We were delighted to have successfully won a competition to host a day visit by intrepid Everest mountaineer, filmmaker and author Matt Dickinson.

Mrs Gill, Head Librarian, said, ‘Year 10 were given an informative and engaging insight into the dangers and euphoria of climbing such a perilous mountain accompanied by slides and footage from one of Matt’s expeditions. The presentation was ideally timed to link with their current AQA English GCSE non-fiction comparison text which contains an extract from his book, The Death Zone.’

‘Later Year 7s enjoyed a similar talk provoking a multitude of interesting questions relating to the climbing conditions, ecological impact and career opportunities as a writer/author. A creative writing workshop was also included for many of our Eco teams, proving that Northgate has an abundance of talented authors and were highly commended by Matt who was astounded at the level of work produced- along with myself and Miss Theobald!’

All of Matt’s books are available to borrow from the school library – although there may be a waiting list as they are proving very popular!

The competition was organised through our upcoming new Library Management System, Accessit – more details to follow shortly about this exciting move and added benefits to our school community.

Miss Theobald had the chance to step out of the Maths classroom and attend the workshop. She commented, ‘Members of the Environment Team, Earth Summit Team and Green Influencers were invited to a special workshop hosted by Matt. Some students were set a challenging task – creating a short story which had a different emotion for each part, the start, middle and end. The only element they needed to include was a high mountain environment and being lost in a storm. Students were completely engrossed in their writing, making use of dialogue, flashbacks and several literary devices, suggested by Matt. Mrs Gill and myself were on hand to hear some of the amazing pieces, as students read them out. We have some incredibly talented writers at Northgate, which can be seen from their pieces below.’

The remaining students were given the challenge of completing the sentence ‘If I went to Everest, the thing I would miss the most is …’. There were all sorts of ideas given and again, Matt was extremely impressed with their writing skills and use of language to convey what they wanted to the reader. He gave constructive feedback, tips and advice on how pieces could be improved even further.

The final task was an environmental one. Matt displayed a shocking photo of Mount Everest with a huge pile of plastic waste that had been left behind. The challenge was to create a short, snappy piece of writing (less than 50 words) to go on a poster to compel and persuade climbers and trekkers to stop leaving their litter on Everest. Our writers found this particular task more challenging than the first due to having to be concise with their words.

Matt ended by explaining that even if you are not a confident writer, you can become a better writer. The key is good, powerful descriptions and never think that your world is boring.

A truly inspiring workshop – a big thank you to Matt for working with our students.


Seren was one of the lucky students who attended the workshop and has written about her experience.

‘The author visit was really inspiring, because we got to meet someone who had been up Everest, taken pictures, and written about it! We got an opportunity to get tips from an author and we got to write a creative writing piece to share with him. We later got to create a poster, and Matt Dickinson gave us advice on how to make our writing on it appealing to the reader, as well as making them listen to the poster. We were shown a picture of a mound of rubbish on the mountain, which inspired lots of us to create our posters about the litter, as well as making us think about how to make it really effective. It was a fun visit, and we definitely learned a lot of new writing techniques, as well as being inspired to create more excellent pieces of writing. He gave us lots of advice on how to write a good story and has encouraged us to form more texts, posters and stories about things that are important to us or about Climate Change. It was a very fun and inspirational author visit.’

Below you can read the amazing short stories by some of our Year 8 and 10 students.