School Visits

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David Thorpe with Year 9 students in Lewisham receiving the Lewisham Book Award 2008Book a workshop or a school visit by David Thorpe!

David can conduct workshops at Key Stage 2 & 3 levels. He has conducted many schools visits in the UK and some residencies in International Schools abroad.

Recommendations: “Your hard work, passion for the project and commitment to the realisation of the children’s ideas impressed all who came into contact with you during Seychelles-workshop1your time in the Seychelles. Please come back soon.” Martin Kennedy, Head Teacher, Vijay International School Paslin, Seychelles. See: a description of this workshop, pictured right.

“David’s workshops were a revelation to the children. His enthusiasm and imaginative exercises inspired them and gave them confidence in their ability to write.” Eleanor Burnside, Head of English, St. Paul’s School, São Paulo.

Seychelles-workshop2Possible topics include:

  • What is a story?
  • Making comics
  • Film and tv scriptwriting
  • Journalism
  • Creative writing
  • Poetry
  • Musicals – with his wife Helen Adam (they conducted the Seychelles fortnight summer school together)
  • Themes raised by his work – e.g. the impact of technology in our lives, and environmental issues.

For example, when discussing storytelling and scriptwriting he will begin from asking the class “what is a story?” He then nudges the students to move onto working out that stories need beginnings, middles and ends, what has to go in the beginning and the end, and that suspense is required to differentiate a story from a sequence of events.

“What’s the problem? becomes the starting point for the story. The group will then look at the four different plot types. There are only four! He will challenge them to come up with more. They will fail! They might look at existing stories that they know, usually focussing on fairy tales, popular books and movies. The group can watch a short, 10 minute movie, and students can figure out where the plot points are and why, and what the moral of the story is. They go on to look at characters and what makes them. After all of this the students come up with their own plots, their own characters, and pool them, perhaps by pitching at each other.

This work satisfies elements of the UK National Curriculum for Key Stage 3: 3.3 and 4.3 (Writing).

David has worked successfully in schools in Wales, England and abroad. For example he has worked with a project called Animation Tank in mid-Wales, with an animator from Wallace and Gromit creators Aardman Productions, which resulted in three short animations made by primary level students, one of which won an award in Canada.

As far as journalism goes, he works with older children to get them to work to a professional standard based on his many years of working as a paid journalist, editor of trade news magazines and contributor to national newspapers.

David has a profile on the website for school visits Author Hotline where you can read an interview with him.

David Thorpe giving his talk at the 55th bookfair at Porto Alegre, BrazilThe top photo shows him meeting some brilliant kids in Lewisham at the annual Childrens Books Quiz. The one on the right is taken at the 55th annual bookfair at Porto Alegre, Brazil. The one below shows him opening a library in another school in Lewisham, London (see below).

Did you know that Welsh schools are eligible for assistance with funding the costs of visiting writers? Check the Academi website.


David Thorpe, writer, opening a new school library at St Matthew Academy, London, in May 2008

  • In November 2009 he was workshopping all the above topics in two British Schools in Sao Paolo, Brazil
  • Running workshops on ‘what is a story?’ as part of a film workshop – Animation Tank in a Powys and Gwynedd primary schools.
  • Running a comics-making workshop at the Powys Youth Arts Festival at the Royal Welsh Showground on 23 February 2011.
  • Workshopping with 140 pupils bussed in to the Civic Hall in Sefton, Merseyside from ten schools in the vicinity. Two buzzing question-and-answer sessions were held in the morning and afternoon. About 100 copies of Hybrids were signed and sold.

More feedback

David Thorpe, writer, opening a new school library at St Matthew Academy, London, in May 2008

David was honoured to open a new school library at St Matthew Academy, London, in May 2008. Everybody enjoyed the occasion and the lively discussion that followed on young peoples’ attitudes to computers, mobile phones and their technology use, some of the themes of Hybrids.

He wrote afterwards on the SCBWI blog: “At St Matthew Academy, we had a very good discussion with year 7s about technology use. Nearly all said they themselves thought they used technology (PCs, mobiles) too much. This contrasted with just one third of the group (140 kids) I’d asked the same question of in Merseyside. I put this down to the perceived danger of being outside in south London – although their area is quite leafy. They said they didn’t know what else to do with their time. When I modestly suggested “read” it was as if this was a strange idea! They agreed to attribute this to the addictive nature of technology use and – as pointed out by one girl who’d recently arrived in the UK – because the technology is so cheap, that everyone owns it and uses it to communicate with everyone else.”

This gives a flavour of the type of lively discussions that happen.

David is always positive and enthusiastic, giving attendees a great boost and personal attention.

Fees and expenses can be discussed. Just email David to make an enquiry!