Reading Hack

We are working with South Tyneside libraries staff to run this years Reading Hack.

Reading Hack turns reading on its head. Create your own hacks, meet new people, get skills and inspire others to read. If you’re aged 12 to 16 get involved, make hacks and do some volunteering.

A hack is an activity with reading at its heart. This could be anything from a poetry-themed DJ set or novel-inspired Minecraft, to book-related film making or helping others to read.

This launches on Thursday 17th November 2016 at 4:00pm.

Check out the Reading Hack website for more details and to book your place contact Pauline Martin at The Word, the National Centre for the Written Word. 

reading hack flier

Inspire Me

I have been working with a fantastic group of students from Mortimer Community College on a video project to produce a Drugs awareness video. They have story-boarded, acted, filmed, edited and directed the movie.

They have shown amazing determination and persistence as well as working well as a team. 12310626_983555098369297_2118474357684754134_nThey have been a credit to the school.

The project is part of a 12 week program delivered by Shah Amin of Inspire Me.

These students have certainly inspired me.

Well done guys!

Barry Hutchison Video Conference Event 19th November


We a had a very successful video conference event last week with Barry Hutchison using Google hangouts.

Barry connected via Google hangouts with 4 of our schools and spoke to the children in year 4

  • Biddick Hall Juniors  – Mrs Lynn and Mrs Givens classes
  • West Boldon Primary – Miss Bett
  • Marsden Primary  – Miss Hewitson
  • St James RC Primary – Mrs Scott

Many thanks to those schools who participated. This was a pilot project in association with South Tyneside Libraries as part of the Northern Children’s Book Festival.

Each year they run a two week festival of book related activities working with schools and communities across the whole of the North East region.  Over the fortnight they deliver a programme of visits by authors, illustrators, poets and other storytellers within and for schools.  The book festival culminates in a free Gala Day celebration event where children and their families are able to meet and get actively involved in creative sessions run by the inspiring creators of their favourite children’s books

Barry is an author, screenwriter and writer of comics. Barry has written over 60 books for children, had several movie screenplays optioned, written more than 30 episodes of the CITV children’s comedy series Bottom Knocker Street and writes regular comic strips for The Beano, Angry Birds Comic and Adventure Time Magazine.

Check out his website here!


In October 2008 Barry signed a six-book deal with Harper Collins to publish his Invisible Fiends horror series for the 9+ age group.  Barry’s first book – Mr Mumbles – was published in 2010 in the UK, with various other territories – including Canada, Germany and Australia – publishing the book soon afterwards.Book two –Raggy Maggie – was published in August 2010, with book 3 – The Crowmaster – hitting shelves in early 2011.


Barry regaled us with tales of his childhood and his journey to becoming a successful children’s author. He really conveyed his passion for writing stories and brought his characters Benjamin Blank and Paradise Little to life. He told us the inspiration for his characters such as the Shark Headed Thing. I’m particularly scared of the Squirrel headed thing!

After Barry’s introduction each of the schools had the opportunity to ask him some questions.

The children came up with some fantastic questions for Barry such as…


My favourite question was… do you have any tips for young authors on getting started?

Barry pointed the children towards a fantastic website 

The children thoroughly enjoyed the session.

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“The children really enjoyed the conference. It inspired them to want to be an author, they realised you don’t have to be good at everything to succeed.”

S. Hewitson (Marsden Primary School)


Thank you very much to Barry for joining us on this Hangout. It was a great success! This was the first time Barry had delivered a session to multiple schools at the same time using Google Hangouts. As he lives in Fort William, Scotland it is a great alternative to a long drive for him to connect with schools.


We hope to run video conference style similar events with authors in the future.




Lego NXT Summer School 2015

Well, what a fantastic couple of days I’ve had working with the South Tyneside Libraries Team!

I have been on a road trip with our robots and have hosted sessions at Cleadon Park, Central, Jarrow and Hebburn Central.

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We have worked with over 60 kids from a range of schools some as far a field as Washington. They have all been excellent computer programmers and have really put their robots through their paces.

We’ve had some smashing helpers through the library service as well as some keen parents and grandparents.

There are lots of other Lego themed activities over the summer holidays in our local libraries so all you Lego buffs get down there for some fun filled, FREE sessions.

Record Breakers logo for web

The Summer Reading Challenge is well under way and there are lots of giveaways and prizes to be won. The theme of this years Summer Reading Challenge is Record Breakers.

To see more of what’s going on why not follow them on Twitter?

Get down to your local library and let’s break some records!



Metafit Challenge

Phew, that was exciting.  Well done to all the schools who took part today on our video conference google hangout metafit session!  Big thanks to Louise Scott (Witness the fitness) who led the session at OpenZone.  And thank you to all the teachers who were not able to connect to us who did their own session back at school.  Over 250 students took part LIVE with Louise this morning.

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Our Metafit schools were:

Hadrian Primary, St Oswalds RC Primary, Cleadon Village Academy, St Mary’s RC Primary, SS Peter and Paul RC Primary and Harton Primary.

Summer Reading Challenge – Record Breakers!

We are working in collaboration with South Tyneside Library Service on this years Summer Reading Challenge. The theme for this years reading challenge is Record Breakers.

We’d love you all to get down to your local library and join in. We will also be delivering some fun Lego robot and programming sessions over the summer holidays.

You can watch a short video to show you what it’s all about.

Let’s break some records!

Mathstermind Final 2015

The return of our popular Mental Maths video conference challenge this term has been a huge success and we have been wowed by the standard of our borough’s young mathematicians. We have lowered the age for this year’s competition. In all, heats have seen 22 Year 4 teams from 17 schools compete. The results have been fantastic.

The finalist’s teams won through a qualifying stage before reaching the final. Four youngsters from three schools competed in the final.

They were

  • Marsden Primary – Magnificent Marsden

Isaac, Lucy, Emma and Abigail

  • St Bede’s RC Primary (South Shields) –  Maths Magicians

Jake, Anja, Alex and Rosie

  • St Joseph’s RC Primary – Jarrow Josie’s

Luke, Lewis, Aimee and Grace

The final saw teams take on a number of different challenges with individual hot seat rounds and also team problem solving rounds. The ever popular “Countdown” style numbers round was tackled extremely well by all teams.

Steve Robert Lead E-learning Advisor/Numeracy Consultant said,

“The standard of mental maths was really high this year, and a big well done to all finalists. The questions set for the individual rounds were very tough for year 4, but all of the children coped well.”

Well done to all schools who took part and thank you for making the competition such a success.

Click here to view some photos of the event

National Libraries Day 2015

IMG_0195Saturday 7th February 2015 was National Libraries Day .This is an annual UK-wide celebration of all types of libraries, library users, librarians & library staff. .

I spent the afternoon in South Shields Central Library meeting library goers and talking to them about why they love books and libraries.

We filmed our chats using an ipad and green screen. I met lots of school children from a range of our primary schools (Mortimer Primary, St Bede’s –  South Shields, Forest View, Marine Park and Hadrian Primary). The children were fantastic ambassadors for their schools. They were lots of fun to work with.

The library was bursting at the seams for a talk by crime novelist Ann Cleeves, author of the Vera Stanhope series and Shetland books. Four series of Vera, the ITV adaptation starring Brenda Blethyn, have been broadcast in the UK, and sold worldwide, and a fifth is in preparation.


Ann’s latest book is a Shetland novel, Thin Air, published in September 2014


I met Anne and she shared with me where her passion for books and writing first started.

Video to follow!

I met a wide array of people,young and old and it was a fun and inspiring day.

If you want to find out more about celebrating libraries and the inspiring work they do.

Check out this link