St Leonards pupils plan fictional robbery with help from children’s author

Pupils at St Leonards C of E Primary Academy with author Dave Cousins
Pupils at St Leonards C of E Primary Academy with author Dave Cousins

Children’s author Dave Cousins helped a class of St Leonards pupils plan a fictional robbery as part of his UK Crime Writing Tour.

The author and illustrator visited St Leonards Church of England Primary Academy as part of his tour, in partnership with National Literacy Trust and the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS).

Dave, who has penned books including 15 Days Without a Head and Charlie Merrick’s Misfits, took Year 5 pupils through a series of fun and creative activities that gave them a flavour of what it is like to develop and write a story – from lively discussions about what the pupils wanted to steal and why, to pupils drawing plans of how they were going to pull-off the robbery.


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With ideas and enthusiasm overflowing, Dave then helped the pupils get their stories down on paper.

Dave’s Crime Writing Tour is celebrating the Ruth Rendell Award 2019, which was launched in 2016 by the National Literacy Trust and ALCS in honour of crime writer Ruth Rendell, and is given to the author or writer who has made the biggest difference to literacy in the UK in the past year.

Dave’s visit to St Leonards C of E Primary Academy was supported by the National Literacy Trust Hub in Hastings, which was launched in January this year to improve the literacy outcomes of children and young people in Hastings and promote a love of reading throughout the town.

Dave said: “I had a fantastic time meeting Year 5 at St Leonards C of E Primary Academy. Thanks to all the staff and pupils for making me so welcome, and for the excellent effort everyone put into their writing – and robbery plans!

“The group was really engaged and I was impressed and inspired by some of the great ideas they had.”

Mrs Mally, Year 5 teacher, said: “We’d like to thank Dave for coming in to work with our pupils, it’s been a great way to explore the genre of crime writing with them.

“The class particularly enjoyed starting their stories, planning their robberies – all of it. Dave was engaging and shared his writing expertise brilliantly.”

Graeme Quinnell, Hastings Literacy Hub manager, said: “When children get to meet writing role models, it can have a hugely positive impact on their enjoyment of writing, their writing skills, and how they view writing as a career choice. Dave certainly brought the writing process to life and inspired pupils to develop some truly exciting and gripping crime stories.”