UKLA announces the winner of Our Class Loves This Book: the John Downing Award 2016

This prestigious UKLA Award celebrates a class’s response (led by their teacher) to one of the books shortlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2015


The winner is Alice Manning and her Starters (Y1) class, The Bylingual School, Sevilla. Their winning entry is for their work on The Crocodile Who Didn’t Like Water by Gemma Merino.

Chris Lockwood, chair of judges writes: This was a video submission in the form of a PowerPoint. Each slide was beautifully presented, with a background of selections from the picture book. The submission was very unusual in that it described a project with a group of children who were Spanish speakers; the book was presented and the project was carried out in English.The teacher tells us that she has “broken Spanish”.
The teacher planned for innovative responses to the text, drawing out a wide range of themes, enabling the children to talk about themselves, their families, their emotions, their abilities and dreams and finally their differences. The outcomes were some very high quality work in a second language from a year 1 class.

From a number of strong submissions, the panel also highly commended three entries:

Antonia Howell, Marjorie McClure Special School, Chislehurst, Kent for her work with her class on The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers:
The planning and preparation for the children’s work with this text were hugely impressive and the way the staff had used technology to make the text accessible, and to find ways for the children to respond, were a triumph.The video submitted was very moving.

Kirsty Miller and Faye O’Connell and Y4 Puffins and Penguins, St. Peter’s School Bristol, for their work based on Oliver and the Seawigs by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre:
The submission was a beautifully produced album containing evidence of the planning for the use of this text in Book Week as well as photographs and examples of children’s written work and art work. The written work is of an exceptionally high standard and we particularly enjoyed the children’s cartoon strips.

Jess Griffiths and Hannah Weston and Y1 Doves and Kingfishers, St. Peter’s School Bristol, for their work based on Hermelin the Detective Mouse by Mini Grey:
A beautifully produced and presented album. We loved the way that members of staff throughout the school became engaged in the project, by posting mysteries they would like to be solved on the replica of the story’s notice board outside the classroom.The project encouraged cooperative and collaborative work, including the use of technology, for example a FaceTime conversation with the headteacher whose “treat box” had gone missing.Staff put a great deal of thought into the letters the class received, giving the children wonderful opportunities for intertextuality.The work, and presentation, was of very high quality.

Alice Manning has been invited to share her work at a seminar at the UKLA International Conference in July. The award will be presented at the awards wine reception at the international Conference on 9 July.

Panel: Chris Lockwood (chair), Jane Bednall, Joy Court, Lynda Graham, Rebecca Hurst.

UKLA thanks Just Imagine for their generous sponsorship of this award, and Chris Wormell, who generously contributed the logo for our award.

Find out more about the award

About UKLA

Notes for editors:

This award encourages teachers across the UK (and beyond) to read and explore books shortlisted for the previous year’s UKLA Book Award.

  • This means an extended period of interest in and potential sales for the shortlisted titles every year.
  • Teachers are encouraged to explore these books in detail, by not only looking at the author and the text, but also immersing their classes into worlds of possibility thinking.
  • The winning teacher and author receive a framed, signed limited edition prints of the award logo designed by author/illustrator Chris Wormell (author of first winner OCLTB)
  • The award is presented at the UKLA International Conference 9-11 July
  • Where possible, UKLA arranges an author visit to the winning school
  • Our Book Award and OCLTB sponsors: LoveReading , Just Imagine and Norfolk Booksoffer generous discounts on all UKLA shortlisted books
  • John Downing was the first UKLA (then UKRA) president

Subscribe to our Newsletter