Despite being only twenty miles away, Frome schools had been poorly represented at the Bath Children’s Literature Festival over the years. This was mostly because it was quite difficult to coordinate a school trip that was seen as a time-consuming endeavour in a very busy environment. Also, in many cases, it was restrictive for schools in terms of costs to pay for the event, staffing, transport and insurances necessary for a school trip. Schools also found it difficult to see the benefit of attending a literature festival and recognise how it could support their curriculum.
So, WordUP decided to make it easier for them. By looking into the reasons why the schools weren’t attending, we came up with solutions to get them there. We investigated the social, emotional and academic benefits of students attending and explained it to the schools. After this, we reserved blocks of tickets, paid and got sponsorship for coaches, wrote letters and permission forms for schools to send to parents and coordinated coaches to travel to and from the festival.
In previous years there had been a maximum of 100 students from Frome attending the festival, and in the year that we supported the schools over 700 students attended the event. For the schools that still found difficulty in taking students to Bath, we decided to work with Bath Festivals to bring the authors to Frome as part of an outreach programme. At the end of this endeavour, we estimated that nearly 1,000 students ages 4 to 18 participated in an author workshop during the Bath Children’s Literature Festival. Many of the students finding it an engaging experience to take part in that sparked an excitement for literacy and words.