Category: Literacy

Zetland Park Fountain Tales: Creative Writing Resource

Welcome to the Zetland Park Fountain Tales: Creative Writing Resource

Inside the Teacher’s Guide below and the supporting series of 12 creative writing tip videos you will find all the information that you need to deliver engaging literacy lessons that explore the mystery of the missing statue from the top of the Zetland Park fountain. The fountain is the only surviving element of the original park, and is depicted on a commemorative medal struck in 1882 to celebrate the opening of the park.

The videos and accompanying teaching resources and activities cover: genre, setting and atmosphere, characterisation, narrative voice, and different forms of writing. The short videos introduce these areas through three different characters linked to aspects of Zetland Park – a Victorian Lady linked to the opening of the park in 1882, an archaeologist on the dig site explored in 2019, and a fairy in the ten-door woodland fairy trail within the park. 

The learning material included are best suited to pupils aged 8 – 11 years.  You can use the resources any way you please, dipping in and out of activities as required.

To celebrate the Grand Re-Opening of Zetland Park in 2022, school children are invited to enter their stories into our Fountain Tales Creative Writing Competition. Entries close on 1st June 2022 and winners will be announced on 20th June 2022. Winning entries will be read out at the Grand Re-Opening Ceremony on 28th August 2022, will be placed on Victoria Williamson’s website, and will also be published as an e-Book on Borrowbox.

Submit you stories via email to and please include the following information:

  • Students Name
  • Name of school and class (if applicable)
  • Contact information (email and telephone number) so that we can notify you of the winners

The privacy notice for the Fountain Tales Competition can be found here.

Good luck!

Download the Zetland Park Fountain Tales: Creative Writing Resource Pack

YOTO Carnegie and Greenaway medals – longlist announced!



The UK’s longest running and best-loved book awards for children and young people, the Yoto Carnegie Greenaway Awards, have announced the longlists for 2022.

33 books have been selected in total – 18 for the Yoto Carnegie Medal and 15 for the Yoto Kate Greenaway Medal – with themes of community and connection, shared humanity and friendship all explored in the titles.

The Awards celebrate outstanding achievement in children’s writing and illustration respectively and are unique in being judged by children’s librarians, with the Shadowers’ Choice Award voted for by children and young people.

Reading Schools Accreditation

In 2019–20, Falkirk Council piloted the Reading Schools accreditation programme as part of a FVWL RIC initiative. Evaluation showed clear evidence of impact on learners, learning professionals and schools as a whole.

  • 80% agreed that taking part in Reading Schools helped their school to support learners who are not enthusiastic readers
  • 85% agreed that taking part in Reading Schools helped learners to develop a love of reading
  • 70% agreed that taking part in Reading Schools supported learners’ attainment
  • 80% agreed that taking part in Reading Schools supported learners’ health and wellbeing

Based on the positive evidence of impact, the programme has been extended to all of Scotland’s schools.

Are you committed to building a culture of reading for your learners and communities? Research proves that reading for pleasure has positive impacts on learners’ attainment across the curriculum, supporting wellbeing, critical thinking, creativity, empathy and resilience.

Visit the website to find how to apply for accreditation and to find a range of very helpful advice and examples from schools who have gone through the accreditation process.


The Reading Schools team have arranged for a drop in session on Teams to give staff in Falkirk Council an opportunity to ask for any help or advice on the Reading Schools accreditation application. The team will also offer suggestions for best practice, tips for gathering and submitting evidence and general support for schools working towards becoming a Reading School.

The details of this session are:

Thursday 10 February 2022

Sign up here


Live Literature funding

Apply now for Scottish Book Trust’s Live Literature programme, a wonderful opportunity to invite an author to your school for £75 instead of £175. Scottish Book Trust will pay the rest of the fees and travel costs.

The current application window covers Live Literature events taking place before 31 March 2023. There will be a series of rolling deadlines throughout the year, up until the final deadline of 21 November 2022. Deadlines for each panel are listed below.

All applications should be received no later than midday on each deadline date.

  • 21 February deadline – 28 February panel
  • 25 April deadline – 2 May panel
  • 29 August deadline – 5 September panel
  • 21 November deadline – 28 November panel


The Falkirk Canals Classroom

Welcome to the Falkirk Canals Classroom, an activity pack for primary school students that celebrates the fascinating history of the Union and Forth & Clyde canals in the Falkirk area.

Below, you will find everything you need to deliver lessons on the canals, with hands-on activities to do on the banks and in the classroom, canal heritage landmarks and links, and multimedia exploration of Falkirk’s historic waterways. The learning materials included connect to every curriculum area, and you can use the resources any way you please!

Stack them together to build a lesson, use them to enhance a bigger topic, or work through the whole booklet!

In addition to the activities there are plenty of optional extras, extension ideas and links to further resources – so it’s up to you!

Find individual subject area packs, or the full version of the information below:

Falkirk Canals Classroom – full pack

Falkirk Canals Classroom – in full – click here to download pdf or view below

Subject area packs

1) History and the Canalsclick here to download pdf or view below

History and the Canals

2) Geography and the Canalsclick here to download pdf or view below

Geography and the Canals

3) Art and the Canalsclick here to download pdf or view below

Art and the Canals


4) Health & Wellbeing and the Canalsclick here to download pdf or view below

Health and Wellbeing on the Canals


5) Science and the Canalsclick here to download pdf or view below

Science and the Canals


6) Maths and the Canalsclick here to download pdf or view below

Maths and the Canals


7) Modern Studies and the Canalsclick here to download pdf or view below

Modern Studies and the Canals


8) Literacy and the Canalsclick here to download pdf or view below

Literacy and the Canals


9) Falkirk Canal Classroom Activitiesclick here to download pdf or view below

RED Book Award History

Previous winners and shortlists:

RED 15 (2020-2021 award): Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin Illegal


  • Summer Bird Blue, Akemi Dawn Bowman
  • A Pocketful of Stars, Aisha Bushby
  • My Name’s Not Friday, Jon Walter

RED 14 (2019-2020 award): Lauren James The Quiet at the End of the World


  • Orphan Monster Spy, Matt Killeen
  • The Closest Thing to Flying, Gill Lewis
  • Outwalkers, Fiona Shaw

RED 13 (2018-2019 award): Phyllida Shrimpton Sunflowers in February


  • Kick Mitch Johnson
  • I am Traitor Sif Sigmarsdottir
  • Sky Thieves Dan Walker

RED 12 (2017-2018 award): Elizabeth Laird Welcome to Nowhere       


  • Boy X Dan Smith
  • Hell and High Water Tanya Landman
  • Rebel of the Sands Alwyn Hamilton

RED 11 (2016-2017 award): 13 Hours by Narinder Dhami


  • The Apple Tart of Hope Sarah M Fitzgerald
  • The Year of the Rat Clare Furniss
  • Devil You Know Cathy MacPhail

RED 10 (2015-2016 award): Mind Blind by Lari Don


  • Beneath Gill Arbuthnot
  • Salvage Keren David
  • Inflicted Ria Frances

RED 9 (2014-2015 award): Raining Fire by Alan Gibbons


  • Rat Runners Oisin McGann
  • Mosi’s War Cathy MacPhail
  • Soul Shadows Alex Woolf

RED 8 (2013-2014 award): Slated byTeri Terry


  • Mortal Chaos Matt Dickinson
  • Torn David Massey
  • Mr Creecher Chris Priestly

RED 7 (2012-2013 award): An Act of Love by Alan Gibbons


  • My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece Annabel Pitcher
  • Gladiator Simon Scarrow
  • Blood Red Road Moira Young

RED 6 (2011-12 award): Wasted by Nicola Morgan


  • Ausländer Paul Dowswell
  • Koh Tabu Ann Kelley
  • Black Out Sam Mills
  • Timeriders Alex Scarrow

RED 5 (2010-11 award): Grass by Cathy MacPhail


  • Wolfcry Julia Golding
  • Colony J A Henderson
  • Chalkline Jane Mitchell
  • Deathwatch Nicola Morgan

RED 4 (2009-10 award): Divided City by Theresa Breslin


  • Don’t Tell Sandra Glover
  • Beast Ally Kennan
  • Forged in the Fire Ann Turnbull

RED 3 (2008-09 award): Worse Than Boys by Cathy MacPhail


  • Message from Mia Sandra Glover
  • Bunker 10 J A Henderson Fearless Tim Lott
  • Alone on a Wide, Wide Sea Michael Morpurgo

RED 2 (2007-08 award): Blood Ties by Sophie McKenzie


  • The Ice Cream Con Jimmy Docherty
  • Ostrich Boys Keith Gray
  • Strangled Silence Oisin McGann
  • Spider Linda Strachan

RED 1 (2006-07 award): Looking for JJ by Anne Cassidy


  • The Star of Kazan Eva Ibbotson
  • Airborn Kenneth Oppel
  • Tamar Mal Peet
  • Montmorency Eleanor Updale

School Library Development: Sacred Heart Primary School Case Study

One of our main roles in supporting our primary schools is to help them develop and refurbish their school libraries. We tailor our support according to the needs of each school and the remit they provide. It can range from advice, purchasing new books, reorganisation, library cataloguing systems and full library refurbishments.

At the moment we are working with nine schools across the authority to improve their school library, all with different needs and budgets.

Sacred Heart Primary School are undertaking a complete refurbishment of their library. Pupil librarians have been heavily involved with the decision making and priority is given to pupil voice so that the pupils all have input into the new library. What they wanted is what most pupils want when they are asked about their school library – more and better books and somewhere comfortable to read them!

As you can see from the pictures we have a lot of work to do. As with all our library development work, we have a very close partnership with the SLT, staff, pupils and often parents, as it takes a community to build a library.

The room has been painted and given a new carpet, so we have a blank canvass to work with and imprint the school’s vision. Some of the old shelving is being reused, as it is still in good condition, which means we can focus on adding new areas: a digital area/makerspace, a comfy story corner with rug, browsing boxes for picture books and beanbags, a more grownup reading area for the older pupils with sofas and an ASC zone with a range of different non-book resources to support children with specific needs.

The old books have been ruthlessly weeded by the pupils and only the best quality retained for the new library. We have purchased a range of new, diverse and inclusive books in consultation with the pupils – popular authors like Jeff Kinney, Liz Pichon, Julia Donaldson, David Walliams etc., books in school community languages, comics and graphic novels, picture books for older pupils, wordless books, fact books, hobbies/interests and dyslexia friendly books. We also use our expertise to ensure there is a range of books to suit every level of reader, that the selection is diverse and inclusive and includes quality, modern books that the pupils have yet to discover.

We are currently waiting on delivery of the new furniture and more books, but we gave the pupils a sneak peak at the new books during Book Week Scotland and the excitement to get reading was palpable! The pupils were asked what reading means to them and the feedback will be used to create special artwork on the library walls.

A lot of work still to do but watch this space to see the finished library.

#Falkirk Reading Teachers’ Early Years Book Group: STEM Focus

Our Early Years Book Group has been looking at new picture books that can be used for STEM. Picture books are fantastic for stimulating learning and many are wonderful for a STEM Through Stories focus. The Falkirk STEM Officers support us by providing story planners for each book to give teachers and practitioners a starting point but our members always find creative ways to use the books and bring the learning to life.

King of the Swamp by Catherine Emmett and Ben Mantle

King of the Swamp Plan

McDarkly lives all on his own, growing orchids in his dank swamp, until one day his peace is disturbed by an arrogant king who wants to turn the swamp into a roller-skate park. This story is brilliant for looking at nature, minibeasts and environmental issues.

Practitioners took the book with them on a visit to the local woods and it stimulated lots of role-play and den building. One child commented that they didn’t want them to ‘take away our green stuff’ when they saw building work happening nearby.


Tad: a big story about a brave minibeast by Benji Davies

Tad Plan

Tad is the smallest tadpole in the pond and she is scared of ‘Big Blub’. When the other tadpoles start to disappear she worries ‘Big Blub’ has got them. This story is brilliant for looking at life cycles and feelings.

The children loved this story and found it very engaging. They walked to a local pond to see some real tadpoles and practitioners felt it would be best to use this at spring time.


Tiny Little Rocket by David Fickling and Richard Collingridge

Tiny Little Rocket Plan

A little rocket takes you on an adventure to space. This book is great for looking at space, rockets and technology.

This was a strong favourite of the children who loved to pour over the pages together with friends. The black background makes the pictures bold and attention-grabbing and encourages the children to learn about space. The children took their interest outside to see the moon and this lead to lots of discussion about what’s in the sky.


Izzy Gismo by Pip Jones and Sarah Ogilvie

Izzy loves to invent but her inventions don’t always go to plan. This story is good for looking at inventions, technology, block play and developing a growth mindset. Izzy is also a strong, diverse role-model for getting girls into STEM.

A planner wasn’t created for Izzy as the STEM Officers felt it was the perfect book to inspire free and creative play in children. Practitioners felt it is a good book to leave in the building area to inspire children. They loved the rhyming text and the pictures have a lot of detail for children to pour over.


Learning for Sustainability Resource Boxes

We have been working with the Falkirk STEM Officers, Laura McCafferty and Barbara Hanning, to extend our range of STEM resources and develop new resources to support STEM Through Stories. This year’s COP26 in Glasgow has meant many schools are covering Learning for Sustainability and we have produced new resource boxes to support this at early, 1st and 2nd levels.

Each box has a story book with a planner developed by the STEM Officers:

Early Level

Somebody Swallowed Stanley by Sarah Roberts

Somebody Swallowed Stanley Plan





1st Level

Eco-wolf and the three pigs by Laurence Anholt

Eco Wolf and the Three Pigs






2nd Level

Song of the dolphin boy by Elizabeth Laird

The Song of the Dolphin Boy







Class sets of the books and the resource boxes are available to borrow from us.