LEARNING has entered a new chapter at a Keighley school.

Children’s author and illustrator Dave Cousins visited Merlin Top Primary as part of a nationwide tour.

He gave year-six pupils an insight into the world of crime writing.

Using a series of creative activities, he guided the youngsters through the process of developing and writing a story.

Mr Cousins, whose books include Fifteen Days Without A Head and Charlie Merrick’s Misfits, has teamed-up with the National Literacy Trust and Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) to stage his Crime Writing Tour.

The initiative is in celebration of the annual Ruth Rendell Award, which is given to the author or writer deemed to have made the biggest difference to literacy in the UK during the past year. This year’s winner will be announced in December.

The tour is visiting primary schools in National Literacy Trust hub areas across the country, and the Merlin Top event was supported by Bradford Stories – a scheme launched five years ago by the trust and Bradford Council to raise literacy levels in the district and promote reading, writing, speaking and listening.

Mr Cousins said he had a “fantastic” time at Merlin Top, where he helped the children develop a plot about a robbery and turn their ideas into a story.

“Thanks go to all the staff and pupils for making me so welcome and for the excellent effort everyone put into their writing – and robbery plans!” he added.

“The group was really engaged and I was impressed and inspired by some of the great ideas it had – I think Ruth Rendell herself would’ve been impressed too!”

Year-six teacher Louisa Shackleton said the pupils had hugely enjoyed the session.

She added: “We’d like to thank Dave for coming in to work with the children.

“It’s been a great way to explore the genre of crime writing with them.

“The class particularly enjoyed hearing about Dave’s background and early life that he told in a humorous way, which immediately engaged and hooked the children. They also loved being encouraged to plan a story and having the freedom to use their imaginations without any restrictions.”

Nazia Nazir, Bradford Stories project officer, said the chance to meet writing role models could have a “hugely positive” impact on children’s enjoyment of writing and brought the process to life.