On Friday 23rd November, Leigh Academies Trust were delighted to welcome Michael Rosen to The Leigh Academy for the first LAT professional seminar. The event was open to LAT staff and also the local community, with over 100 people present to hear a keynote speech by the former Children’s Laureate and participate in a ‘ Reading Poetry for Pleasure ‘ workshop.

Michael provided thought provoking discussion on how we can encourage and support reading for pleasure. He reflected on how school lessons and teachers are key to inspiring students to develop their creativity, and question literature in order to continue to encourage the poets and authors of the future. His humorous anecdotes and personal views ensured that the evening was not only a fantastic professional development opportunity but also an entertaining event.

Delegates were quick to identify the new format for professional development and the opportunity for the local community to join the event, “It was a fantastic way to provide professional development and celebrate poetry, Michael was inspirational, and gave us practical tips on how to bring poetry to life for our young people” Faye McGill Director of Improvement for English. Lisa Bodle, Director of Learning for English at The Leigh Academy saw the event as ” A wonderful opportunity for us as teachers to reflect on why we do what we do, and to enjoy Michael’s stories and humour“.

Karina O’Malley, Director of Improvement for English said “On Friday I had the absolute delight of meeting Michael Rosen. I felt I knew him, of course, as I had often listened to his melodic voice on Radio 4. Michael appeared donning his Arsenal hat. When he stepped into my car it was like the doors of Narnia opened; a world where Saki’s tapestry came to life and bounded out of The Lumber Room. He chatted all the way; memories shared and evoked. He was engaging as he was interesting. His session was just as funny as I began to expect. When he spoke about poetry it was as if the poems lifted up their britches and ran around in riotous joy. Poetry for those couple of hours was a living, breathing organism- alive and kicking.  He was inspiring.  He reminded us all why we love literature.  The Leigh Academy was set up beautifully. Everyone was really delighted with both the location and the guest. People who presented as part of the workshop did particularly well with enthusiasm and energy.  Thanks to all those who organised this wonderful event.

The event also offered the opportunity to explore Rosen’s vast collection of work and Michael was very generous with his time when signing books and answering questions on his much loved poems and stories.

The event is the first of four similar events to be held by Leigh Academies Trust this Academic year.