Halfway Nursery and Infants School (Sheffield)

Steve Varnam (Headteacher), Halfway Nursery and Infants School (Sheffield)

1. What was the reason for having Conrad come to work in your school?
We’ve worked with Conrad now for a number of years. Whenever we are in need of an uplifting and engaging literacy workshop we know the man to call! We’ve had various issues with the attitudes of boys towards reading and writing in school and this reflecting in our school achievement data. Conrad has been a big part of aiding and improving our approach to boys’ literacy skills, by providing an incredible role model to begin with, designing bespoke workshops to inspire our children and by reading some of the most ridiculous and disgusting poetry you have ever heard…and we love it!

 

2. What effect and impact has Conrad had in school – with the children and staff (and has he helped solve the problem that you might have been looking to address when inviting him to school)?
For a bloke ‘from up north’ he has been quite impressive! Our staff and children love Conrad coming into school, often with the same anticipation as awaiting the arrival of Santa on Christmas Eve (he had better pay me handsomely for this reference.). Seriously though, Conrad gets the job done and done brilliantly! Whatever workshop Conrad runs, our kids love it…and so do the staff. We have seen levels of engagement rise, especially amongst boys, and their enjoyment is evident throughout. Conrad fits into our school so well and really feels like part of the team when he’s here. Last year we saw a significant increase in the number of boys achieving age related expectations in writing and this has been due to increasing their motivation to read and write through support work from Conrad.

 

3. What makes Conrad different to other visitors you’ve had in school?
He has a sense of humour and is not afraid to make a complete plonker of himself for the sake of engaging and inspiring our children! He also creates the most fantastic, bespoke poetry for your school and children. Sometimes they even inspire him to write poems which he then includes in his books!

 

4. Would you consider inviting Conrad back to work in school with you in the future?
Oh Yes! He’s booked in already for a series of adventure book workshops and for world book day!

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What makes me different?

    • Fun and engaging
    • Over 10 years’ experience
    • DBS certified
    • Nursery – Year 6
    • Poet, Storyteller and Writer
    • Teacher trainer
    • Visited over 200 schools

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It's windy and 'orrible out there. Only one thing for it - time for your dressing gown!

Enjoy 😀
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I'm becoming the Patron of Reading at LOTS of schools recently, and I'm loving it! Consequently, I've written a new poem about books. Here it is.

Oh, and if you're wondering what the sound is in the background, that's our puppy Pebbles chewing on a toy car!!!
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In the last half hour two, of my friends have posted about their worries and anger at their (young) children having pressure of work from school - both in the form of homework and also practise Sats.

It's made me think: how much good does all this do? Our school's headteacher pretty much put an end to homework last year and it's made things SO much better for our whole family.

Instead, the children are given a big list of projects at the start of a topic and they can choose what they like the look of and which ones to do over the course of a half term or term.

It's brilliant! Last year Violet did two PowerPoint presentations off her own back. Mabel created an amazing scented garden from a box. She still has it. I saw it her bedroom tonight!

And yet...

One of my friends writes...

'So sick of homework!
My daughter has:

*Spellings (some stupid ones)
*not one but TWO reading books
*a double sided comprehension sheet
*10 words to learn
*maths and literacy sheets! Every week!

Is it just me l?!!!'🤢'

Is it just her?

I'm willing to bet that it's not!
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My contract for my latest book has arrived!!! And it's got a proper wax seal and everything! Working title of my book...

'Never Give Bread To a Duck.'

Very exciting!
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High Bank Hi Jinks!

I was back at one of my favourite schools today - High Bank in Liversedge. It was them, remember, for whom we collected all those books earlier in the year. I just LOVE this school. I was reminded once again...