School visits

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Interested in inviting me to your school? You’ve come to the right place. On this page you’ll find details of:

  • the audience I usually present to
  • my presentation style
  • what I typically present in schools
  • workshops for pupils
  • CPD for teachers
  • special sessions on Business
  • special sessions on Space
  • my fees and expenses.

The audience I usually present to

I generally present to Years 3-6/Primary 4-7, so roughly ages 8-12.

I love a wide variety of audience sizes, it’s all part of the fun. I once presented to a school of 6 (yes, that was the whole school, including the infants!), while at the other extreme I’ve had an audience of almost 1,000. I’m a ‘more the merrier’ type, so those large audiences suit me just as well as the smaller ones.

My presentation style

I’m energetic (even at 0855), engaging and humorous. I think of my style as ‘stand-up literature’, with the comedy helping to get across the key educational messages. Most people respond well to laughter, but I’ve found that so-called reluctant readers  respond particularly well. After all, it’s hard not to like something that has made you laugh.

What I typically present

Every session is a little different, but typically they last about one hour and in them I:

  • briefly explain how I became an author;
  • entertain pupils with hilarious readings from my LEE novels;
  • provide practical tips to help develop story-writing skills (useful for teachers as well as pupils);
  • give away a couple of signed books as prizes in a lively competition; and
  • answer as many questions as I can.

Workshops for pupils

I usually include some educational content in my ‘normal’ school sessions, but there’s only so much time available and lots of inspiring entertainment to fit in alongside the writing tips. So, in many schools I also run workshops.

The workshops are interactive and lively – pupils hardly realise they’re being educated, but they are. One of the highlights is the pupils collectively coming up with their own story. Those stories are nearly always apocalyptic for some reason, but the content is less important that the process.

A ‘normal’ workshop lasts about an hour, but I’ve run mini workshops (30-40 mins) and even supermini workshops (20 mins).

CPD for teachers

I’m regularly asked to run CPD sessions to teachers, either as part of a visit (usually a quick session immediately after the end of the school day) or as part of an in-service/inset day.

These sessions cover a variety of topics, from how to motivate reluctant readers to how authors structure their stories (it’s often very different to what they were taught at school); from how editors edit to why many authors avoid adverbs.

What I cover often depends on the particular issues a school faces.

I don’t have standard fees for CPD sessions because their nature varies so much, but if you let me know what you’re after I’ll be happy to quote you a price.

Special sessions on Business

As well as being an author, I also run a publishing business. And before I did any of that I ran large parts of other people’s service sector businesses.

It was that background that inspired me to write Lee Goes For Gold. At school I learned a lot that I used in business, but the one thing I learned nothing about was how business worked. Lee Goes For Gold is my way of conveying the basics of business through a novel – how companies decide what to sell and how to distribute; how they find their customers; how they decide what to charge; and so on.

Many schools studying Business as a topic invite me in for an author session in which I also explore some of the questions above. It’s something I’m keen to do. After all, most of us will work for a business at some point and we all deal with them every day as consumers.

Special sessions on Space

Lee on the Dark Side of the Moon is a useful cross-curricular tool for any class studying Space and many read it as a way of kick-starting a term’s topic.

Now, I’m no Professor Brian Cox, but I do have an interest in all things spacey and I learned  a bit more as I researched the book. (I was particularly pleased to discover that NASA’s website has a special section on how to go to the toilet in space!)

I love being invited into schools when pupils are delving into the mysteries of the universe. I can talk about Lee’s attempt to reach the Moon and compare it with Tim Peake’s recent journey. (Lee’s is a bit less predictable!) If yours is one of those schools…get in touch.

I have even been known to bring my own space rocket to some sessions. (Honestly!)

My fees and expenses

  • Single session (1 hour): £175
  • Half a day (e.g. 2 sessions, or 1 session + 2 mini workshops): £275
  • Full day (e.g. 2 sessions + 2 workshops + 2 mini workshops): £399
  • Travel expenses: a maximum of £39 in the UK no matter where you are – capped so schools know their maximum cost – and less if it costs me less.