Furness Education Trust Welcomes Writers to Barrow Schools


LAST week, two Furness Education Trust schools invited writers to join them for workshops with their students.

Parkside Academy hosted award-winning poet Rachel Rooney in a virtual workshop with third-graders.

Rachel has worked for many years as a special education needs teacher and also conducts workshops and creative writing sessions in schools.

During her visit to the school, she spent time reading some of her poems to students and answering questions they had about how to become better writers.

Furness Academy had her first in-person author visit in over two years, welcoming Louisa Reid to her school library.

The visit was organized by Cathy Fidler, the Barrow Library Outreach Project Manager, who contacted the school about the opportunity to host an author.

Louisa facilitated two sessions with ninth grade students. Both sessions included Louisa discussing her previous work and reading excerpts from her new book WRECKED.

Louisa’s books are written in a different style from classical novels, instead Louisa writes novels in verse. A novel in verse is a novel-length narrative told by means of poetry rather than prose, a style she introduced to students.

Louisa also led a creative writing session with the students. They started with an initial thought and turned it into a creative paragraph. The session centered around the word Trapped. Both bands were really engaged and produced some great pieces of writing.

Jennifer Wildman, Associate Director of Furness Academy, said: “It was great to welcome Louisa to our library and introduce her style of verse novel writing to our students. As an English teacher, Louisa was obviously very comfortable presenting to students who were fully engaged in her workshop. Louisa tackles very difficult subjects in her novels and they will make interesting reading for our students. I am so happy that we were able to have our first author visit in person in such a long time and Louisa was the perfect writer to welcome the students again ”.

Simon Laheney, CEO of Furness Education Trust, said: “Reading is extremely important to us at Furness Education Trust and we have an extensive program of activities, opportunities and events to engage our young people in reading. The culture of reading for fun is something we are working hard to implement in our Trust and visits like Rachel and Louisa’s help us to develop this culture with our students.


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