Writing in Schools

Writing in Schools

‘Mandy is expert at drawing little nuggets of inspiration into something special and making the children believe they can do the same. From a staff point of view, she brought so many original ideas forward that we found ourselves reflecting more deeply on the shared experiences’  – headteacher, Pelsall Village School

In schools’ writing workshops and projects, I’m aiming to create new experiences and fresh ways of looking at the familiar, so everyone has something to say. And then bringing innovative ways to channel that energy and excitement into ambitious writing, working collaboratively with the teacher who knows their students so well.

Below are a few of my recent schools projects to give you a flavour.

Writing the Stone Age: hunter gatherers' blackberries and walnuts, and the first farmers' eggs

Writing the Stone Age: hunter-gatherers’ blackberries and walnuts, and the first farmers’ eggs

The Stone Age, Walsall

At Pelsall Village School, embarking on a new topic, the Stone Age, each Y3/4 class became a tribe. The children wrote about fire, about gathering food from the wild, and about the school’s chickens – inspiration for our First Farmers tribe. After a day and a half’s intensive writing, the three tribes gathered for story-telling and to share individual and collective writing, poems, and songs. ‘You’ve really brought the Stone Age alive,’ said one of the teachers.

Thank you blackberry

Thank you blackberry by Y3 child


Writing for an audience

Writing for an audience at Colebourne School

Writing in the playground before break, to share work with the rest of the school.

Gifted and Talented

Gifted and Talented poetry day for children from three schools

Gifted and Talented poetry day for children from three schools


Girdle round about the earth

Girdle round about the earth

A Midsummer Night’s Dream: CBSO project

Working with Shenley Academy and three feeder primary schools, I led creative lyric-writing workshops to develop ideas for five songs telling the story of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Taking inspiration from Puck’s famous speech, we thought about all the things which circle the earth: birds, clouds, comets, dolphins in all the seas – and since Shakespeare’s time, internet connections. Everyone wrote their ideas on blue strands and placed them circling round the globe. Here are the finished lyrics for Puck’s Song, for which the children composed music with Jackie Tyler and Jeremy Clay, and sang with CBSO musicians at Symphony Hall. You can read the rest of the project songs here.

Puck’s Song   Mandy Ross with ideas from Y4 children at Merritts Brook 

I’ll put a girdle round about the earth,
Like dolphins swimming through the oceans’ swirling,
Cloudy spirals, birds on winds a-whirling,
Spinning mischief, circling moon and earth.
I’m dodging airplanes, darting through the stars.
I’m cheating gravity, giving comets chase,
Past satellites’ silent ringing cyberspace,
In forty minutes’ orbit, mocking Mars,
I’ll put a girdle round about the earth…
(Song continues round and round)