New Addington primary pupils delighted by War Horse visit

Surprise ride: Castle Hill pupils were surprised and delighted when the horses galloped into their school last week

The pupils at Castle Hill Academy enjoyed a gallopingly special treat for World Book Day last week, with an exciting visit by real war horses.

Many of the pupils at the primary, on Dunley Drive in New Addington, have been reading War Horse, the Michael Morpurgo novel set during World War I which was later adapted as an acclaimed stage play and film.

So they were surprised and delighted when, as they were gathered on the school playing fields, they saw the book’s two main characters, Joey and Topthorn, galloping towards them with headteacher Serena Hemmings riding one of the horses.

Some of the children had never seen a horse before.

From Nursery to Year 6; from site managers, office and kitchen staff to senior leaders and teachers, there was a genuine sense of awe and wonder to witness the magnificent but gentle animals in full flow.

One Year 1 child said, “When I grow up, I want to be a horse rider!”

Headteacher Serena Hemmings arriving at the school on World Book Day

In the morning, pupils had been able to experience reading with children other than those in their class and year group; siblings had the opportunity to spend time reading together for pleasure, sharing special reading moments.

The afternoon saw a celebration of another popular author, Roald Dahl, with each year group reading an extract from a different book and completing various reading challenges linked to their text. A whole school assembly celebrated and recognised the effort made by the children and their parents to fully immerse themselves in the day.

A competition to design the new school Reading Room was launched. The children have been asked to design a reading room which is linked to their favourite children’s story book.

World Book Day tokens were received with great excitement when the children realised that they could go to a shop and choose a book for a £1.

“The whole day was an enormous success and the community are looking forward to celebrating the launch of their new Reading Room,” Hemmings said.

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