Created: 19th December, 2018

‘Congratulations, you’re now the head of Mottingham Primary School…’Not only was this a life changing moment, but it was also the most challenging day of my career: Where do I start? What will the staff think of me? Will I make the right decisions? Will I ever have time to cook my own dinner again?

Staff and pupil morale was at an all time low and I knew I needed to act fast. I needed a way to transform the magnolia drenched school and make it a values driven environment.

That’s it! I’ll introduce a set of core values to the school. After much deliberation, my SLT and I decided upon the following:


Instantly, I knew that Power of Reading would fit perfectly and would complement our values completely. My English lead set about creating an overview to present to the staff.

Call us crazy, but between us, we read nearly every book before we made our final decision. (Well this is sort of true. I actually listened to most of them on audio book and I’ve taught Skellig quite a few times, but don’t tell my English lead that!)

Now, we know that the drive for good SATs results are important, but we are firmly of the belief that children should enjoy the writing process and engage with challenging texts, therefore, encouraging a strong desire to learn.

Power of Reading immediately made an impact. Stories of children asking for copies of Skellig for Christmas, the Year 6 teacher crying when reading A Monster Calls, Year 4 finding out that the author of Varjak Paw needed 12 attempts to get published, Year 1 building a house for building a house for Beegu to live in and Year 3 deciding to watch out for spiders after reading Charlotte’s Web

One of our proudest moments was a Year 6 child using an example from the book Wonder to explain the core value of integrity, to an Ofsted inspector.

Yes you heard me right. The big O….The ‘Dementors’ of the education system, inspecting in the last week of the school year, with 3 days to go until the summer holidays!

In fact, I take back the Dementor comment. The inspection went very well and they specifically praised our use of the Power of Reading.

‘Pupils spoke with enthusiasm about their enjoyment of reading, and how the school provides books that make them want to read.’

‘In English, carefully chosen texts enable pupils to explore complex moral issues with maturity and confidence. For instance, in response to reading one book, Year 6 pupils produced high-quality writing on the themes of acceptance and bullying.’

‘Pupils’ writing showed that they had reflected carefully on what having integrity means, with one pupil commenting: ‘Integrity means you do what is right, not what is easy.’ Pupils said that these values make the school a ‘special place to be’, and encourage them to be considerate of others.’

Power of Reading ensures that we deliver well-matched, high quality texts and it most certainly helped our school to become a special place to be.

Right, on to my next challenge….Convincing Year 6 that picture books aren’t just for key stage 1!