The current energy crisis has seen bills rise by 54% in September 2022, and has been described as ‘worse than the pandemic’. As well as homes, the crisis is massively affecting schools, with price hikes threatening resources. To help schools in the crisis, actor and writer Brian Blessed, known for his portrayals in Flash Gordon and Blackadder, has teamed up with children’s education platform, BoomWriter in its latest campaign.
Brian will be writing the first chapter of a story book, with schools across the UK finishing the entire book. The finished book will then be published by BoomWriter and sold, with all profits going towards school energy bills. Schools could individually receive up to £13k for their energy bills as a result. In addition, Brian will select his favourite book and visit the winning school in April 2023.
Effects of the energy crisis on UK schools
According to The Guardian, some schools have seen energy prices increase by 300%. The Guardian reported that, as a result, schools are looking to pay for the extra energy bills through existing funds, leading to cutbacks in school activities or even teachers themselves. Headteacher unions have even said that some heads have no choice but to pay for the extra costs by cutting staff hours, particularly teaching assistants. As a result, schools and both students and teachers are struggling, which is why Brian Blessed and BoomWriter decided to stand up.
Brian Blessed said: ‘’I am delighted to be working with BoomWriter on this project, which will help schools across the UK in a time of need. As a longstanding member of the arts community, I am thrilled to be using my love of the written word to support students and teachers in the energy crisis, as well as encouraging students to pursue reading and writing.
‘’With enough involvement, this project has the capacity to dramatically change the state of UK schools during this time. No school should have to choose between delivering an excellent student experience and paying their energy bills.’’
BoomWriter and Brian Blessed combat the energy crisis
BoomWriter has paired up with Brian Blessed in a bid to help schools manage the rising bills whilst still engaging their students. Brian has written a story prompt for classes to finish chapter-by-chapter, with each school putting its own spin on the story. Once the book is complete, BoomWriter will publish each book and give a copy to each student for them to sell, with all profits going to the schools to help their energy bills. From all participating schools, three finalists will be chosen, with Brian selecting his favourite story and visiting the winning school in April 2023.
Schools across the UK are encouraged to sign up to BoomWriter for free now, and can start writing the book from 9th January 2023 until the 14th of March 2023. It’s estimated that if 30,000 students signed up, each school could receive around £13k to help towards their energy bills. This is based on £5.40 per book sold per student going back to the school.
BoomWriter is an online platform that allows children to become published authors. Classes are given the beginning of a story and will complete it until they have a finished book. BoomWriter will then publish the book for students and families to keep.
With BoomWriter UK pupils have an authentic audience for their writing – their classmates. Children peer review each others’ work anonymously to decide a class winner for each piece of writing. This provides fantastic motivation for pupils to not just write, but to write to the best of their ability.