Izzy Investigates with Pamela Butchart! 

Discover laughs, secret missions and aliens 
with The Secret School Invasion. 

Watch the event here: https://www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/izzy-investigates-with-pamela-butchart

Download the resource here: Pamela-Butchart-1

Download the extract here: chapters-1-2-THE-SECRET-SCHOOL-INVASION

P3–P5 / KS2 

Explore themes of: 
√ Funny Books √ Friendship √ The School Community √ Working Together 

Subject Checklist: 
√ Expressive Arts √ English Language √ Social Studies √ Creative Writing √ Health and Well-being

At a Glance 
Before watching Pamela’s event or reading the extract!  

  1. What is happening on the front cover? Who do you think the main character of the story might be? 
  1. Where do you think this story is set? How can you tell? 
  1. Can you predict what might happen in this story? 

Book Cover Activity: Stories Set in School! 
Come up with a strange or extraordinary thing that might happen in your school. For example, maybe a teacher turns into an alien and wants to take over the entire school! Or maybe a new supervisor comes to school and try to poison everyone with a disgusting custard! Consider the following questions before sharing your ideas:  

  • How might the strange or extraordinary thing affect the different people in the school community? 
  • How could the strange or extraordinary thing also be funny? 
  • How would everyone need to work together to save the day? 

Read the Extract 
Taken from Chapters 1–2 of ‘The Secret School Invasion’.  

Discussion Questions 

  1. What ‘weird’ thing do you think Izzy is describing in Chapter 1? What is happening in her school? 
  1. When did Izzy and her friends realise that ‘things were NEVER going to be the same’ at their school ‘EVER AGAIN’?  
  1. How does the author, Pamela Butchart, make you want to carry on reading at the end of Chapter 1? 
  1. How could Izzy tell that something ‘SERIOUSLY WEIRD’ was going on when she arrived at school on Monday? 
  1. The teachers are behaving strangely: find at least three examples of this. 
  1. What is an Emergency Assembly? Can you guess what the teachers might be talking about? 
  1. Who are the different characters mentioned in Chapters 1 and 2? Who are Izzy’s friends? How can you tell? 
  1. What is ‘The Den’? What happens to Maisie and Zach on the way to The Den? 
  1. What does Jodi say only in ‘extremely SERIOUS SITUATIONS’? Is this an ‘extremely serious situation’ for the friends? Why or why not? 
  1. How does Pamela Butchart make these opening chapters funny and engaging? 


Get to Know the Author and the Book! 

The School Community 
The ‘SERIOUSLY WEIRD’ thing that happens in ‘The Secret School Invasion’ is that Izzy’s school is being merged with St. Bartholomew’s Primary – their greatest rivals! 

  • How do you think Pamela Butchart got the inspiration for her story? Now that you know a little bit more about it, can you guess why she chose the title, ‘The Secret School Invasion’? Discuss with a friend: what else does this title make you think of? 
  • Imagine that your school is merging with another school nearby. First of all, make a list of all the different members of your school community who would have to meet each other and work together! Can you do a head-count of everyone in your community? Consider the following: 
  • Teachers 
  • Teaching assistants 
  • Office assistants and receptionists 
  • Librarians 
  • People who look after and maintain the building 
  • People who prepare your lunch 
  • People who help you get to and from school safely 
  • Gardeners 
  • Parents and Governors 
  • Pupils! 
  • Are you surprised by how many people actually make up your school community? 
  • Consider how everyone in the community would need to adapt if you merged with another school. 
  • What would people be excited about? What would they be worried about? 
  • Design a brand sparkling new building for your newly merged school! What will you call your new school? 

Your Turn: Performing a Funny School Assembly! 

Seriously Silly Emergencies 
In ‘The Secret School Invasion’ the teachers hold a ‘teachers only EMERGENCY ASSEMBLY’ to discuss the issue of the two schools merging together. Imagine that a similar assembly is taking place in your school; create your own funny school assembly! 

  • In Chapter 2 of The Secret School Invasion, the teachers are trying to hold a TEACHERS ONLY EMERGENCY ASSEMBLY. First of all – can you imagine what happened in that assembly? What sort of atmosphere was it? Why? 
  • Design and perform your own hilarious 5-minute ‘emergency assembly’. First, think about a strange or extraordinary event that the assembly is about. 
  • You might want to start by planning your assembly using the following categories: 
  • Who is taking the assembly? How are they feeling? How is the audience feeling? 
  • What will be in the introduction of the assembly (1 minute)? 
  • What will be in the main part of the assembly? (3 minutes)? 
  • How will the assembly end? (1 minute)? 
  • Will the assembly have a hand-out or any PowerPoint slides? 
  • How will people react? What questions might be asked? 
  • Can you make your assembly ridiculous or funny? How? 
  • You might want to create a brief script for your funny assembly – including notes for how the funny assembly should be delivered. 
  • In groups, have a go at performing your seriously weird and funny emergency assemblies to the rest of the class! 

Reflection and Further Questions 

Reflection Activity  
Think over all that you have learned. Perhaps you have been inspired to find out more about the people in your school community? Or you’ve thought about your own ideas for a funny story set in school. . . 

Make a list of FIVE everyday activities that happen at school – for example: walking to your classroom or going for lunch with your friends. For each one, note down how this could go disastrously wrong and turn into a hilarious and silly story!  

Lastly, do you have any final questions you would like to ask Pamela if you got the chance? Try to think of at least two and make a note of them.  

Keep your eye out for more awesome books from Pamela Butchart, as well as the other authors from the Edinburgh International Book Festival!