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Award-winning author visits Millthorpe

2024 > March > 01 > Award-winning author visits Millthorpe

County lines and knife crime were the topics of discussion at Millthorpe School this week as students and staff welcomed award-winning author Christina Gabbitas into school.

Christina spent the day with students in Years 8, 9 and 10, delivering workshops in which she talked about her journey to becoming an author and her motivation to write about topics which affect the safety and wellbeing of young people.

Prior to her visit, students had spent their form-time ‘Culture Curriculum’ sessions in the previous week discussing county lines and the impact of knife crime on young people. They also watched Christina’s first animated story No More Knives or County Lines. During the workshops, Christina showed the animated version of her sequel Trapped in County Lines.

The visit came about after Millthorpe School’s Assistant Headteacher for Teaching & Learning, Adam Baybutt, read about Christina’s work in The Press in January this year.

Mr Baybutt said: “We have been looking for an author to come and speak to our students as part of our whole school reading strategy for some time now, but we wanted it to be the right person, talking about issues that would really resonate with our students. I read The Press article in January and immediately sent Christina an email to ask if she would be interested in coming to Millthorpe. Christina called me the very next day and we worked on a plan for her to come and visit us. Not only is Christina an award-winning author and someone who ensures that all her work has an educational benefit to young people, but she is writing about issues which have been identified by North Yorkshire Police as contextual safeguarding concerns for our city. It was the perfect opportunity to both inspire students in relation to reading and writing, and provide vital safeguarding education.”

In the last lesson of the day, students who attend extra-curricular reading or writing clubs were invited to attend a further workshop with Christina where they worked together to write a poem based on the story and what they had learned. This will be published in due course. Christina also provided the students with signed copies of the story and stayed behind to answer questions.


Christina said “I had an incredible author visit with the students at Millthorpe School, sharing my journey as an author and discussing my book Trapped in County Lines. I had such a warm welcome. The school has an amazing and positive buzz about it, and everybody was so helpful and friendly. The children in all year groups were very engaged with the story, characters, and topic. It was encouraging to see that the school prioritises safeguarding and addressing important topics like County Lines that are affecting all communities.”

Mr Baybutt added, “As always, I was incredibly proud of our students for how well they engaged with Christina and feel that they have taken a lot from today. Christina’s journey to becoming an author, and her exceptional work since, is inspirational, and many students (and colleagues) have already said this to me. I am very grateful to Christina for taking the time to come and speak to our students and know that they have left today feeling even more connected to the positive benefits of reading and will also be even more confident about spotting the signs of County Lines, and how to keep themselves safe.”

Year 8 students Anna and Jack stayed behind after everyone had left to give Christina glowing feedback and confirmed that her intended educational objectives had been achieved.

Jack said “I had never heard of Cuckooing before. This has really helped me to understand the dangers faced by people our age, and in our own community.” Jack also read a poem that he had written based on homelessness. This was inspired by an assembly delivered by Millthorpe’s Headteacher Gemma Greenhalgh in the run-up to Millthorpe’s annual Christmas Appeal to provide food, clothing and toiletries for the homeless people in our community.

Anna added “The story was really relatable for people of our age. It was good to see how this can happen to young people in our own community, and not just a story about something that can happen to somebody else, somewhere else.”

1 March 2024

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