Writing success has come in the form of a gerbil called Barry, for year 6 pupil, Grace S. Grace made it through to the top 500 entrants in the BBC radio two ‘500 words’ writing competition, earlier this term.

The national competition, founded by radio DJ Chris Evans, is very popular among school age children and over100, 000 entries were received. Grace, 10 years old at the time of writing, centres her story around two boys presenting a project and a larger than life headteacher who encounters an unwelcome furry friend...

The final, held at Winsor Castle this year, is on Friday 14th June. The successful young writer will win Chris Evans' height in books, 500 books for their school and an invitation to visit the set of a CBBC Production.


Read Grace's story here....

Mrs Longbottom and the red arrow rodent


It was a new day. Billy was waking up for school. He was really nervous because today was his ICT assessment. He loved computing, especially gaming and creating his own games. Billy also had a gerbil called Barry, they were inseparable.

HONK! HONK! The bus had arrived. ‘Hiya’. Billy’s best friend Joel was already on the bus. The two chatted about the day ahead. The thought of failing ICT was nerve-racking. Joel also loved computing.

“Good morning children” remarked Mrs Longbottom. School had officially started, no school day ever started unless that phrase was used. Mrs Longbottom was the headmistress, she had a very ironic name. Despite the name suggesting she was tall, Mrs Longbottom was very small (and a little round in the bottom area!) “Morn-ing Mrs Long-bot-tom, Morn-ing ev-ery-one” chanted the students unenthusiastically.

‘Tick’ ‘Tok’ went the clock. ICT had started. Joel was up first. The class were presenting their projects one-by-one. Billy was going to be last up and it was getting close. His palms were starting to sweat, in fact he reached inside his trouser pocket to wipe the clamminess off and to retrieve the all-important USB stick. He couldn’t feel it. He felt every grain of the sandy fluff but nothing. Nothing at all. Parp!

AAAAAAAAHHHHHH! An almighty scream shook every last brick in the school. “THERE’S A RODENT IN MY OFFICE!” screeched Mrs Longbottom. She stormed into the room roaring “Get it off!” Billy momentarily forgot about his missing presentation, instead he clamped eyes on Barry, yes, Barry his gerbil!

“Barry?” whispered Billy to himself, clearing the fog that had descended on his brain.

“Squeak!” Barry made his cute noise acknowledging his faithful owner. He clung on to Mrs Longbottom’s interestingly furry, leopard-print shoes. Barry actually liked them a lot.

“OW” Mrs Longbottom kicked her leg and flung Barry into mid-air.

“Parp”, Barry gerbil-trumped while flying like a red arrow, corkscrewing through the tension and heading toward the ceiling fan.

Mrs Longbottom’s interestingly furry leopard print shoe also went flying, in a less artistic manner, in Billy’s direction. It span round and round and round at high speed. Zoooooooooom! Thud. It hit Billy right in the eye, he whined, and he winced. “OW”, a single tear ran down his nose and on to the desk.

Meanwhile, Wing Commander Barry was having trouble of his own. The gerbil had hit turbulence. Help!!! His thin, short tail clung on to a propeller which flung round & round in circles. The fan was gaining speed. The acrobat did a 360 flip while the class

were busy staring at Mrs LB. She had a hole in her tights revealing a lush, bright, sparkly pink toenail. Barry landed in Billy’s sandy blazer pocket. He peeped out, gave Billy another cute wink revealing the all-important USB stick between his teeth. Red 1 had saved the day.

by Grace S