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Author and poet Michael Rosen 'drops in' to Francis Baily School Thatcham

Former Children’s Laureate performs works and offers tips

John Herring

John Herring


01635 886633

Author and poet Michael Rosen 'drops in' to Francis Baily School Thatcham

PUPILS at Francis Baily School were treated to a virtual visit from author, poet and former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen.

The school invited Mr Rosen before the coronavirus pandemic as part of an initiative to provide inspirational visits to its children from excellent authors and illustrators.

Mr Rosen caught the virus in March and spent 12 weeks in hospital, seven of them in intensive care, in what he said was a “very serious condition”.

He is still feeling the effects of the virus, but had recovered enough to pay a virtual visit to the school via Zoom on Thursday, December 3.

Mr Rosen held two sessions, one for Foundation and KS1 and another to KS2.

The children remained in their classrooms and watched on their interactive whiteboards.

The school said that Mr Rosen talked to the children in his “very engaging, cosy and familiar style”, giving a very animated rendition of Chocolate Cake and Oh Dear to KS1 children.

KS2 were treated to a “highly expressive” performance of No Breathing in Class, his favourite, and Babysitter.

At the end of each session, the children were able to go to the front of the class and ask questions.

Mr Rosen showed the children how they could come up with their own poems using the format of others like Oh Dear.

He also shared examples of how he formed his ideas for stories and poems.

His top tip was: “Read lots of poems and have a go yourself.”

Francis Baily said the children had been hugely excited by the visit, saying: “They listened very intently and loved engaging with Michael, joining in with the actions to the poems and stories.

“Children across the school felt it was a great honour to have Michael visit Francis Baily.”

One member of staff said “Michael was such a great performer and has such a lovely way of speaking with the children that we all felt quite emotional by the end of the session.”

The school said that pupils had had a superb time and that the question and answer sessions were “especially rich sources of inspiration”.

Many pupils took home one of Mr Rosen’s books with a signed and dedicated bookplate as a reminder of the day.

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