Double scoop for Rochdale schools in storytelling competition

Date published: 18 January 2020

Castleton Primary and Sandbrook Community Primary have been crowned national champions in a storytelling competition.

The two primary schools were crowned champions of the contest, organised by Tales Toolkit, after they lit up the competition about storytelling in the dark with unique tales of witches, jelly, owls and hedgehogs.

Castleton Primary developed a story around Jasper the witch who, in her cave, casts water into jelly. The pupils told the story in witches’ costumes, acting out their scary faces and storytelling voices.


Castleton pupil dressed as a witch for the storytelling
Castleton pupil dressed as a witch for the storytelling


Sandbrook Community Primary were crowned storytelling champions with their story on a friendly owl and the prickly hedgehog in the night.

Schools across the borough have been using ‘Tales Toolkit’ resources - an organisation that produces interactive, child-led resources that teachers can use to encourage children to create and write stories - to enhance pupil’s language and communication skills, and to help harness their enthusiasm for storytelling as part of the council’s work on school readiness.


Sandbrook pupils Reading in Dark
Sandbrook pupils told their story of a friendly owl and a prickly hedgehog


Katy Copeland, teacher at Sandbrook, said: “Tales Toolkit is a wonderful resource which impacts massively on many areas of learning including confidence, creativity and communication skills. We have so much fun using it.

“We were thrilled to hear we had won first prize in the 'In the Dark' themed story, especially as we only started using Tales Toolkit in September. We are going to use the voucher we have won to purchase a set of big bags which our children will be able to loan and use to create stories at home with their favourite toys.”

Kate Shelley, from Tales Toolkit, said: “We absolutely loved the effort that went into Sandbrook’s entry - starting with the children dressed for night-time in their pyjamas and the lights in bags, it was big storytelling with big imaginations.”

Gemma Duggan, foundation lead at Castleton Primary, said: “The children love Tales Toolkit sessions which we do every week. It has really helped to ignite their imagination and enables all children to participate at their own level. It has really supported them to understand the structure of a story and they are now able to identify the character, setting, problem and solution in other texts we read.

“The ideas for the story for the competition came solely from the children, they’ve a fantastic imagination.”


Sandbrook pupils Reading in Dark
Sandbrook pupils told their Reading in Dark story


Tales ToolKit will be working with more schools and parents in the borough for the next two years as they have successfully won £80,000 from OVO Energy’s charity fund to help support parents and children develop their communication skills through play-based storytelling.

Councillor Kieran Heakin, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “We are fully committed to developing the communication and language skills of young children in their early years and this is a clear demonstration of the impact our work and the work of our schools is having. It’s a wonderful achievement.”

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