Friday, 11 January 2013

Secret School Project Revealed

Now that it's officially been unveiled I'm able to share my Top Secret New Year Project. During the Christmas break I've been painting a mural at The Howard of Effingham School. It's a great school with a brilliant library and I'm regularly invited to run creative workshops for Year 7s and 8s. Apart from book publication days, visits to The Howard are the highlight of my year.

Here's the full story...

My task was to 'make reading cool' and to make the English Department an exciting place to be, so my proposal was to depict a mixture of set texts (Jane Austen, Shakespeare, Keats etc.) and my favourite YA fiction, giving them a quirky twist... and a liberal dash of humour.

At the end of last term the plot was hatched. Secret meetings were scheduled. Ideas were submitted. Sketches were approved. The dark, dreary walls of the English Department corridor suddenly acquired a set of huge MDF boards. The pupils suspected that something was afoot but knew they'd have to wait until January to find out what mad scheme would greet them on their return...
Once the building was empty I got to work. I gathered my sketches, bought paint...
...and started to draw...
I just about finished and cleared up by the time everyone returned to school on Monday, but I had to wait until Thursday and the official ribbon cutting (by the Head) before I discovered whether the pupils loved or hated it. The verdict? They love it! Phew!
The ribbon was cut, speeches were made, I was presented some lovely flowers (and a 'thank you' balloon), was photographed by the local paper, interviewed by pupils, then we all drank tea and ate cake! Pretty much a perfect result.
Junior journalists Charley, Francisca and Mary interviewing me while keeping an eye on the cakes!