I love school visits.
Every year I run hundreds of writing workshops, performances and even INSET for schools looking to foster a more creative environment. I also lead CPD for teachers on behalf of The Prince's Teaching Trust and The Roundhouse in London.
When I visit schools I work flat-out to inspire and encourage every student I meet and speak with, no matter how short the interaction. Workshops are fun and fast-paced; they involve the students making meaningful decisions and (in creating their own work) seeing how/why a poet makes the decisions they do. My work in schools is informed by my experiences teaching: I was regularly observed as ‘Outstanding’ back in the day and my workshops reflect this - both in outcomes and accessibility.
What does a day in school look like?
I like to start most school visits with an assembly to introduce myself to the students, followed by a mixture of workshops with class-sized groups and/or performances for entire year-groups. This is always flexible though, and I’m always happy to work around your school’s needs. Sometimes I work with larger groups, sometimes I work with one group for an entire day; it all depends on what would be most useful for the department.
Whilst the outline itself can change, what always stays the same is the quality of the sessions and the energy and enthusiasm I bring to every booking. I pride myself on delivering the most engaging writing workshops your students will experience and whilst in schools I’m always keen to chat with students outside of sessions/help the department out in any way I can. This summer I was told by one head of English that I was ‘whirlwind of positive energy’ when I visit, and that made me really happy. That’s definitely the vibe I’m going for.
‘So often with poetry there is a huge void between ‘having to’ and ‘wanting to’ study it, but Mark bridges that gap effortlessly. The day was a huge success and the girls left the session having had their perceptions about poetry changed.
Daniel Elsworth, Head of English, Elsmore Girls' School
‘I can’t praise Mark’s workshop with our KS4 pupils enough. From his enthusiastic introduction to his energetic performance to the way in which he engaged and enthralled, Mark held our bunch of usually disaffected youngsters-all boys- for the whole session. The pupils listened attentively to his poetry and, for once, readily put pen to paper under his guidance. We would jump at the chance to have him back in the future.’
Sophie Ullmore, Head of Literacy at South Lewisham Pru
‘Mark was brilliant, the children were inspired to write – children we never expected. I will be recommending Mark at the English Co-Ordinator meeting, he was such an inspiration.’
Mrs Arling, Literacy Co-Ordinator at Werrington Primary School
‘Mark worked with a group of Year 7 students and a group of Year 9 students. The class teachers joined each session but other members of staff, who were free, went along too – simply because they were so keen to hear Mark. They were not disappointed! Mark was really entertaining. At the end of each session, both staff and students were enthusiastic, with many students staying behind to chat to Mark. Some students had worked with Mark at their primary school and eagerly reminisced about the writing that they had done together there. I think it would be true to say that staff and students alike would welcome a return visit.’
Mandy Barfoot, Head of English at the Stanground Academy
'Thank you so much for coming in! The students (and all of the English department) absolutely loved it- they haven't stopped talking about it since. Also, the school's entry for World Book day is now a rap poem and you are mentioned a few times in it! All that staff involved had a really great day too and it was just really lovely to be creative with the kids. We would love for you to come back some time please!'
Bethany Sealey, Head of English at Brine Leas School in Nantwich
For UK schools I normally charge £550 plus travel costs for a day. My half day rate is £400 plus travel. For INSET/CPD or International bookings it’s best to email me (email@example.com) as I use a slightly different pricing depending on the duration. If the school is over an hour and a half's drive from my address (PE1 4DP), then I'll also need a hotel room for the night before.
I also deliver school workshops with my good friend (and professional poet), Ross Sutherland. Ross is an internationally touring artist with three collections of poetry and several award winning Spoken Word shows under his belt. When working together we're able to take on more ambitious projects with larger groups (up to an entire year group) over the course of a day. Ross will even dance, should the students ever refuse to write anything (TBC). Our combined fee for a day in school is £1000 (plus travel costs).
I also offer a range of CPD sessions that I've developed to assist teachers via The Prince's Teaching Trust. These CPD sessions focus on innovate approaches to poetry teaching, as well as ways to develop a more creative culture within the school. If you're interested in me delivering some CPD for your English department feel free to hit me up via the contact tab.