Grange Academy 

Pat had been best friends with Joe Murphy since they were kids. But years ago they had a fight. A big one, and they haven’t spoken since – till the day before Joe’s funeral. What? On the day before his funeral Joe would be dead, wouldn’t he? Yes, he would…

The kingdom of the Six Duchies is on the brink of civil war when news breaks that the crown prince has fathered a bastard son and is shamed into abdication. The child’s name is Fitz, and his is despised.

Raised in the castle stables, only the company of the king’s fool, the ragged children of the lower city and his unusual affinity with animals provide Fitz with any comfort.

To be useful to the crown, Fitz is trained as an assassin; and to use the traditional magic of the Farseer family. But his tutor, allied to another political faction, is determined to discredit, even kill him. Fitz must survive: for he may be destined to save the kingdom.

World Book Night

I am passionate about reading and have spent over 25 years encouraging pupils and staff to read for pleasure.  I was recently successful in my bid to the Reading Agency to become a World Book Night volunteer.  I was sent 26 copies of 2  books which will be available to members of the public on the 23rd of April.  Marks and Spencer and Costa Coffee in Kilmarnock both kindly agreed to host this event, in a bid to encourage people who do not normally read or own a book to pick up and enjoy a book!  The public will be able to pick up one of the books below from the cafes and take it home to enjoy and pass on.

East Ayrshire Spring Read 2015

As part of the East Ayrshire Spring Read, Grange Academy hosted a vist from  Metaphrog, a team of graphic illustrators.  Metaphrog spoke to Councillor Primrose, pupils and staff from;-

  • Auchinleck Academy
  • Cumnock Academy
  • Grange Academy
  • Kilmarnock Academy
  • St. Joseph's Academy and
  • Stewarton Academy

Metaphrog explained how very often over 100 people can work together to create one graphic novel and took pupil on a "journey" through the creative drawing process.   


  • You don't need to be a good drawer.  You can use stick figures?
  • Think what you like to do and doodle!
  • You need a good strong character for a good story.
  • Use colours to influence a scene.  Dark colours signify a scary scene.
  • Use your imagination.  To show someone feels lonely, you could add a single dark doorway, a single glass.
  • Show the passing of time in an imaginative way.  E. G. The water level dropping in a glass.
  • Change the shape of your frames to support the story.  A tall thin frame can give a sense of height.

The event prove very successful and Grange Academy pupils commented;-

  • It was really fun and exciting
  • Comics are really good.  It was interesting.
  • It was good. I liked the animation. THANKS!
  • Until today I didn’t realise how much planning goes into drawing.  These people are Amazing.
  • It was Amazing
  • It was great and they have showed me how to improve and I now have an idea for a comic.
  • I thought that it was really nice.  I really enjoyed drawing but my drawing went a little creepy. But I still enjoyed it.
  • It was great I loved it. My favourite part was the animation.
  • It was good and I got lots of ideas from it. I will start writing/making comics
  • Drawing. I really enjoyed it because I love drawing. It was Fab!
  • It was really interesting, it looks fun to do.  My favourite part was when they showed us the coloured fine line comic because it looked so realistic.
  • I thought it was great. I got my picture signed. It was totally awesome.
  • It was good and it helped a lot. I can use the help they gave us all to be a better artist.

Grange Academy Pupils' Work

Book Week Scotland

To support Book Week Scotland and foster a postive ethos of reading in school.  I asked all staff, teaching and support staff to wear a  "I am reading" sticker on Friday the 28th of November.  This allowed both staff and pupils to be introduced to new authors or genres.  They have never come across before!

A BIG THANK YOU to all staff who wore their badges and a display will be available in the library soon, promoting all the books. 

Books staff were reading during "Book Week Scotland."

Scottish Book Trust - Phil Earle

Thank you to the Scottish Book Trust who invited over 50 of our S1 pupils to an author visit by Phil Earle.  Phil spoke about how "stories surround us" How something as simple as a photograph or the door you walk by every day can provide inspiration for a story.  He confessed when he was growing up.  He wasn't really into reading, apart from Batman comics, "Roy of the Rovers" and "Flat Stanley."  Until when he was working in a bookshop he had to read childrens' books.  He sat down with "angus, thongs and full-frontal snogging" and

                        "laughed so hard.  I had snot blowing out of my nose." 

This inspired him to start reading and described "hole" by Louis Sachar as

                                         "the perfect book for any age."

He was inspired to start writing and and wrote "saving Daisy" and "being Billy" about kids which  had the  spirit and the determination not to end up like their family.

Phil talked about "heroic."  Which is based upon two brothers.  Jammy, the eldest,  is fighting in Afghanistan and his younger brother Sonny is getting into trouble at home.  The book talks about brotherhood and what would you do to keep someone in your life safe.

Recommended books;-

  • "The outsiders" by S. E. Hinton 
  • "Holes" by Louis Sachar
  • "Angus, thongs and full frontal snogging" by Louis Sachar

Pupil Comments;-

  • "I thought the visit was really good and it inspired me to write more."
  • "It was inspirational and overall incredible.  I would do it again.  
  • "I liked the full event because he told us about his personal thoughts on his books."
  • "I thought it was really good, I really like when he said where he got his inspiration for writing as it has inspired me."
  • "I thought it was amazing and Phil Earle will be getting added to my favourite authors."

Phils' Website

East Ayrshire Readers' Cup


This event has been running from 2007 and takes place in secondary schools throughout East Ayrshire.  Heats are held in each school to choose the final team and the substitutes.  This will take place on Thursday the  28th May.  During their English periods,  all of S1 will take part in the Readers' Cup semi-final to choose a team of four, two girls and two boys, and 2 substitutes.  Each team member and substitute will be allowed to take a friend to support them.  Go Grange go!!!!!


After a close competition and nail-biting finish Grange Academy came 5th.  Thanks to generous donations from:-

  • Blackwells online,
  • Waterstones in Ayr,
  • W. H. Smith in Kilmarnock
  • and our school librarians.

Our goody bags were magnificent this year!

Thanks to Mr. Willetts (Librarian, Cumnock Academy)  who hosted the event and Miss Black (Librarian, Kilmarnock Academy) who organised the event.

The competition  was won by Doon Academy in a close fought contest against 5 other secondary schools (Auchinleck, Cumnock, Kilmarnock, Grange and St Joseph’s).  The winners and runners up (Kilmarnock Academy) received vouchers from Blackwells online and goodie bags and audience prizes were graciously donated by Blackwells, Waterstones in Ayr, WH Smith and the East Ayrshire school librarians.

Imprint Festival - Cathy MacPhail

S1 pupils at Grange Academy were delighted to take part in the public librarys' Imprint Festival.  Cathy Macphail spoke about her book "Mosi's war" which is short-listed for the Scottish Book Trust Award.  This  was inspired by a newspaper clipping Cathy read on people living illegally under false passports.  The story is based around a teenage immigrant who recognises a local man as a warlord from his former home.

Cathy also discussed how she gets her inspiration from everything around her.  She encouraged pupils to explore the environment around them and imagine what spooky things could happen.   Pupils enjoyed and imagined flickering lights, falling books and creepy hands.....

She also suggested some wonderful opening lines for a story.....

  • "I heard a knocking at the door and I knew they had come for me."
  • "In the darkness.  I looked out through a window and saw a clown.  But I live on the 13th floor."

Favourite books as a child;-

  • American murder mysteries
  • What Katy did.
  • Charles Dickens (Childrens' Versions) and
  • Enid Blyton

                                                                    Cathy's Website