June 19th, 2018

twineham primary school

Last night I caught the train to Burgess Hill, to stay overnight for a morning start at Twineham Primary School.

School visits are a great way of getting to see places I might have otherwissed missed. I didn't know anything about Twineham, but as I watched several ladies leave the hotel carrying horse saddles, and saw this huge horsebox on the road, I began to suspect the area had a bit of a theme. (I discovered the school's very near the All England Jumping Course at Hickstead.)

Teacher Andrew Chapman gave me a lift, and before we went into the school, we stopped by the adjacent early Tudor church for a peek:

The school had a lot of fun surprises, including Bella the Reading Dog. While I was in the staff room between assemblies, children came in, one at a time, each carrying a picture book. A volunteer named Margaret would ask them for their latest news, and after a little chat, the child would read his or her picture book to Bella and Margaret. It was clear the kids saw reading to Bella as a real treat. One of them brought in a pony book - Margaret mentioned to me that a lot of them bring pony books - and since Margaret had been a horsewoman, she and the kids could talk very knowledgeably about all things equestrian. Watching this was so inspiring, seeing how much the kids were motivated to read and cheered by this combination of cosy individual attention from a grownup and getting to spend time with a kindly dog.

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