My World Book Day round 2 visit was with Westbrook Primary School in London

I met Richard, Centre Leader and Specialist Teacher for visually impaired children for Westbrook Primary School, at Sight Village Southeast – London in November 2023. Richard booked me in there and then for Westbrook Primary Schools World Book Day 2024 activities.

On entering the school, we were greeted by Cruella De Vil (receptionist) and some back-office Dalmatians. Soon after Dumbledore (Richard) appeared. They assured me this wasn’t their usual attire and was just for World Book Day. I wasn’t convinced.

Richard gave us a tour and explained, while it was a mainstream school, it had been specifically designed with visually impaired children in mind to support true integration. There were stickers on any glass panels (which I definitely would have walked into otherwise), noticeboards designed as landmark to provider focal points around the school and a specialist team there to support as and when needed. It was amazing to learn how much effort had gone into the little details to make the school inclusive. It gave me a real feeling of content knowing that this is the way the world is heading – with Westbrook a great example and guiding the way.

They know how to look after their guests too with our own room, selection of teas, coffees, cakes and biscuits and a huge buffet lunch which was really appreciated.

I was then showed down to my first classroom and from there worked my way through readings with three reception classes and two year one classes.

All children and staff were really engaged with the readings – despite the potential distractions of Superman, Harry Potter and a variety of princesses being sat on the carpet (and my very Northern accent).

We chatted, laughed and chanted our way through Nicky and Candys Street towards Better Places.

This was different to my usual engagements which tends to be a whole school reading followed by lessons with a class or two. I really enjoyed doing the same reading with different classes and year groups. It was really interesting to see how much the children grew and how their interactions, comprehensions and questioning developed in just one year. We went from children telling me they had a cat as a question which sparked a whole load of pet related chatter to children asking me how book pages are produced!



My final session was with students with visual impairments. This was different to the other classes as I wanted to share a bit more about my own experience as a blind person, slightly (a lot) older than the children there. We talked about my childhood, education, careers and eventually Nicky and Candy’s Street. I was a little nervous about how it’d go down with people of varying age. But this was soon lost as they all joined in and got involved with as much enthusiasm as any other group, I’d worked with that day which I was very grateful for. Throughout this session, children shared their own experience of life with a visual impairment and asked some questions about what’s to come for them and the book. I love working with all children but there’s something special about working with those who have a similar experience to your own. There’s an immediate connection, understanding and element of affection there. They were all lovely, bright and I’m excited to see what their futures bring.

We finished with this photo of the visually impaired students and the amazing staff team supporting them. As we stood there all smiling for our photo, that feeling of content came back knowing how well supported the students were by staff and how passionate the team were about providing this support to enable students to do whatever they want to do with their lives.




Richard showed us out of the school with an invitation of a visit next World Book Day. Given the amazing visit I’d just had, I snapped this up without a second thought and honestly can’t wait to get back there to see how everyone’s getting on.

Until then, Westbrook, thanks for making Better Places. I’ll see all at the same time next year.

Witten by Ben Andrews on