Children's author drops into Harrogate school to inspire pupils to write

Pupils at Belmont Grosvenor school were taken on an educational journey ‘Down Under’ without leaving the comfort of their classroom when children’s author Eleanor McKone visited last week.

Thursday, 2nd December 2021, 4:58 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd December 2021, 5:06 pm
Leeds-based writer Eleanor McKone with pupils from Belmont Grosvenor School

The Leeds-based writer of the popular children’s series of ‘Piper’s Passport’ books spent the day at Belmont Grosvenor, reading her stories and inspiring pupils to write across all age groups, from nursery to Year six.

Her visit to Belmont Grosvenor was one of only a small number of in-person workshops she has run since the start of the pandemic – and all the children enjoyed hearing about Eleanor’s fictional character Piper and her exciting travel adventures to Australia, Canada and Italy.

Sophie Johnson Bannister, Head of English at Belmont Grosvenor, said inviting Eleanor into school had proved inspiring for all the pupils.

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She said: “Author days are an excellent way of giving children purposeful reasons to write.

"Listening to Eleanor explain the process of writing, how she corrects mistakes, proof reads and works on her books for long periods helps our older BGS pupils understand the processes they go through when writing.

“Having an author into school gives the children the opportunity to ask questions about story construction, about what it takes to be an author and ideas behind the books."

The Piper’s Passport series of books, based on Eleanor’s travels abroad, take readers on a rhyming, educational adventure across the globe.

Pupils in Belmont Grosvenor’s Early Years Department listened as Eleanor read Piper’s Australian adventure out loud, before learning about the different animals native to the country, and having a go at jumping like kangaroos, crawling like snakes and understanding more about spiders.

Children from Years 3 to 6 wrote postcards to friends, inspired by Piper’s travels, and used their language skills to describe places they had visited on holiday and encourage Piper to take a look during her next adventure.

Eleanor said: “All the children have been really engaged and not only enjoyed listening to the stories but have been enthusiastic about the tasks and produced some great work.

"It’s so lovely to be working with pupils in person, rather than over zoom, and I hope I have inspired them to travel, when Covid fully allows, as well as encouraged their love of reading and writing."

Belmont Grosvenor, along with its Magic Tree Nursery, is a down-to-earth and nurturing school which welcomes boys and girls from three months to 11 years and is based at Swarcliffe Hall, Birstwith, just a few miles from the centre of Harrogate.

For more information or to arrange a tour, visit the website at or call 01423 771029.