Mrs Sarah French
Executive Head Teacher
Designated Safeguarding Lead
Tom's Midnight Garden - Philippa Pearce
As a child I remembered being captivated by the book 'Tom’s Midnight Garden' by Philippa Pearce. A teacher at my primary school read it to our class and I loved it; the vivid images of the grandfather clock and ice-skating really sparked a love of reading.
Now I enjoy reading a variety of books and I am part of a Book Club where we get to talk about the books we read- I love this almost as much as the reading itself.
Miss Helen Neil
Assistant Headteacher - STUDY ZONE (Year 5/6)
Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead
Private Peaceful - Michael Morpurgo
The story begins just before the onset of the first World War and is based on the lives of the Peaceful Brothers: Big Joe (the eldest brother who has learning difficulties), Charlie and Tommo. It is Tommo’s first day at school and he is a little scared, but a girl, Molly, is kind to him and they become friends. Charlie also becomes friends with Molly and they eventually fall in love, get married and Molly becomes pregnant, just as Charlie decides he must go away and fight in the war, even though he is underage. Tommo decides to go with him and the two brothers go off to war. They have many horrible experiences, including being under the command of Sergeant Hanley, who commands their group to do something so ridiculous, Charlie refuses to obey him and his actions have consequences.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book because it sent me on a rollercoaster of emotions: not a story for the feint-hearted. The words on the front cover: innocence and love, courage and cowardice sum this book up perfectly. Morpurgo moves the lives of characters through a calm, tranquil beginning, to the pain, anger and grief of war, with the theme of love threaded all the way through. He engages the reader from start to finish and this book is a great read for anyone.
Mr Matt Birchall
Class Teacher - SMART ZONE (Year 3/4)
The Borribles – Michael deLarrabeiti
What is a Borrible? Borribles are runaways who dwell in the shadows of London. Apart from their pointed ears, they look just like ordinary children. They live by their wits and a few Borrible laws, the chief one being 'Don't Get Caught!' The Borribles are outcasts but they wouldn't have it any other way...
I found the Borrible trilogy a great way to immerse myself in the underworld of London. A gritty, edgy series of books I would recommend as a good read for Year 5/6 and older. These books had many parallels for me growing up and helped me to make sense of the world around me. After reading the Borrible trilogy I was inspired to tackle more: The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Through this process I developed my reading stamina and learnt how enjoyable it is to be plunged into different worlds and understand new words and vocabulary I had never encountered before. Dictionary in hand, I spent a number of years ploughing my way through these massive volumes. I discovered that reading really does truly open and expand your mind to the wonderful world around us.
Miss Claire O'Brien
Class teacher - WONDER ZONE (Year 1 and 2)
The Prisoner of Azkaban – JK Rowling.
I discovered Harry Potter in my late teens and soon became engrossed in the magic of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and the story of how a baby became the ‘boy who lived’ from the evil Voldemort. The Prisoner of Azkaban is the one story where Harry returns to Hogwarts, with his two best friends Ron and Hermione, and discovers that the notorious Sirius Black, who had been imprisoned in Azkaban for being a supporter of ‘You know Who’, has escaped and is coming to get him. However, this story is one of love and that good can overcome bad. Harry learns that Sirius is actually his Godfather and all is not as it seems. Knowing that one day he will be able to live with him gives him hope of having a proper family once again, but in turn he becomes more aware of the dark wizarding world happening around him.
Every time I have read this book, I have been engrossed in it and have especially enjoyed sharing it with with my own children. When reading, it allows me to be catapulted into a magical world so far away from everyday life that it is incredibly hard to put it down.
Miss Suzanne Bray
Class teacher - WONDER ZONE (Year 1 and 2)
Rosie's Walk - Pat Hutchins
Rosie’s walk is a classic children’s picture book. It is one that I loved as a child and now my young son enjoys this humourous tale and together we chuckle away whilst sharing it.
This picture book, follows Rosie’s journey around the farmyard, with her being pursued by a sneaky, but clumsy fox. One disaster after another befalls the hungry fox, while Rosie goes on her way, supposedly unaware of the danger behind her. The near-wordless story provides plenty of opportunities to use the pictures to add in more detail, speech and sound effects. The buzzing bees chasing the poor fox is comical, yet fitting end!
Miss Emma Sumpter
Class Teacher - BUSY ZONE (Pre-School and Reception)
We're Going on a Bear Hunt - Michael Rosen
When considering my favourite book as a child, I was a little overwhelmed with choice. I fondly remember sharing books and stories and so found picking just one a difficult task!
However, I have chosen ‘We’re going on a bear hunt’ to share with you as my favourite book. It brings back wonderful memories of adventures outdoors and family trips to the woods. The idea that from the comfort of the sofa you can be transported into a magical adventure, on the hunt for a bear, captured my imagination - exploring different obstacles and overcoming them. The surprise of finding the bear, and the reality of what that means, scares the reader into a retreat and we eagerly race back to the house with the characters.
This book has become even more special to me recently as it has become my daughters favourite bedtime story, so I get the chance to explore this magical adventure all over again!
Mrs Rosanna Nisbet
Class Teacher - BUSY ZONE (Pre-School and Reception)
Charlotte's Web - EB White
One of my most favourite pastimes as a child was to read and so I have many favourites, but the story of Charlotte's Web by E.B.White is definitely at the top of my list!
It is about a little girl called Fern who befriends a piglet, saving him from an inevitable end. She goes on to visit him daily at her uncles farm where we are introduced, through Wilbur the pig, to the farm animals that live there with him. One of these friends is Charlotte, a spider who becomes his unlikely confidant and saviour. The friendship between Wilbur and Charlotte is truly endearing to read, and Fern's quiet companionship for Wilbur earns her the privilege of witnessing a remarkable feat to save Wilbur once again.
I have recently re-read this to my children, having kept my own childhood copy of the book, and it was still as wonderful to read, just as I had remembered it to be!
Mrs Samantha Graham
Teaching Assistant- Study Zone
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis
One of my favourite childhood books was ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. It’s the story of four siblings who were sent to the country to live during the war. The youngest child, Lucy, discovers an old wardrobe and when she steps inside, she is transported to the magical world of Narnia. Although the siblings disbelieve her at first, they eventually follow her into the land of Narnia where they meet the characters like Mr Tumnus, the evil White Witch and the ruler of Narnia, Aslan the Lion.
As a child I loved the idea of finding a magical world by stepping into a wardrobe. I also enjoyed reading about children my own age going on an adventure and helping good overcome evil.
Mrs Caroline Beare
The Little Red Hen
The Little Red Hen was the first book I ever read all on my own! The Little Red Hen was originally published in 1918. An old folk tale that celebrates the virtues of hard work and personal initiative.
The industrious little red hen is always on the move while the other farm animals just lay around and sleep. She finds a grain of wheat, plants it, harvests the wheat crop, shucks the wheat, grinds it, and then bakes a loaf of bread. During the process she continually asks the other farmyard animals to help her but they refuse. Finally, with her task complete, and the time comes for the bread to be eaten, the farm animals all want a share of it, but all they get from the little red hen is a lecture about when there is bread to be baked, don't loaf on the job. She then eats all the bread herself.
The Little Red Hen didn’t count on anyone else to help her out even though she asked. When the other farm animals refused to help she just went ahead and did all the work on her own. This story has the practical lesson of self reliance that is important for young people to learn.
Mr Tom Richards
EYFS Teaching Assistant
The Cursed Child - John Tiffany and Jack Thorne
I have so many fond memories of the Harry Potter books, since opening the first page of The Philosopher's Stone to read about 'The Boy who Lived'.
I can recall desperately awaiting the next book in the series to be released so I could read it alongside my school friends and see how the saga progressesd (nd the long queues outside the W.H. Smiths where we would wait hours, hoping to get a copy before it sold out). My imagination went wild with all the magic and mystery.
However, the book I have chosen as my favourite came much, much later. In fact, not published until 2016.
The release of “The Cursed Child”, with its 2-part script format, was the perfect culmination of my greatest passions for both Harry Potter and theatre. This play had me instantly transported back to the 9-year-old me, reading in the playground and arguing over who was the better wizard!
The book (not written by J.K Rowling - although she did approve it) continues where her final book left off, 20 years after the battle of Hogwarts with the now adult characters sending their children off to Hogwarts on the train from Platform 9 ¾. It details the struggle of Harry’s eldest son, Albus Severus, who struggles with starting school in the shadow of his fathers’ fame alongside Scorpius Malfoy, the child of his dad’s once sworn enemy.
I hope to one-day watch the play as it is currently on the West End stage in London.
Mrs Maria Johnstone
HLTA Teaching Assistant
Alice in wonderland - Lewis Carroll
To escape into a different world with all its vivid colours and extraordinary characters was fascinating to me as a child. The Cheshire cat's broad smile suddenly materializing out of thin air and the mouse scurrying around on the beautifully laid table were images that stood out for me. Reading this fantastic book fed my imagination and it felt as though anything was possible.
Mrs Karen Edwards
Charlotte’s Web - EB White
Charlotte’s Web was written in 1952 and it is one of my childhood favourites. The story is about a little girl called Fern and a pig called Wilbur. Fern saved the little pig from being slaughtered and took Wilbur home to live with her, her uncle and her Aunt. When he became too big for the house, Wilbur was moved to Fern’s Uncle’s barn and Fern did not see Wilbur that often. During his time in the barn, Wilbur became friends with a grey spider called Charlotte. Unfortunately Fern’s Uncle and Aunt were planning to kill Wilbur and have some tasty pork for their dinner, but Charlotte came up with a plan to save him.
This book is one of the most heart-warming stories I have ever read because it teaches all ages of children what generosity, kindness and friendship really is. It’s also very imaginative and humorous.
Miss Kim Whaley
The BFG - Roald Dahl
Sophie is an orphan who is abducted by the BFG after she spies him late at night delivering happy dreams called Phizzwizards to sleeping children, and catching bad dreams called Trogglehumpers which he then keeps in jars at his house. When he realises that she has seen him, he takes her to his home in Giant Country because he is fearful of being discovered by the town folk. He turns out to be a Big Friendly Giant who doesn’t eat people like the other inhabitants of Giant Country, aka Cannybullies. The BFG has his own comical language, Gobblefunk, that raises a smile every time you read his dialogue. Sophie and the BFG form an unlikely friendship despite their differences and embark on some crazy adventures. She is disgusted by his love of snozzcumber (a gruesome slimy vegetable) only found in Giant Land. He drinks Frobscottle which is a carbonated drink where the bubbles float downwards instead of upwards which often result in enormous whizzpoppers, I’m sure you can work it out! The pair embark on a mission to get rid of the other giants and even visit Her 'Majester' Queen Elizabeth II to try to convince her to help them.
This is a hilariously funny story and a book you can revisit again and again and not get bored of. It is definitely one of my favourites from childhood.
Mr Guy Wakeham
Fantastic Mr Fox - Roald Dahl
I read many of Roald Dahl’s books as a child and particularly loved the stories because of my love of animals. Fantastic Mr Fox’s characters mostly consist of animals so I was drawn to this book very quickly, especially since the main character is a fox which happens to be my favourite animal. I read this book so many times and even listened to it on a cassette tape I had. I did this with a lot of books, even if I had already read them!
One of my favourite things about Fantastic Mr Fox is the elaborate plan that the titular character creates to get the better of the three farmers. I always enjoyed reading about how this smart character was able to easily outwit them, even when it seems they have outwitted him. The character is incredibly clever, and reading about a character who uses his mind to help others was quite inspiring to me as a child. I think this is the sort of book that children can take a lot from and learn that when things seem bad, they can always find a way to make things better.
As mentioned earlier Fantastic Mr Fox has an ensemble of animal characters and I always liked how these characters acted as you would think the animals would. For example, the foxes are cunning and smart; the rabbits are timid and easily scared; the rat is mean and unfriendly; and so on. This makes the animal characters feel more real and alive. I also felt like the animal characters were a much higher class of character when compared to the three human farmers. They seemed to maintain more dignity which contrasted well with the farmers and how we as the readers often see animals as just wild beasts.
Overall, this story allows you to feel empathy for the characters which makes it even more satisfying when they succeed. It is a very clever and fun book, one that I found myself going back to again and again when I was younger. This is why it holds a special place as my favourite childhood book.
Mrs Natasha Butcher
The Jolly Postman and Other People's Letters - Allan Ahlberg
The Jolly Postman or Other People's Letters was published in 1986 and was my favourite book as a child. The story is about a Postman going about his route on his bicycle to deliver letters to lots of different fairytale characters such as Goldilocks or the Big Bad Wolf!
I remember my mum reading this book to me and I was always so excited when I got to open the letters and see what was inside. I loved trying to guess where the Jolly Postman would be heading next on his round.
I now get to revisit the story, but this time I'm the mum who reads the story to her children, and now I get to enjoy watching them open the post, to discover if it's a letter, a postcard, a puzzle or more!
The magic of this story is still there after many years, and on Christmas Eve every year we all snuggle down with a hot chocolate (with marshmallows and cream!) and read The Jolly Christmas Postman.
English - Claire O'Brien and Suzanne Bray
Maths, Science and PSHE – Helen Neil
PE and Computing– Matt Birchall
Early Years, History and Geography - Emma Sumpter
RE - Rosie Nisbet
SENDCO – Helen Neil
Art - Claire O'Brien
MFL - Claire O'Brien
Music - Suzanne Bray