Portsmouth schools immersed in a world of pure imagination for Roald Dahl's 100th birthday

PRIMARY schools across Portsmouth got into a '˜gloriumptious' mood to celebrate Roald Dahl's 100th birthday.

Tuesday, 13th September 2016, 5:25 pm
Updated Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 2:08 pm
Back from left, Cerys-Maye Ireson, Theo Johnson, Orlaith Abbott with, front from left, Holly Mitchell, Millie Stephenson, Emmy-Grace Henning, India Burton and Edward Hall at Mayville High School Picture: Sarah Standing (161280-7000)

Lessons were given a ‘phizz-wizzing’ spin today to mark what would have been the centenary of the author’s birth.

Pupils at St John’s College Primary School in Southsea were invited to dress as their favourite characters from the likes of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The BFG.

The kids were educated on the children’s author’s 48-year career, wrote down their dreams to put in a dreamcatcher, and enjoyed book readings.

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Darcey Conway at St John's College Picture: Sarah Standing (161281-7061)

And teachers got involved by dressing up as mystery characters, challenging pupils to guess who they were for the chance to win a collection of novels.

Adam Gillen, 10, from Southsea, turned up to the school on Grove Road South in a homemade Augustus Gloop costume.

He said: ‘I chose Augustus because he’s a funny character. I love Roald Dahl’s books because he has really good ideas.’

Meanwhile, 10-year-old Eleanor Collie, from Shirrell Heath, dressed up as the eponymous animal from The Enormous Crocodile.

Darcey Conway at St John's College Picture: Sarah Standing (161281-7061)

She said: ‘I chose the costume because I’m always hungry, like the crocodile!

‘I love the books because they’re always funny and the characters have different personalities.’

Headteacher of the juniors Tony Shrubsall is hoping that such activities will lead pupils to gravitate towards the library on their breaks.

He said: ‘If they’re enthused and inspired, they might pick up a few more books, not just by Roald Dahl.

‘They’ve had a huge amount of fun investigating but they’re also learning.’

Roald Dahl’s iconic works also include Fantastic Mr Fox, Matilda and James and the Giant Peach.

The Welsh-born author, who was famed for creating a colourful vocabulary of nonsensical words, died in 1990 from a blood disease, aged 74.

Over at Mayville High School in Southsea, pupils took part in a fancy dress competition, and watched a live stream of the cast of the West End adaptation of Matilda.

Gemma Stoneman, librarian at the school on St Simon’s Road, thinks that learning about Dahl is still important, especially on his 100th birthday.

She said: ‘His stories still resonate with the children. They still encourage them to use their imagination, and that never dates.’