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Sue Graves photograph

Training to become a teacher at University of Chester between 1970 and 1973 was one of the best decisions I have ever made. My main subject was Drama overseen by the amazing Carys Williams, whose enthusiasm for her subject knew no bounds. That tuition, coupled with the thorough preparation by other staff members for all aspects of teaching 7- 11 year olds, gave me a sound footing on which to base my teaching career.

It was during my final year at the university that I wrote my first play- hugely encouraged by Carys- as part of my final exams. That became the springboard for developing my passion for writing. For the last 25 years I have written more than 300 books for children including those for reading schemes (both SEN and mainstream), plays, poetry, fiction and non-fiction for many mainstream publishers including HarperCollins, Macmillan and Hachette / Franklin Watts. Many of these have been translated into other languages and published around the world including the Middle East, America, and Europe. I have also written Teaching Notes and workbooks for literacy work and many workbooks for SEN maths.

But would any of this happened if I hadn’t gone to University of Chester?  I think not. The university was passionate about signposting the importance of our roles as teachers in encouraging a love of literature and all aspects of learning in our pupils. My training not only gave me a rewarding career as a teacher but also a secondary one as an author. 

In September 2019 I was awarded an honorary BEd degree ...and what a wonderful day that was!  I met up with some friends to celebrate the day together.  We looked round the university and reflected on our time there. I was amazed at how much the university had developed.  There are many more courses offered now than the Teacher Training course I had enjoyed. The ceremony in the chapel was superb as was the reception afterwards. It truly was a memorable day.

Looking to the future and with the 300 book milestone passed, I can only say ‘Thank you Chester’… and here’s to the next 300 books!

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