David Horner taught English and Drama for 15 years. He went on to be an advisory teacher with Cheshire LEA for 6 years and then a freelance writer and storyteller for nearly 20 years. He has an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University.
David's poems have appeared in many children's anthologies (most satisfyingly when sandwiched alphabetically between Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes) and been featured on radio - even making it once onto Radio 4’s Pick of the Week. With his regular illustrator Anne Hodgkiss, he has also written and published 10 books of poems for children.
David has written regularly on creative writing in relation to young readers and writers in various educational journals. He has given readings and performances to audiences of all ages and abilities, provided INSET sessions across the UK and run workshops with children in over 1000 schools from Swindon to Singapore and Derbyshire to Dubai! Requests for return visits have meant a constant need for fresh ideas – ones that would work successfully in the limited period of a busy school timetable!
David is married to Judith, has two children and five grandchildren. He contributes regularly to Goodeyedeers, a joint venture with a local retired head teacher, publishing online material for teachers on the TES platform with all proceeds going to their chosen charity MedEquip4kids.
Debbie is an experienced MFL secondary school teacher who teaches in Ipswich. Her main interest in the classroom is engaging and enthusing students with her creative ideas. Her main interests outside of the classroom are travelling and hosting murder mystery parties.
Dorothy M Hamilton was passionate about learning French from a very young age whilst at primary school. She kept this interest up all the way through school eventually achieving a degree in French from UEA.
Dorothy has been a French teacher for 28 years initially teaching Secondary pupils and for the last ten years younger pupils aged 5-11. She spent a year teaching French in North Carolina, USA from 1990-91. This was her first experience of teaching younger pupils and it was highly enjoyable. Dorothy was also able to see what an incredible level of performance was possible in such young pupils.
Since working with younger pupils, Dorothy has been convinced of the power of getting children to perform in French as a learning tool. There weren’t any suitable scripts of well-known stories available at the time, so she started writing her own about eight years ago. Initially, the plays were faithful to the original story, but over the years, Dorothy started changing them to fit in with a chosen linguistic topic and include as much humour as possible. Dorothy has loved the challenge of doing this and the children love performing in the plays. The long-term benefit for them in terms of their language learning is huge. The audience reaction to them among her colleagues and parents of the children has been very positive over the years.
Dorothy's pupils were invited to perform Cendrillon to a group of about 40 MFL teachers and leading figures in Education in June 2015. The play was very well-received with compliments to the pupils on their performance and pronunciation. There was a lot of interest in the script from the teachers in the audience and Dorothy was encouraged to get her scripts published and available to a wider audience. You can find all Dorothy's plays in Fun French Fairy Tale Plays.
Elizabeth has been working with SEN pupils in primary and secondary settings since graduating from the University of Sussex with an English Language BA in 2014. She has spent many an hour helping SEN pupils in English Literature lessons as a teaching assistant, and figured out along the way that simple, engaging visual retellings of stories across the GCSE English curriculum prove effective in helping the pupils to understand what they are reading. Currently she works as Inclusion Coordinator at an Outstanding-graded London school, where she also delivers speech and language interventions, and always tries to make learning as visual and engaging as possible.
Gary Nott was born in 1963. He grew up in the 1970’s reading Enid Blyton and visiting circuses – an early passion! He has been the head teacher of schools for twenty years; twice serving as an executive head teacher. Married to Suzanne, he has three young children.
Gary divides his time between school, family and writing. Needing lots of good assembly stories to read to his own pupils, he decided to write his own. Gary has also written a novel for children (2015) and a primary history text book.
Gavin Middlewood is an experienced primary-school teacher who is currently working in Northampton. He specializes in drama, PSHE and MFL, and has worked upon a number of local projects and initiatives. He has recently scraped into his 40s, and is now doing grown-up things like getting married and playing in a band (much to the embarrassment of his two children). Gavin believes that learning should be a lifelong experience and he packs as much into every day as is humanly possible. To illustrate this point, he has just qualified as a hypnotherapist.
Crowned Mr Universe in 1986, Giles spent the remainder of the decade touring with The Rolling Stones as lead guitarist. Finding the late nights and unwanted attention of groupies disruptive, Giles pursued his sporting interests. Despite conquering Mount Everest and becoming the first Englishman to walk to the South Pole backwards, Giles felt unfulfilled and craved the stimulation and rewards of the classroom. He has been teaching in Birmingham for the last 20 years and is presently Deputy Head Teacher of a large Junior School rated as “outstanding” by OFSTED. Giles writes regularly for a number of educational publications and has acted as a consultant in the Arts and Creativity nationally.