Y7 Literacy ‘Warhorse’ Transition Project

Y7 Literacy Transition Project culminates with trip to see the National Theatres performance of ‘Warhorse’.

Due to the overwhelming evidence that literacy has a significant relationship to people’s life chances, job prospects and work opportunities and the fact that only 40% of 10 year olds in England have a positive attitude to reading according to a Mori survey in 2013; Hartshill school embarked on a literacy project for students in Y6 due to start the school in September 2017.  As well as being part of a whole school literacy initiative at the school we hoped that this would help year 7 ‘hit the ground running’ with a common theme that all students had knowledge of no matter what primary school they came from.

Every year 6 student received a copy of ‘Warhorse’ by Michael Morpurgo on ‘induction day’ in July and were asked to read the novel before they arrived at the school in September.  All curriculum subjects had based their lessons in the first few weeks of the new school year on themes covered by the novel which required students to have the background knowledge of from reading the book. Learning across all subjects included: reading and writing stories and poems from the trenches; explosives; clay models of poppies; equine animation; dramatical and musical performances; food rationing and sensory analysis of armed forces ration packs from today; geographical locations of countries involved in WW1; life and weaponry used during WW1; friendships and loyalty; endurance, tactics and problem solving activities.


war horse show

 The culmination of this initiative was a trip to see the National theatre production of Warhorse. The first group of Y7 students visited Oxford Theatre prior to Christmas with the remaining students attending the theatre in Nottingham prior to breaking up for the Easter holidays. Our students have thoroughly enjoyed this project and the final school trip, for many this was their first experience of a theatre production. 

The knowledge and learning gained from this project resulted in a celebration evening held in November 2017 where parents were invited into school to experience an evening of music, drama and recital and to view examples of the work completed by their children over the first term at secondary school from all subject areas.

Warhorse project


“I think it helped me settle in as I knew the answers to things as I had read the book so was not worried I would be stuck”;

 “We learnt lots of new stuff about WW1 in all sorts of different ways not just the history of it”;

“I found it very exciting”;


Warhorse display 2

“ It was great to have all lessons based on something we all knew something about – it made us feel all the same no matter where we had been at school before”;

“It was amazing and the horses were very realistic”                               

“loved going to see the play, I had only ever seen panto’s before so this was great”.

© 2018 The Midland Academies Trust