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A Novel Event For Isle Of Islay School


Port Ellen primary school pupils on Islay got their creative juices flowing this week during an interactive workshop with popular children’s author Vivian French.

The lucky pupils from primary one to seven secured the visit as their prize for being the winning school in the ScottishPower Story Swap Shop 2011.

The excited children gathered for two sessions with Vivian who has written over 60 children’s books and recently appeared at Edinburgh International Book Festival. All pupils received guidance about fiction writing and were encouraged to create their very own stories.

Vivian set the younger school a writing challenge where she provided them with the first line of a story and asked them to continue by adding their own lines. The children proved to be very inventive, creating a story about ‘Alice the Elephant’.  The task was so popular that the school staff will be using this as a lesson for their storyboard in English.

When talking with the older children, Vivian emphasized that they were all potential authors with nothing stopping them from writing a brilliant story. The children played word association games which sparked their creativity and encouraged them to use descriptive writing in their own stories. The older pupils also chose the winning story from the two finalists of the ScottishPower Story Generator, a competition aimed at secondary schools throughout Scotland.

This is the third year ScottishPower has held its Story Swap Shop, an initiative held in partnership with the Edinburgh International Book Festival, which encourages children to recycle their old books by paying a small donation and swapping them with their classmates in order to raise money for a good cause.

Port Ellen Primary School pupils raised £100 from their Swap Shop, held earlier in the year. All money raised by schools was donated to Aberlour, which helps over 6000 vulnerable children and young people in Scotland every year.

Vivian French, author, said: “My visit to Port Ellen Primary School was thoroughly enjoyable.  I love the Scottish islands and to find out that this school won the ScottishPower Swap Shop competition was a lovely surprise.

“The pupils were so responsive and receptive to the topics, it was a very gratifying day.  The Swap Shop initiative is a great way to encourage children to get involved with reading and pick up different books which they may not normally choose.”

Vivian, whose books range from pre-school titles to those loved by early teens, spent the whole day at the school running creative sessions for both the younger and older pupils.

Kate Brown, primary teacher at Port Ellen Primary School, said:  “The children had a real treat with their visit from Vivian today; she has inspired them all with her stories and they are now keen to put pencil to paper and start writing.

“We were very happy with the success of our Swap Shop and were absolutely delighted to have won. The school took part in the Islay Book Festival at the beginning of this term so having a renowned author from the Edinburgh International Book Festival visit us is a great way to help reinforce the importance of reading.”

Ann Loughrey, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at ScottishPower said:  “Congratulations to the staff and pupils at Port Ellen Primary School for winning this year’s ScottishPower Story Swap Shop. The children really enjoyed Vivian’s visit and asked very intelligent and inquisitive questions.

“The Swap Shop initiative is a great way for pupils to learn whilst contributing to their local community. By swapping a book with one of their classmates, the children also helped a young person in need.  This meant that pupils were able to make a difference to others whilst furthering their own education.”

Sadie McKinlay, Sponsorship and Development Manager at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, said: “Swap Shop is a fantastic opportunity to encourage primary school pupils to read more.

“We are thrilled to have the support of ScottishPower with this project and pleased that it helps others whilst promoting reading to children. Vivian French’s Book festival events are always extremely popular and I’m sure that Port Ellen Primary School thoroughly enjoyed her visit.”

Schools across Scotland were invited to hold a book swap before the end of the summer term. More than 2,300 children from schools throughout the country exchanged books with their classmates, in the most successful ScottishPower Swap Shop to date.

For background on ScottishPower log onto and for more details about Aberlour visit or the Edinburgh International Book Festival visit

Issued by The BIG Partnership on behalf of ScottishPower.

For more information please contact:

Kirstin Aitken or Susanne Grant on 0141 333 9585 or /


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