On Tuesday 28th March, I visited St Paul’s Crompton to make Better Places and here’s how it went.

After catching the 37 from Chapel Street, I got off on Crompton Street Walkden, to visit St Paul’s Crompton Street Primary School. The Crompton is an important distinction to make with another St Paul’s close by, as I come to learn throughout the day.

I walked into reception and signed in before being reminded that today was the school’s OFSTED visit. I was told the night before but had forgotten. St Paul’s assured me that they were glad to have me in that day to show the extra curricular activities and learning they offer children. Normally, I think the would have made me feel a little more pressured but the welcome from staff members put me at ease.

This was my first half day visit too and started with some book signings for children who had purchased them in the library area. I’ve been genuinely overwhelmed with how many books have sold in schools. Parents and students response has been brilliant. It It’s so nice to be able to speak to the children, ask them their names and to spell them before signing and handing over to them. Such a good feeling. After the signings,

I was shown in to meet with the ‘We Are All Unique’ committee; a group of students dedicated to reflecting and ensuring diversity in their school, to do a questions and answer session. They’d come very well prepared and asked everything from what inspired me to write the books, how did I start and what my plans are for the series. It was done in good time and very professionally by all students who took part.


Then came time for the interactive school reading. Students came in to sit down in rows which always takes me back to my school days. Once they were settled, I was introduced with Nicky and Candy’s Street on a big screen behind me to begin the reading. The students and staff were great. All eager to answer questions, full of smiles and laughs at the story and, of course, the chanting and moving to make places better. Apparently OFSTED were stood at the door as we were chanting “put your dog poo in the bin, puuuut your dog poo in the bin” in a  football style chant. One of the teachers joked they couldn’t wait to see that on the report (i can’t either) as well as the lovely following message.

“On behalf of all the staff and children at St Paul’s School we would like to say a huge thank you for this afternoon. The children were so excited to talk about your visit during the afternoon. Lots of reception were singing the little rhymes from your book!

The staff loved the assembly as much as the children and many said ‘it was just what we needed today’ with us having Ofsted in!”

The rest of the day was spent with Year 3 to do our Better Places in the real world activities. They had some great ideas about how we could make local places better and we’re able to articulate them well through drawing and presentation. I managed to catch up with Henry, Isabella, Lexie and Lucy as the day came to and end to learn what they’d taken from their Better Places visit which you can catch up on here St Paul’s Crompton, thanks for making Better Places. If you’d like to book a visit for your school, you can do so here.

Witten by Ben Andrews on