It all came together for pupils in the special Iron Man exhibition

Story-teller Ursula Holden-Gill at the Iron Man exhibition, Todmorden Library
Story-teller Ursula Holden-Gill at the Iron Man exhibition, Todmorden Library

More than 200 people took the opportunity to see the creations of children who took their inspiration from The Iron Man.

Children and staff from Castle Hill, Cornholme, Shade, St Joseph’s, Todmorden C of E and Walsden Primary Schools worked in partnership with a number of other organisations on a spring and autumn project which took inspiration from the children’s book penned by Mytholmroyd born Poet Laureate, the late Ted Hughes.

More than 400 children were directly involved in workshop activity with more than 700 involved in related activities, including two whole school performance sessions with poet Terry Caffrey, a screening of The Iron Man film at the Hippodrome Theatre, Todmorden, and more visiting the resulting exhibition at Todmorden Library.

Partners included the Arvon Foundation - founded by Ted Hughes - at Lumb Bank, Heptonstall, Calderdale Library Services, the Clore Duffield Foundation, The Elmet Trust (which celebrates the life and works of Ted Hughes), Mid-Pennine Arts (who co-ordinated much of the work), Todmorden Town Council, Todmorden Hippodrome Theatre with Todmorden Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society, and the Todmorden News and Hebden Bridge Times, which published the children’s progress reports as their projects developed.

Creative practitioners who have worked with the children include ceramic artist Sarah McDade, poet Tony Caffrey, storyteller Ursula Holden-Gill, sculptor Mick Kirby-Geddis and cartoonist Louise Crosby.

Together the youngsters produced a range of work made, read or filmed, and David Smith of Mid-Pennine Arts said: “We are delighted with the success of the programme. It has made a real impact on learning for the children involved and been inspiring for their teachers who have come up with new approaches to teaching literature in their own classrooms.

“It has shown the powerful impact on learning offered by partnership working; a partnership of pupil, teacher and creative practitioner,” he said.

A teacher at Todmorden C of E School said: “We really enjoyed the project and loved The Iron Man. Other books by Ted Hughes are now in the school library for all the children to come and borrow. We hope to do something like this again.”

Mr Smith added: “Ofsted inspectors, who observed a practitioner working in Cornholme Primary School during the programme, commented on the positive benefits of ‘the opportunities to enjoy enrichment activities based on authors and books’ when feeding back their judgements regarding achievement of pupils at the school.”