Welcome to the next edition of my Principal’s Blog, this time I am incredibly excited to hand over to the English Faculty for a special focus on reading! As TAL students you will be immersed in quality literature from your very first day with us, we strongly believe that young people who read, succeed! Reading is not only a magical experience that can open new worlds and capture your imagination, but reading also strengthens your brain, increases your vocabulary and nurtures your soul. I hope that you enjoy reading this blog too!
“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” – Philip Pullman
Our passionate and dedicated English teachers at TAL cannot wait to share their love of reading with you through a range of exciting and interesting texts and are all particularly excited at introducing you to a full-length Shakespearian play! They will help you to strengthen your reading skills, experience a broader range of books and to improve your vocabulary. You will also soon see that reading is a focus across all your other subjects too, from Science to History. If you struggle a little with your reading, do not worry, you will be given additional help and support via your teachers, intervention or Learning Support. Our aim is that all our young people are happy, avid, and fluent readers!
You might have heard of Dracula by Bram Stoker but have you heard of The Saga of Darren Shan? In September, every Year 7 student will study Cirque Du Freak by Darren Shan, the first of his twelve novels in the saga.
In the novel, the protagonist (Darren) and his rebellious best friend (Steve) attend a banned ‘freak show’ that changes everything. Darren and Steve soon enter a nightmarish reality filled with vampires and the supernatural. It is Steve’s curiosity that leads to Darren’s life being changed forever as he is forced to make an allegiance with the dark side. Before September, we recommend jumping through the Gothic portal by picking up a copy of Coraline by Neil Gaiman or Scavengers by Darren Simpson.
Drop Everything and Read at TAL!
We take the power of reading seriously! Our daily Form Times are dedicated to DEAR (Drop Everything and Read). In these sessions, you will be read a collection of fantastic stories, read out to you by your Form Tutor. The first book we will enjoy is Kick by Mitch Johnson; a brilliant book about Budi’s dreams to play for the best football team in the world. This book will transport us to Jakarta and encourage us to empathise and explore the lives of others, encouraging tolerance and deepening our understanding of global issues. Our first of many author visits will be from Mitch Johnson himself! Here are some of our TAL staff getting prepared for this!
The TAL Library
At TAL we believe books should be both ‘windows and mirrors’; some books will allow us to explore worlds unknown and others will reflect and represent our own lives. Our brand new, state of the art library will be stocked with over 20,000 books written by quality authors that celebrate and explore a broad and diverse range of experiences, genres and voices. Our library will also be brimming with non-fiction, autobiography and newspapers, magazine and journals. We are confident that you will find things that you already enjoy and that you will be tempted to try something new, from graphic novels to classics. All TAL students carry a challenging reading book with them at all times and read daily as part of their home learning, we can’t wait to help you choose your first story!
Books, Glorious Books….1…..2….and 3!
We are delighted to announce that we have forged a strong partnership with the famous bookshop chain, Waterstones, who have kindly gifted each one of our founding students with a choice of several fantastic books! These will be handed out to you during TAL Induction Camp. Waterstones will continue to support our journey, arranging author visits, competitions, and the opportunities to review unpublished work for us all to enjoy!
We have also partnered up with Book Buzz to offer you a second book to take home in September! You will be able to watch each author talk about their book and make your choice from a list of 17 fabulous titles. Why not swap with a friend when you have finished?
During TAL Induction Camp, we will be focusing on developing our TAL Core Values of Honesty, Empathy, Respect and Responsibility and what better role model of these attributes to celebrate than our very own Marcus Rashford? This will be the third book that we gift to you at the end of TAL Camp…your library is already building!
As part of our co-curricular programme, Involve, we celebrate the art of storytelling through a variety of literary based clubs. On Tuesdays, budding journalists can attend Miss Bury’s TAL Newspaper club, showcasing the fantastic events and stories involving our students. If you are more into fiction than fact, why not try Creative Writing club on a Wednesday. All our staff are avid readers and Miss Goult will be running a Book Club on Wednesdays, where you can explore new worlds and share the best writing from across the globe.
Our TAL library is at the very heart of our school, both literally and metaphorically, and we are delighted that Leeds Arts University have agreed to create Artwork to embellish this beautiful space with our emblem of Leeds, the Owl, as inspiration.
All our students will receive a full library induction and a 121 Reading discussion each term with our Vice Principal. Our library will host termly events (such as our Manga festival), visiting speakers, writing workshops and an interesting rotation of historical artefacts to view, touch and discuss. You will also be able to visit this quiet and focused space during Prep each week to complete home learning.
We are also excited to host Cassie Chadderton, CEO of World Book Day, who will be speaking to our students in September about creating and celebrating a reading culture and her personal career route stemming from a love of literature and the arts.
Leeds Library Summer Reading Challenge
The theme of this year’s challenge is ‘Wild World Heroes’, which has been developed in partnership with WWF and gets children thinking about the importance of the environment. Every child that completes the challenge will be awarded a certificate and a gold medal. To take part, families can sign up for free at their local library, or by visiting the Summer Reading Challenge website.
And finally…our next TAL Challenge!
We believe in the power of stories, and in the power of the imagination! Using the image below we challenge you to create a piece of writing inspired by this! It could be the opening of a story, a short story, a poem, or a monologue…the choice is yours. You could zoom in and focus in one element, for example, is the dragon trapped, or is he guarding something? Who, or what awaits the traveller at the top of the highest tower? Are the bats flying towards these visitors, or fleeing in fear? Or you could describe the contrast of colours and the emotions they stir inside you.
We cannot wait to read your entries and all TAL Challenge entrants will receive a very special prize. Please email your work by 1 August, to our usual contact address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Meet the Team
Miss Bury | English Teacher
Hi everyone! My name is Miss Bury and I will be joining Trinity Leeds Academy as one of your English teachers in September.
I moved from a small Lancashire town to study English Literature in Leeds in 2013, and I absolutely fell in love with this wonderful city. I found that teaching young people from inner-city communities was extremely rewarding. The students taught me as many new things from their backgrounds (such as numerous new words in their languages) as I taught them about English. The reason I wanted to join Trinity is because I strongly believe in creating a classroom environment that will allow all of our students to use their interests, experiences and differences to Reach Higher, See Further, Shine Brighter.
Of course, reading is one of my favourite things to do (accompanied by my three cats Tofu, Noodle and Ozymandias). Treasured books include Animal Farm by George Orwell and Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood, but I also enjoy tracking down old poetry collections from Leeds’ many charity bookshops. Over the past year, I’ve also got into running as I love pushing myself to try new things and find challenges to overcome.
I can’t wait to meet you all in September!
Miss Stowell | English Teacher
I am filled with excitement at the thought of starting our new September term as a teacher of English and part of the Trinity Academy Leeds team.
Brought up in Yorkshire, I have come full circle, after completing a journalism degree and working for Newsround at Children’s BBC in London, and now qualifying as an English teacher here in Leeds.
I was an avid reader from a young age and read library book after library book when at school, and this has stayed with me. Studying Darren Shan’s Cirque Du Freak in our first term is going to be so much fun, I loved reading it.
I enjoy practising and teaching yoga and mindfulness, and have taught this to many children in the past, and perhaps in the future, to some of you at the Involve club. It is a great way to stay healthy both physically and mentally.
I believe that life is a story for each of us to write in our own unique way and you will all bring your individual stories. I look forward to getting to know each and every one of you and hearing these. Even more so, I cannot wait for you to add to these stories with your learning adventures at TAL.
Thank you for reading my 13th blog!