North East Connected

Teachers encourage starting a new chapter of kindness

A POWERFUL message of kindness was sent to students yesterday as staff surprised them with their unusual attire.

Instead of dressing as characters from their favourite books, all 150 staff at St John’s School and Sixth Form College swapped work day clothes for black tee-shirts sporting the message “In a world where you can be anything…be kind”.

The idea came from Learning Resource Centre Manager Linzi Heads. She said: “World Book Day celebrates reading for pleasure and the many benefits of reading, not just to help with academic progress but the positive impact reading has on mental health and wellbeing. We wanted teaching and non-teaching staff to share this positive message with all of our students and I thought World Book Day was a perfect opportunity to do this.

“I always tell students, right from Year 7, that reading is an amazing adventure, you can go anywhere you want to go and be anything you want to be! In a world where sometimes people are unkind to one another, often around social media, the message to be kind is a salutary reminder to us all, which students can take out into our community.”

Headteacher Lisa Byron added: “It is our Lenten message to be kind in a world where everyone is very busy and often self-absorbed. We have a fantastic reading culture in school which is supported by all our staff who were delighted to dress the part for World Book Day.”

The catholic academy also joined the World Book Day Share a Story initiative. Throughout the day, lessons began with an extract of Roald Dahl’s Lamb to the Slaughter, each one ending on a cliff-hangar. By the end of the day the school had shared 1,400 stories and everyone in the school had listened to the entire story.

During their reading lessons this week, all Year 7 students have also been taking part in the annual Design a National Book Token Competition.

Linzi said: “I’ve had some amazing entries from some very talented and artistic students. There will be prizes in school and then all entries will be sent to the national competition.”

She thanked the many students, parents and carers who had also donated hundreds of unwanted books to the school library. “More donations would be more than welcome, to help us share reading for pleasure,” she added.

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