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Literacy Festival

At Haberdashers’ Academies Trust South, we believe strong literacy skills are the foundation for a successful future. The Literacy Festival is a new event, where pupils can represent their school in a range of competitions between the nine schools in our Trust whilst developing their literacy skills. 

Participating in the events and competitions could earn pupils a place at the end of festival celebration on 22nd July at Haberdashers’ Hall. 

Literacy Festival events include:

  • Read around the World Competition 
  • The Virtual Book Club*
  • Group Watch Film Screening
  • The Spelling Bee*
  • Envision* 
  • Speak Out

 * These events will be for both primary and secondary pupils. 

Read below for further information about these events and we'll get into more detail about each throughout the year. Literacy is the key to a successful future, so get involved in as many events as you can!  

Read around the World Competition - Secondary

An intra-trust competition to encourage reading for pleasure. Students must read 20 books annually and submit a review for each. The librarian will validate Completed reading records, who will award certificates and enter your name for the Trust Literacy Festival.  

Any student in year 7, 8 or 9 can attend, and reading can happen anywhere! Books from our 2023-4 theme, Read Around The World, will be displayed in the library, although students can choose any book for submission to the challenge.  

The challenge begins today! The challenge ends on 30th June 2024—certificates and Vouchers awarded w/b 8th July.  Students will be given a reading record in either English lessons or tutor time. They then choose a book and fill in the title on their ‘bookshelf’. After they have finished the book, they complete a review, which is submitted to the librarian. 

The Virtual Book Club - Primary and Secondary

An intra-trust book club that encourages critical reflection and practices oracy skills. Students read a designated book, and at the book club, they can answer the questions below. Students are encouraged to attend if they still need to finish the books or want to listen but not speak. 

The Virtual Book Club is online via Microsoft Teams from 4– 4:45 p.m. Students in years 6 and 7 from all schools in our Trust join at home. Teachers will always be present to manage the conversation. The book club is only open to year 6 and 7 students for the 2023/24 academic year. 


  • What did you like?
  • What questions do you have?
  • What did you notice?
  • What did it remind you of? 


Year 7
Date of Virtual Book Club  Book  Listen and Read
21 September The Bone Sparrow Click here
23 November  Esperanza Rising- Pam Munoz Ryan  Click here
15 February  Number the Stars - Lois Lowry  Click here
11 April  Ghost Boys - Jewell Parker Rhodes Click here
16 May  Bone Talk by Candy Gourlay Click here
9 July I am Malala by Malala Yousafazi 
Click here

Group Watch Film Screening - Secondary

An intra-trust viewing of a dramatised reconstruction of a text studied in GCSE Literature to strengthen interpretation skills. The viewings are from 5 pm – 7 pm via Microsoft Teams. An invite will be emailed to all year 10 and 11 students in the Trust. 

Students who want to attend the literacy festival in July must write and submit reviews of all books and films to their English teacher. 

The dates for the Group Watch Screenings are:  

  • 4 October – An Inspector Calls 
  • Date TBC A Christmas Carol 


The Spelling Bee – Primary and Secondary

The competition begins in schools where students compete against their peers to win a place in the final. All year 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 students are invited to participate. The final will be an intra-trust competition on 20th December at Hatcham College. 

Information about getting involved will be shared in schools.  

Debate Mate - Secondary 

Debate Mate is open to our secondary schools and is a debating training and competition programme. The programmes increase speaking and listening attainment and improve higher-order thinking skills and non-cognitive abilities such as confidence, teamwork, and leadership. In doing so, the Debate Mate programme addresses the widening skills gap between education and employment whilst raising aspirations and helping students to make informed post-18 choices. 

There will be a series of workshops to develop your debating skills, leading to a virtual competition against students in all four of our secondary schools. Successful students will make it to the Grand in-person Final in March 2024. 

Debate Mate website 


Envision – Primary and Secondary

This programme is a partnership between young people and Envision Programme Coordinators and mentors to tackle social problems affecting their community. By engaging young people in what matters to them, we support them to make change happen whilst building their skills beyond the classroom. 

Read more about the work Envision do with schools 


Speak Out - Secondary

Joining this challenge will mean you get to take part in two workshops.  Each workshop is expert-led and interactive. By the end of the workshop, every student will have delivered a speech they have created from scratch to their classmates and a small panel of judges, usually a couple of teachers, who select top-quality speeches. You may be nominated to give your speech during an assembly at the next stage of the competition. If successful, you will go to the finals, competing against students in our other secondary schools. 

Find out more about the Speak Out challenge


The End of Festival Celebration Day – Primary and Secondary

At Haberdashers’ Hall in July 2024, the end of the festival celebration will be another opportunity for all those who participated in our Literacy Festival events to celebrate their achievements. Winners will be asked to perform their winning ideas, speeches, debate summaries, or team pitches. There will also be some team building exercises, workshops, talks and a chance to network with students from across the Trust. 

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