Forrester Short Story Award
Winner 2016
Cathy MacPhail http://www.cathymacphail.com/ Stars Shall be Bright - won EVERY category in every class and was the favourite title overall in 3/5 classes. She came in to visit all S1s in January 2016 and accept her award!

About the Short Story Award:
Why short novels?
The Forrester Short Story Award(FSSA) was a 100% inclusive award, comparing three dyslexic-friendly stories. The aim was to celebrate dyslexia-friendly fiction, enabling young people to take part in a book award that was accessible for all learners. In doing so it would increase awareness of and support pupils with dyslexia at Forrester High.

How did you structure the Short Novel Award?
The School Librarian and CL English approached Barrington Stoke Publishers http://www.barringtonstoke.co.uk/ (dyslexic-friendly specialists) who suggested the three titles for S1 learners to compare. The shortlisted titles in 2016 were: The Return of Johnny Kemp by Keith Gray, Respect by Michaela Morgan and Stars Shall Be Bright by Cathy MacPhail.


The FSSA was launched during Dyslexia Awareness Week Scotland (7th-12th Nov). Each title was read, discussed and voted on within a single period in English and the winner was announced during Book Week Scotland (21st-27th Nov). We asked learners to focus on four aspects of each book - characters, story, book cover and setting - giving a mark out of 5 for each category on voting forms. Barrington Stoke arranged for the winning author to visit school and speak to all learners involved.

What were the benefits for our pupils?
  • Removal of any perceived stigma about dyslexia and enabling greater understanding
  • Celebrate and promote dyslexia-friendly fiction
  • Learners have really enjoyed discussing these books
  • Learners feel valued and that their opinions matter
  • Unlike other book awards, focusing on dyslexia-friendly titles enabled all learners to be fully and equally involved regardless of literacy ability, reading at their interest age and level.
  • Focused event didn’t take a long time to run (three periods to read and vote and one period for author visit)

Any top tips for promoting a love of reading in schools?
Keep up to date with current reading trends. Subscribe to publisher e-newsletters and author websites. Listen to learners about what they want to read and supply it asap, at Forrester High we call this ‘Cool Reads’ and pop a sticker on the front cover to show that it was a title requested by and purchased for a pupil. This increases learner involvement with reading, expands variety /learner choices of text and creates a positive ethos for reading.


SEPTEMBER 2016
Changing Faces
Lorna Telford from the charity Changing Faces visited both Mrs Herrera's S2 class and all of S3 this month to talk about facial equality.

How much does our facial appearance affect how we see ourselves and others? What should we do and not do when we meet someone with a disfigurement? These are important issues Lorna discussed with our S3 pupils.

Mrs Herrera and Miss McLaren's S2 have been studying the play version of Frankenstein. We have discussed the themes of prejudice and appearance v reality.

Consider the connotations of the words “creature” vs “monster”. Why does everyone call Frankenstein’s creature a “monster” when he’s actually good? Who are the real “monsters” when the humans are the ones who attack him without reason? Why do they assume he’s bad based on his appearance?

We also looked at examples of movie villains who have facial disfigurements and talked about the lazy Hollywood trope of the scarred villain. These stereotypes perpetuate the myth that "ugly" = imperfection, as well as evil, while "beautiful" = perfect, and good.

Lorna spoke to S2 from the official Changing Faces standpoint to highlight to S2 how they should challenge their beliefs/attitudes towards people with disfigurements.


Here are some comments from S3 highlighting what they learned:

"I have learned how people with disfigurements feel when everyone stares and points at them."

"Even though people look different on the outside doesn't mean they're different inside."

"If you want to ask a disfigured person how they got their disfigurement, get to know them first."

"If you're looking at someone and they look back just smile. Look at the bridge of their nose when you're talking to them."

"How to talk to someone with a disfigurement."

"Not to make fun of people with a different appearance."

"That nobody is normal, everybody is different in their own way."

"It doesn't matter what you look like, everyone should be treated equally."

"That people with disfigurements get bullied a lot."

"Don't be cruel to someone with a disfigurement because they didn't choose to look like that."

"Don't judge someone with a disfigurement because you don't know what they went through that made them have that disfigurement."

"That having a disfigurement doesn't change a person's identity."

"Not to be shy when talking to someone with a disfigurement."

"I have learned that you don't have to be afraid of who you are."

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OCTOBER 2015Allan Crow, Fife Free Press
Editor of the Fife Free Press, Allan Crow, visited our senior Journalism students to talk about life as a journalist, creating articles that sell, how to do successful interviews, and what it was like to be there the day someone egged Jim Murphy...

Allan Crow with journalism students Devon Greenshields, Fraser Sutherland, Lewis Cook, Franziska Engelhardt, Taylor Hoy and Abbi Fisher.
Allan Crow with journalism students Devon Greenshields, Fraser Sutherland, Lewis Cook, Franziska Engelhardt, Taylor Hoy and Abbi Fisher.

FEBRUARY 2014Mary Turner-Thompson
Internationally published and best-selling author, Mary Turner Thompson, ran a workshop with S1 to inspire their Heroes and Villains creative writing project. She took them through the process of understanding and creating character, based on personality types, and in a very fun, high energy afternoon, all of our S1 managed to create some wonderful characters. Out of these, their published stories were born!

Heroes and Villains Book Launch - June 2014

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JANUARY 2014Forrester’s Media TalentForrester pupils who have shown a keen interest in a career in Media have grasped the opportunity to work with professionals from Screen Education Edinburgh, to dream up and write down their original movie ideas. They have scripted storylines based on these initial thoughts and filmed on location using quality equipment. As we speak, they are holed up in professional editing suites, adding voice-overs to final cuts of their two chosen short films. Our Forrester stars of the future have been lucky enough to learn the skills required for all the roles necessary when working in film and have had a ‘front line’ taster of all that such a career requires and could offer them.
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‘I think the best part about the whole experience is getting used to professional things, like cameras, lighting, sound and editing. Also, getting professional advice on things like the ideas.’ (Sarah Walls, 3B2)

The team hopes to be calling ‘It’s a wrap’ in the next few weeks, with their films premiering at a local cinema. While on location, a photographer (jcmackintosh@virginmedia.com) asked to take the opportunity to capture the moment – professional, dedicated and motivated individuals working together in order to achieve something great.


December 2013ALAN BISSETT

Award winning and hilarious author, playwright and poet Alan Bissett visited our school to work with all of our S5 & 6 Higher pupils on dramatic monologues. In three separate fun-filled hour long workshops, they learned about creating a strong character, the key to a successful structure and how to engage the audience. All pupils worked very hard and are on track for creating a great folio piece!

Many thanks go to the Parent-Teacher Association, whose generous donation allowed this fantastic workshop to take place.

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