St Cedd's School

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Parents' Information Line

St Cedd’s School Hosts Inaugural Book Festival

St Cedd’s School in Chelmsford enjoyed a five-day literary extravaganza, welcoming three renowned authors into School for its inaugural Book Festival.

The week-long celebration of books, which incorporated World Book Day on 7 March 2024, was jam-packed with exciting assemblies, workshops, activities and competitions to engage all children, age 3-11, in reading for pleasure.

James Mayhew, best known for his Katie picture book series, kicked off the festivities with captivating live painting and storytelling performances from his new book, Once Upon a Tune.

S F Said, the author of the highly acclaimed Varjak Paw series, Phoenix and Tyger, took pupils on an insightful book-writing journey, sharing his experience and advice with the School’s young writers.

Maisie Chan, the writer behind book series Tiger Warrior and books Danny Chung Does Not Do Maths and Keep Dancing, Lizzie Chu, led a lively assembly and engaging pupil workshops, fostering a love for reading that children will carry with them long beyond the Book Festival.

On World Book Day, which the children celebrated by dressing up as their favourite book characters, Maisie took great pleasure in officially opening the School’s new Reading Cabin, which is nestled in the Quiet Zone of the School’s playground offering calm lunchtime activities.

Throughout the week, pupils were fortunate to browse and purchase books at the School’s pop-up bookshop, run by Brentwood-based independent booksellers Chicken and Frog, and, excitingly, the authors signed books for children to take home as special keepsakes.

St Cedd’s School’s Book Festival was a celebration of reading, writing and storytelling. The School encourages children to delve into a diverse array of literary experiences all year round and, this year, St Cedd’s School was awarded SATIPS Handwriting School of the Year, receiving the coveted Handwriting Shield, plus four individual winners in the SATIPS National Handwriting Competition. The School also celebrated outstanding success in this year’s Queen's Commonwealth Essay Writing Competition with 12 Year 5 pupils announced as winners. A record-breaking 34,924 children entered from across the Commonwealth and St Cedd’s School’s pupils scooped three gold, two silver and seven bronze awards. Most recently, St Cedd’s School was awarded a Special Mention in the Juniper Book Awards’ Most Innovative School category.

St Cedd’s School’s Librarian, Mrs Lynne Wheater, who organised the School’s inaugural Book Festival, says: “Our whole school reading culture is fundamental to staff and pupils, it promotes academic excellence and supports wellbeing, and we are delighted that everyone was able to meet the visiting authors, enjoy all the activities on offer and feel part of the reading community. It was a very positive experience for everyone involved and we were thrilled to receive a Reading for Pleasure Award by the Society of Authors as a result of the Book Festival and our work throughout the School.”

Mr Matthew Clarke, Head of St Cedd’s School on New London Road, says: “At St Cedd’s School we are committed to fostering holistic growth and embracing the world of books is a key part of every child's educational journey. Beyond the acquisition of knowledge, books cultivate imagination, empathy and a lifelong love for learning. As parents and educators, our collective role is to nurture not just readers but thinkers, dreamers and compassionate individuals.”