Chapter and Verse – The ‘Bridge Between’ visits the first two schools!

Year 4 pupils at Byron Wood Primary Academy, part of Astrea Academy Trust, are among the first to take part in an immersive and magical creative writing experience that they will never forget, thanks to a £150,000 grant.

Lanterns hanging from the roof of the immersive theatre space, decorated in the style of The Iron Man.

Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s Teacher Development Fund grant will support a unique partnership and programme of teacher continuous professional development (CPD) between Astrea Academy Trust and Grimm & Co.  Byron Wood and Gooseacre are the first to benefit. The innovative ‘Chapter & Verse’ teacher CPD programme will bring the magic of Grimm and Co’s Apothecary into the heart of each school, enabling Astrea teachers to truly bring to life the creative writing process.

A travelling theatre, styled in the theme of The Iron Man, the pupils’ class novel, has been built at Byron Wood Primary Academy, providing the stage for unforgettable creative writing lessons designed to develop the children’s imagination, confidence and skills.  A similar theatre, based on The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, appeared at Gooseacre Primary Academy.

During this unique CPD programme, the practitioners from Grimm & Co are working in close partnership with teachers, modelling an innovative, pupil-led approach to facilitate the creative writing process through a blend of drama, music, poetry and storytelling. Following a year blighted by school closures and a lack of cultural experience, Chapter & Verse provides pupils with a mesmerising school experience, as well as representing a shift away from the often outcome-orientated writing process that dominates education today.

The schools said:

Bee Wood, Principal, Byron Wood Primary Academy, said: “I am thrilled we are one of the first Astrea schools to host Chapter & Verse – an incredible opportunity that is already having a positive impact on the children. They are all incredibly excited to step into the world of The Iron Man and I can’t wait to see their creativity flow.”

Rowena Hackwood, CEO Astrea Academy Trust, said: “I am delighted that our unique partnership with Grimm & Co is giving pupils a memorable experience that will help reignite their passion for writing, as well as embedding an innovative approach to creative writing strategy across our schools.”

Deborah Bullivant, Founding CEO of Grimm & Co said:

“When we applied for the funding to do this project we had no idea there was a global pandemic ahead. Grimm’s exhilarating technique truly brings the curriculum and children’s writing to life through the journey into imaginations and the joyful discovery of stories. There’s never been a better time to do this and we’re over the moon to be able to work with ten schools from Astrea Academy Trust.”

Catherine Sutton, Head of Programme – Education, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, said:

“Chapter & Verse will support and empower teachers to embed creative storytelling and story making in the curriculum. This programme will create inspiring, child-led opportunities for pupils to develop their creative writing, and to improve their confidence and wellbeing. We are pleased to support Grimm & Co and Astrea Academy Trust, and look forward to sharing what they have learned through their collaboration.”

During the two-year project, Year 4 teachers at the ten participating Astrea schools will collaborate with Grimm & Co practitioners to embed this innovative pupil-led creative writing strategy into their practice, reshaping the way creative writing is experienced by local children. And with the incredible sets being gifted to Astrea Academy Trust, many more children will be able to benefit from these magical workshops for years to come.Seagulls within the Iron Man immersive theatre space


With thanks to the Paul Hamlyn Foundation

Paul Hamlyn Foundation (PHF) was established by Paul Hamlyn in 1987. He died in 2001 and left most of his estate to the Foundation, creating one of the largest independent grant-making foundations in the UK. PHF use their resources to support social change, working towards a just and equitable society in which everyone, especially young people, can realise their full potential and enjoy fulfilling and creative lives.