`

Leading author at World Cup themed event nets great result

Children jot down their creative thoughts at The Big Write.
Children jot down their creative thoughts at The Big Write.

World Cup fever has generated a staggering 200,000 words as schoolchildren put pen to paper after a record number attended the annual Big Write hosted at Harrogate’s Royal Hall.

Featuring one of the UK’s leading children’s authors, Tom Palmer, the Big Write in association with Ashville College, saw more than 620 schoolchildren take part from 22 schools.

Years four and five pupils travelled from across the Harrogate District and as from as far as Tadcaster and Skipton to attend, with over 40% of schools new to the event.

Inspired by the theme The World Cup, Big Write author Tom Palmer kicked-off imaginations.

Simon Asker, from Ashville College, which has sponsored the event for the second year and had 75 pupils attending the morning session, said: “It was a winning goal to have Tom Palmer lead the creative writing workshop this year.

“Football is a brilliant and fun way to engage young minds, especially when it’s dominating our TV screens with the World Cup.

“We are passionate about developing a lifelong love of writing and reading.

“Creative expression is hugely important for children to boost confidence and communication skills, as well as develop literacy.”

Tom Palmer is the author of three Puffin football children’s series, Football Academy, Foul Play and The Squad, and a new KS2 history series, the Defenders trilogy.

His passion for football gets kids from the pitch to the page.

Palmer has also been chosen by the National Literary Trust as their World Cup Author producing a live story, with a new chapter released each day of the World Cup.

He wrote his own story inspired by The Big Write session, which he read to children at the Royal Hall.

The annual event is part of Harrogate International Festivals’ HIF+ - a programme of outreach arts delivery, and is delivered by the education experts, Pobble.

Lizzie Brewster, Development Manager at Harrogate International Festivals, said: “We’re incredibly grateful to Ashville College for ensuring the Big Write continues to get bigger and better each year. Working with top class teaching professionals, Pobble shows how we can truly engage children by making writing ridiculously exciting and fun.”

Simon Blower, co-founder at Pobble, said: “Teaching children to read and write well has multiple benefits and is key to children’s academic future. Tom Palmer is a true live wire, as a Leeds United fan his enthusiasm for the written word is the answer to many parents’ dreams when it comes to inspiring reluctant readers.”

The Big Write in association with Ashville College has become a much-anticipated fixture in many primary school’s calendars and an important part of literary provision.

Harrogate International Festivals has built a reputation for delivering high profile book festivals and author events, with the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival and the Raworths Literature Festival. Past authors have included JK Rowling and Michael Morpurgo.

Lizzie added: “Harrogate International Festivals is passionate about providing an enjoyable and engaging platform for the exploration of literature for young children and in ensuring that access to the arts is available for all children. Who knows, we could inspire the next Tom Palmer or JK Rowling!”