Alcester Grammar School

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Alcester Schools’ Book Award 2015

On Wednesday 13th May, three Alcester schools (Alcester Grammar, Alcester Academy and St Benedict’s RC) came together for the annual Alcester Schools’ Book Award.

The event was held at Alcester Grammar School and we were thrilled to welcome local author, Helen Watts who was here to talk to the students about her book “No Stone Unturned”.  The story follows the path of Kelly, a traveller, who feels the odd one out at her new school and isolated.  She then meets Ben who helps her with her history project.  What follows is an exciting, magical adventure which can’t be spoken about for fear of ruining the book!

The book is fictional but based on local history and Helen Watts researched specific information about the limestone quarry that had been in the Wilmcote area, which gave her inspiration for her novel: definitely, a ‘stone turning’ novel for the wonderful heritage of the local area.  The limestone was used for the floor of The Houses Of Parliament.

Helen spoke about how her initial idea for the story came whilst walking around the edge of the disused quarry with her dog, near to her home and she began to imagine what the quarry would have been like in its time.

The students were able to purchase signed copies of Helen’s book which can also be purchased from Mary Arden’s Farm bookshop and Wilmcote Stores, or the Shakespeare Birthplace Bookshop in Stratford, priced £6.99.  ISBN 978-1-4729-0540-6.

We are now looking forward to the final event which will be held at St Benedict’s on 21 May 2015

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Chris Evans – 500 Word Story Competition

English Teacher and Head Librarian, Louise Beeson, will be a Volunteer Judge again this year for this UK wide, Radio 2 competition, which involves writing a story in only 500 words.  Teachers and Librarians around the country are to be given batches of stories to read and score and put through to the next round.  There has been a fantastic level of entries this year.  The judging panel for 2015 includes Richard Hammond, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Francesca Simon, Malorie Blackman and Charlie Higson.

The Top 50 shortlisted entrants (25 in each age category) will be invited to attend the final at St James’s Palace, London on Friday 29th May 2015 for the live broadcast of the BBC Radio 2 Chris Evans Breakfast Show.  The full names of the 6 finalists and the overall winners will be announced during this live broadcast.Chris Evans

Launch of Alcester Schools’ Book Award – 2015

This year’s annual book award, for our local schools, is now underway with students from Alcester Grammar, Alcester Academy and St Benedict’s Roman Catholic School uniting for the joy of reading and community friendship between the three schools. The first event will see students being introduced to the shortlist titles and the defined criteria by which they can judge the books to help decide which they will put through as their winner and the competition and author event, which they always hold. Alcester Grammar are delighted to be hosting an author visit this year and will be visited by an exciting, new author.  Details to follow shortly

Shakespeare Week and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

A Medley Of Extemporanea

This week I’m celebrating the work of Pupil Library Assistants, and also Shakespeare Week.

I am a member of the judging panel for the Pupil Library Assistant of the Year Award. The competition for the prize was very fierce and, sadly, not everyone could make it to the final seven. However, these pupils clearly all had a great passion for books and reading and took this beyond the walls of their schools. Almost all of the pupils not only worked in their school libraries, but they had also had the opportunity to take part in other schemes connected to books and literacy. One of the longlist nominees, Miranda, described a little about her volunteer work at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

I was so intrigued by this that I invited her to write a blog post in more detail so that she could explain what Shakespeare and the Birthplace…

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Student Work Experience Placement at Shakespeare Trust

Alcester Grammar School has forged a mutually beneficial link with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust which enables students to further develop research skills through educational work experience. Miranda, a Year 12, Student Librarian, has written an exemplary piece of work based on her time at the Trust, please open the attachment to read the whole article

Shakespeare Birthplace Trust write up -2

Fantastic Fun with Words – 2014

With some events held at Alcester Library each year, this is a great, local Literature Festival organised by the Warwickshire Schools’ Library Service.
Mrs Beeson with a group of Year 8 students went to see Maria Whatton, who is a writer and storyteller with an interest in myths, legends and folktales. She put on a performance weaving words and stories together to help studies understand the power of this classic legacy.

[www.warwickshire.gov.uk/fantasticfunwithwords}

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AND here’s a review from two of our students:

‘Fantastic Fun with Words’ 2014 Festival
It was interesting to hear the Irish tales that Maria told. She drew us in using exaggerated facial expressions and interesting words. Her cultural background allowed her to tell the stories with more emotion as they were a part of her and weren’t just words. She told a range of different stories from dragons and ribbons to goddesses and hidden lands. She engaged us by including our input and changing the landscape in which the stories were set. In fact, the stories were so good they inspired us to tell our own and we were all amazed at how interesting were our stories.
Overall we think this event was inspirational and thrilling and we would love to see Maria and hear her stories again.
By Tristan and Eleanor

450th Anniversary Celebrations of Shakespeare’s Birthday.

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Mrs Louise Beeson, who has a strong passion for anything Shakespeare (a fact well known by anyone that works in the Library) attended the celebration and has written an article for us on the event.  Please enjoy!

The Library  has a Partnership Project Link with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

The 450th Anniversary Celebrations of Shakespeare’s Birthday

Library Assistant Training with Warks Schools’ Library Service

DSC00751At the beginning of November we were joined by Hannah from the Warwickshire Schools’ Library Service, who was invited in to the School to help our new Library Assistants gain extra knowledge about the responsibilities of helping and running a Library.  The students all achieved their Training Certificates and will now continue with further training and voluntary service in the Library to gain their Library Assistant Badge and position on the team.   This will give them the valuable skills that are necessary to help support students and teachers alike.  Well done to all the students for their focus and participation in the training.

Please read the review from two of our Library Assistants.

library assistant training course 2014

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ALCESTER SCHOOLS BOOK AWARD 2014

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The annual coming together of three Alcester schools: Alcester Academy, Alcester Grammar School and St Benedict’s commenced in March with the first meeting held at Alcester Academy.

Students were introduced to the books, selected by the schools’ Librarians:

Pig Heart Boy by Malorie Blackman, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman,

Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner, Girl Missing by Sophie McKenzi, The Fool’s Girl by Celia Rees

In mixed groups, students were tasked with discussing and then voting on what the group agreed was the best book; this was based solely on its front cover image and back cover blurb.

This was the first time students had seen the books they were going to be judging.   Overall, Girl Missing was the top choice with Pig Heart Boy coming in second place. The students were then advised of the competitions to design a book cover or create a mini comic strip of the books.

Will be interesting to see who the final winners all around will be…

Warwickshire Secondary Book Award

1st April saw the culmination of our Warwickshire Secondary Book Award event, organised by The Warks. Schools Library Service.

Held at the Bridge End Theatre at Warwick School, Mrs Beeson, with a group of very excited Year 7 students attended the presentation ceremony. The two authors present, Neil Bushnell, who wrote Sorrowline and Simon Packham, who wrote Silenced, were two of the nominated authors from the shortlisted books and really held the interest of the students with some of the things they discussed.

The final winner for the 2014 award was After Tomorrow by Gillian Cross.

Our own student, Jack, was one of the winners of The Foster Review competition and received a prize for his review of Sorrowline.

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