Virtual School Visits

I have been virtually visiting schools since 2012, during which time I’ve done over 230 virtual visits with over 180 different schools in the UK, the US and beyond. You can find a map of the schools I’ve visited and read some of their feedback at the bottom of this page.

After offering free 20 minute sessions for several years, I’ve now switched to offering longer, for-a-fee virtual sessions adapted from some of the most popular in-person sessions I do in schools and libraries. Outlines of these sessions are shown below.

I offer a 30% DISCOUNT* for additional sessions booked by the same school as part of the same booking.

Virtual Visit Sessions

🍁 Autumn/Fall Term Special 🍁

THE SANTA TRAP, illustrated by Poly Bernatene 

A reading of The Santa Trap.
A short talk about the inspiration for the story (including the Santa traps I built as a child).
Q & A: I answer the children’s questions.

Suggested Age: 5-9 years • Session Length: 30 minutes
UK Price £60 excl. VAT (£72 incl. VAT)
International Price $85 (payment via PayPal)

PICK & MIX

Two readings of a complete novelty or picture book or an excerpt from one of my chapter books. Schools can request whichever two books they like and each reading can be followed by a Q&A.

Suggested Age: 4-9 years • Session Length: 30-40* minutes
UK Price £80 excl. VAT (£96 incl. VAT)
International Price $110 (payment via PayPal)

* The length of this session varies according to the length of the books chosen

THE CLOCKWORK DRAGON, illustrated by Elys Dolan

A reading of The Clockwork Dragon.
Clockwork Creature collage activity: I show the children how the pieces on a collage sheet can be used to create other clockwork creatures and create a couple of clockwork creatures on request. The collage sheets are available as downloadable printouts which the students can use to create their own clockwork creatures after the session has ended.
Q & A: I answer the children’s questions.

Suggested Age: 5-9 years • Session Length: 45 minutes
UK Price £100 excl. VAT (£120 incl. VAT)
International Price $140 (payment via PayPal)

THE PLESIOSAUR’S NECK: A Prehistoric Puzzle, illustrated by Adam Larkum. This session is co-presented by palaeontologist and co-author Dr Adam Smith, subject to his availability.

A short introduction to plesiosaurs.
A reading of the rhyming text of The Plesiosaur’s Neck.
An entertaining exploration of some of the explanations scientists have given for Poppy the Albertonectes plesiosaur’s extraordinarily long neck.
Q & A: Dr Adam and I answer the children’s questions.

Suggested Age: 6-10 years • Session Length: 45 minutes
UK Price £100 excl. VAT (£120 incl. VAT)
International Price $140 (payment via PayPal)

HOW THE BORKS BECAME: An Adventure in Evolution, illustrated by Elys Dolan

A short introduction to the concept of evolution.
Spot the Difference: I challenge the children to spot the differences between the Borks’ appearance at the beginning and end of the book’s timeline and suggest how these differences might help the Borks to survive.
A reading of How the Borks Became: An Adventure in Evolution
Q & A: I answer the children’s questions.

Suggested Age: 5-9 years • Session Length: 45 minutes
UK Price £100 excl. VAT (£120 incl. VAT)
International Price $140 (payment via PayPal)

FAST AND FURRY RACERS, illustrated by Ed Eaves

A short introduction to The Silver Serpent Cup‘s animal racers and their vehicles.
A reading of The Silver Serpent Cup**.
Design a Racer collage activity: I create a new animal race vehicle by request and show the children how the kit of vehicle parts can be used to create other vehicle designs. The kit is available as downloadable printouts which the students can use to create their own vehicle designs after the session has ended.
A reading of Cleopatra Bones and the Golden Chimpanzee.
Q & A: I answer the children’s questions.

Suggested Age: 5-9 years • Session Length: 45 minutes
UK Price £100 excl. VAT (£120 incl. VAT)
International Price $140 (payment via PayPal)

** Please note: this book is NO LONGER IN PRINT.

30% DISCOUNT* for additional sessions booked by the same school as part of the same booking

* For two or more sessions of varying prices, the highest priced session will be charged at full price with 30% discount applied to all additional sessions.

I’m happy to consider virtual visit requests from any English-speaking school, providing the visit can be done between 9:00am and 9.00pm United Kingdom time on a weekday. If you are not in the United Kingdom, you can use the international time converter here to convert from your local time to UK time. Make sure you enter the actual date into the converter so that it can correct for Daylight Saving Time if needed.

Virtual Visits need to be booked at least three working days in advance.

Group size: In regular circumstances, I am happy to talk to up to four classrooms (on separate logins) simultaneously on my visit. All of my sessions include an opportunity for question and answers and it’s difficult to do this well with more than four classrooms in one session. If you’d like me to visit more than four classrooms, you can book an additional session(s). I offer a 30% discount for additional sessions booked by the same school as part of the same booking.

VIRTUAL VISITS WITH STAY-AT-HOME STUDENTS DURING THE PANDEMIC: I’m happy for students to log-in from home (in addition to four classrooms from school) but ask that a member of school staff set up and host the session, so that they can MC the session and admit any late-comers once the session has begun.

Payment: I will email you an invoice shortly after the session. Payment must be made within 30 days of the session.
UK Schools:  I will only accept payment by either BACS transfer (preferred) or cheque.
US and International schools: I will only accept payments via PayPal. You can pay using a debit or credit card or a PayPal account. My invoice will include a link to a page on the PayPal site where you can make payment.

PLEASE NOTE: My virtual visits should not be recorded without my prior permission.

Software: After using Skype for my virtual visits for several years, Zoom is now my preferred option as it’s more reliable and simpler to administrate. 

I’m also happy to arrange virtual visit sessions using Microsoft Teams or Google Meet.

Fill out the form below to request a virtual visit

PAYMENT CONDITIONS: I will email you an invoice shortly after the session. Payment must be made within 30 days of the session.
UK Schools: I will only accept payment by either BACS transfer (preferred) or cheque.
US and International schools: I will only accept payments via PayPal. You can pay using a debit or credit card or a PayPal account.

I am generally available for virtual visits between 9:00am and 9.00pm United Kingdom time on a weekday.
If possible, please enter more than one preferred date and time, in preference order in the box opposite, in case I am unavailable for your first choice.

If you are outside the UK, you can use the international time converter here to convert from your local time to UK time. Make sure you enter the actual date you are requesting into the converter so that it can correct for Daylight Saving Time if needed.

* These fields are required 

What you need for a Virtual Visit

Technical Requirements

  • SOFTWARE: If you haven’t used the video conferencing software you’ve selected (i.e. Zoom or Google Meet) to call someone using the school’s broadband network before, make a test call a few days before my virtual visit using the software and hardware you intend to use to check that it all works. If your call is blocked, you may need to change your network’s permission settings to allow the software to be used.
  • WEBCAM / MICROPHONE: The webcam should be positioned as close as possible to the screen the students will be looking at, so that I can see the students’ faces looking towards me. If you’re using a separate microphone, this should be positioned so that I can hear the students clearly. A cordless roaming microphone, that can be passed from student to student is a great way of ensuring that I can hear students clearly.
  • SCREEN: Your computer should be connected to a large video screen or white board projector. If you’re using a projector in a brightly lit room, turn off the lights or close the blinds near the screen or whiteboard so that the students can see me more clearly.
  • SPEAKERS: Sound is important! The students will need to be able to hear me clearly. Your computer’s built-in speakers may not be loud enough for my voice to carry to the back of the room, so you might need to use some louder, plug-in speakers or the TV’s speakers if you’re using a TV screen.


PLEASE NOTE:
I am unable to offer technical assistance for individual hardware and operating system configurations, so if you are new to video calls please make sure that you have familiarised yourself with your particular set-up by making some video calls before your virtual visit with me. If you are intending to use external sound and video and have not done this before, please test these in advance too.

Other Requirements

  • A room full of enthusiastic students: Students will enjoy a virtual visit much more if they are already familiar with a few of my books. Visit my website with your class to find out a little about me and the books I’ve written. If you subscribe to a school library service, ask if they can provide your class with a selection of my books, including the book(s) I will be reading.
  • Some questions prepared in advance: If your visit includes a Q&A , students will get a lot more out of it if they have had some time to think about questions they might want to ask beforehand.


BOOK SALES:
If you’d like to order copies of my books from a book shop to coincide with my virtual visit this list of my books currently in print may be useful for putting an order together. I’m happy to send out signed book plates for any books purchased in this way.

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My Home Town

Virtual Visit

Multiple Virtual Visits