowell

If you didn’t manage to order and still wish to, we still have just a few remaining titles. Please come and ask us in the Library.

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