Our Class Loves This Book: The John Downing Award

For the second year running, Just Imagine were delighted to sponsor the Our Class Loves This Book: The John Downing Award.

Vicky Edge-Baron, from Just Imagine, presented the award at the UKLA International Conference in Glasgow on 1st July 2017.

Reporting on their decision-making, the UKLA panel said they had found it impossible to decide between the final 2 entries this year, so were eventually delighted to announce two winners in 2017 for this award, which celebrates creative teaching inspired by quality texts: one for a class entry and for the first time, one for a whole school entry.

The individual winner was Audrey Simpson and her P2/1 class of 6 and 7 year olds from Newmains Primary, Renfrew for their work on Richard Byrne’s This Book just Ate My Dog! (published by OUP)

The whole school winning entry was from Neston Primary School, Cheshire and is a collection of work from every class in response to Atlas of Adventures, by Lucy Letherland and Rachel Williams (published by Wide Eyed Editions)

Joy Court, chair of judges, writes

“The panel had a very difficult job in selecting an overall winner from the high quality of entries we received.

They particularly enjoyed the way that Audrey Simpson had enthused her young class with Richard Byrne’s hilarious book culminating in their deciding to write their own version of the story, which they called This book just ate my class! The entry included a video showing the class enthusiastically retelling and acting out their story with some excellent dramatic effects.

They were also particularly impressed by Neston Primary School having chosen to use Atlas of Adventures for a unit of cross curricular work involving the whole school. The entry demonstrated that they had been able to explore history, science, geography music, dance, art, design and drama from the stimulus provided by this single shared text. Their beautifully prepared scrapbook made inventive use of QR codes to link to video and musical demonstrations of the high quality work they produced as well as presenting examples of creative writing and art work throughout the school.”

  • This award encourages teachers across the UK (and beyond) to read and explore books shortlisted for the previous year’s UKLA Book Award.
  • Teachers are encouraged to explore these books in detail, by not only looking at the author and the text, but also immersing their classes into worlds of possibility thinking.
  • The winning teacher and author receive a framed, signed limited edition print of the award logo designed by author/illustrator Chris Wormell (author of first winner OCLTB)
  • Where possible, UKLA arranges an author visit to the winning school
  • John Downing was the first UKLA (then UKRA) president