Philip Ardagh Visits Mouswald Primary School

On Tuesday 4th December 2012 Philip Ardagh visited Mouswald School in Dumfries and Galloway as part of the Scottish Friendly Children’s Book Tour. Maureen McCallum tells us more about her experience of applying, planning and attending the event with her pupils.





Applying for the tour

Arrangements for the visit were very straightforward. An expression of interest was sent in following an e-mail from the Scottish Book Trust. This was followed by a telephone call to confirm our visit and suggest that two local schools would also join us. There are only eight pupils in Mouswald School and the thought of having sixty-two pupils, plus an author, for the afternoon was very exciting. E-mails followed with consent forms for parents and pre-visit activities* – everything had been thought of to make arrangements for the visit as smooth as possible.

*Teaching resources are available for all of our tours: have a look at Philip’s here

Preparing for the event

Pupils were set the task of finding out more about Philip Ardagh. Google provided personal information and the titles of books he had written. From this great concern was expressed – at his impressive height, would he manage to walk through our classroom door? Armed with the titles of his books we visited our local library and came away with copies to read before the visit.

On the day
Philip Ardagh at Mouswald Primary School

The visit itself was excellent and ran smoothly from start to finish. Our small school was once again ‘buzzing’ with the sound of eagerly awaiting children. No one was disappointed. Philip had everyone – staff and pupils – hanging on to his every word. The sound of laughter rang through the school. In the words of the pupils he was ‘fabulous, hilarious and on a rating of 1 – 10……10 because he was constantly funny’.

Creating Readers

Time flew by, we could have listened for longer, but unfortunately the visit had to come to an end. The rush to purchase books and have them autographed by Philip was further evidence of how successful the visit had been. This was an afternoon that pupils – and staff – will remember for many years to come. We are really grateful to the Scottish Book Trust for providing this memorable opportunity.


The Scottish Friendly Children’s Book Tour brings the best authors from around the UK and beyond directly into your classroom for free. We organise six tours every year and visit all 32 local authorities in turn – it takes us 3 years to get round them all. For more information or to find out about upcoming tours in your area follow this link

Maureen McCallum

Maureen McCallum is the inspirational headteacher at Mouswald Primary School. She organised a brilliant event with pupils from two other local schools as part of the Scottish Friendly Children's Book Tour with Philip Ardagh.