At the Book Festival, our Schools Programme launch is always one of the most exciting events in our calendar. It’s the time when the Baillie Gifford Schools Programme is revealed, and our team get to share with you some of the amazing work they’ve been doing curating a range of engaging, educational and enriching events for August.
The event last week was no exception; held in Edinburgh Academy’s majestic main hall, it was delightful to see over 100 primary and secondary school teachers, librarians, education professionals, authors and illustrators from all over Scotland.
After a welcoming glass of wine and flick through the schools brochure, Children and Education Programme Director Janet Smyth introduced some highlights, special events, as well as the strands and ideas that run through the 2019 programme. Her top picks included the ever-popular Darren Shan returning for his 20th year at the Festival; Julian Clary and David Roberts with favourite family the Bolds; Tongue-Fu who dynamically combine rap, poetry, music and spoken word; and Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, with her very first YA novel The Burning.
Schools writer-in-residence Claire Askew took to the stage to talk about the important work she has been doing with school groups as part of the Citizen programme. She has been running sessions designed to get pupils thinking about what being a citizen means to them; about notions of home, identity and belonging. She shared some of the amazing work that has come out of the workshops, including zines and moving poems, as well as outlining what audiences can expect from this year’s two-day Citizen Schools takeover. Come and meet the pupils and Claire in two particularly special schools events on 19 and 20 August as they invite you to consider who you are and how to express it.
Edinburgh-based illustrator Kate Leiper has been longlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal and gave a taster of what a Book Festival schools event involves at the launch event. She brought audiences into her world, giving them insight into the process of creating illustrations like those in her latest book A Wee Bird Was Watching.
This year, we ran various stalls around the halls to give audiences the opportunity to meet our staff and ask questions about aspects of their visit. The bookshop stall gave visitors the chance to pre-order books and find out about the dedicated support for schools in our new Garden Bookshop. The accessibility stall gave out information about our access improvements for 2019 and introduced our brand new access team. And, in the interests of supporting schools financially and minimising waste, we also had a free book stall for participants to peruse.
We are committed to making visits to the Book Festival more affordable for schools, and thanks to Baillie Gifford, we are again able to offer a range of discounts and offers – including 25% off books for schools, our transport fund and £3 book tokens for every pupil.
All that remained after the presentations was to celebrate together with so many in Edinburgh’s education community. Thanks to everyone who attended and made the evening such a success, to Baillie Gifford, and to Edinburgh Academy for hosting. It was a pleasure to come together over a glass of wine and some nibbles – we can’t wait to see you in Charlotte Square Gardens in August!
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Our Learning Site is full of event recordings, activities and classroom resources. Plus, let us know how you’ve used one of our learning resources creatively in our special competition and you could win a fabulous book bundle for your school.
If you have any questions about the programme, please contact our Schools Booking Co-ordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0131 718 5651.