Our Champions’ Experience in Edinburgh

Scottish Teenage Book Prize 2018 Champions – S3 Pupils and The Edinburgh Experience 23 and 24 January

Our Library and S3 English department collaborative Scottish Teenage Book Prize project plans netted us the opportunity to be Schools Champion of Scotland for the Teenage Book Prize 2018. Scottish Book Trust were very impressed with our Librarian Shelagh Toonen’s and English teacher Helen Bodiam’s plans for the project, which also support our efforts to become a Rights Respecting School. We received funding for inter-disciplinary working, as well as further support for taking our project onwards. This included a visit to the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood, Edinburgh Castle, as well as a talk and book buying in Blackwell’s Bookshop

Pupils had an amazing time donning the Schools Champion cap!


We left school at 7am on Tuesday 23 January, Edinburgh-bound for our ScotTeenBookPrize pupils and Mrs Toonen, Mrs Bodiam & Mr Campbell, the school ICT Technician.

Books. Literacy. Learning. Sharing. Excitements!

Edinburgh Castle

We arrived on a very wet & windy day at Edinburgh Castle, but a nook was found for lunch. There was lots of chat about ideas about human rights from the Prisoner of War exhibition in the afternoon and plans were made for some filming for book trailers.

Max and Cameron filmed the cannon, the smoke & got the sound effects at the castle for their Welcome to Nowhere book trailer. These book trailers will be part of the S2 book talks next month. Our Scottish Teenage Book Prize pupils are taking their role as advocates seriously!

Thank you to Edinburgh Castle for a great afternoon.

Our group then headed for the youth hostel and on to Frankie and Benny’s for dinner and day one was done.

Blackwell’s Bookshop

Edinburgh day two, Wednesday 24 January and our first visit was to the brilliant Blackwell’s of Edinburgh. This began with a hugely enjoyable talk from hosts Ann & Kirsty, followed by a tour of the shop. There was so much to learn & see.

Grace and Emma, reading from the Harry Potter Scots edition, was a highlight during our bookshop tour. Some of the pupils, our Super Six, fundraised for the Edinburgh trip, in very imaginative ways, including a mystery evening, making Christmas cards & babysitting. There were book tokens all round, to use in Blackwell’s. Everyone enjoyed browsing and buying books and what a haul we had at the end of this visit!

Thank you Ann & Kirsty at Blackwell’s Edinburgh for a fascinating tour & talk. We especially enjoyed hearing about the cellar being part of the old Edinburgh Infirmary – gory stuff – and the history of Blackwell’s and book buying & selling. In fact, everything!

Scottish Parliament

An alfresco lunch was next and everyone was looking forward to our afternoon with the Education Group at the Scottish Parliament and to meeting MSPS. This was the last part of The Edinburgh Experience for our ScotTeenBookPrize pupils.

We enjoyed an illuminating talk from Elizabeth from the Education department of the Scottish Parliament Thank you Elizabeth and her colleagues. This talk and interactive quiz, using Ipads, was followed by a Q&A session with MSPs Jamie Halcro-Johnstone and Richard Lochhead.  Mr Halcro-Johnstone had to leave to attend a debate and Mr Lochhead stayed on with our group. There was lots of chat about lots of issues. Includingsharing favourite books & telling him about being Scottish Teenage Book Champion and plans to be advocates for the three shortlisted books. Mrs Toonen also had an opportunity to meet and chat with Mr Lochhead, before we all headed upstairs to watch a live debate, which was hugely exciting. It was mentioned that we were watching democracy in action!

Our Edinburgh Experience has provided all with lots of ideas to take back to school & for taking our project forwards

Huge thanks to Scottish Book Trust and Kelsey Jubin for their support.

Lots of activities, events and opportunities ahead.