Serina Hartwell on Bingley Grammar School Investing in its Students and Celebrating its Achievements

Behind The Cold - SeenYear on year, raw talent continues to come through the doors. Young undeveloped minds pour into the school, looking to find their path in life…

Many of you may not be aware that author Serina Hartwell has a day job! When I’m not writing blogs/articles, poetry and novels, I run the library at Bingley Grammar School. Over the ten years that I have worked at the school, I’ve looked on as students have come through its doors. I’ve watched as they have gone out into the workplace, their many gifts nurtured through the hardworking staff who taught them and supported their daily education and emotional needs.

We have had some really talented people come through this school and today I want to look back at some of those who have gone on to shining careers and what work still goes on behind closed doors.

The Marmozets – I recall being assigned a new class to work with. Still quite new to the school, my job was to assist the class with their studies. One student stood out in particular, not because he was super talented or had any redeeming features that made him exceptional; he was a pale, petite boy who had the best imagination I’d come across in years, but his imagination was causing him to be completely distracted him from his learning. I soon learnt about him and other members of his family at the school, and realised that I was working in most of their lessons. As time went on, I got to know this great group of kids. They were optimistic and level-headed and just lovely children, but had left me with no lasting impression until one night when my own daughter had to choose her secondary school and was looking around on an open evening. I remember walking into the music block and seeing that they had set up a demonstration of students to show what the school was working on. It was this family. I hadn’t even realised that they were all musical. To me they were hard-working students, and then they started to play. I recall standing there gob-smacked. My students had an energy I’d never seen and were so purely talented that I stood in amazement, covered in goosebumps. Today you know my ex-students as the Marmozets. They see more and more success and my pride increases with every post about their music.

THE SHERATONS            The Sheratons – Today, I am currently working with yet another band alongside their studies – The Sheratons. These are another driven group of current Sixth Form students who show amazing talent and the motivation to succeed. By day they are Bingley Grammar School students, by night they are rock legends. I see great promise in this band. The spark that I saw in my former students – the Marmozets – I also see in them. There is a hunger to be true to their music and I wish them every success in the future. In the meantime, watching them grow as students and as musicians in the public eye is tremendously inspirational. It’s gratifying to know that they are getting it right.

Rebekah Tiler – European Weightlifting – If there was ever a sport that you wouldn’t expect a lady to take part in, it has to be weightlifting. Girls and weightlifting are not images that you would dream of putting together without some pointREBEKAH TILER of reference, but Rebekah Tiler left Bingley Grammar School to go on and become a triple bronze medal winner in the European Weightlifting Championships. Her Olympics selection looks promising. This is a girl who just keeps going from strength to strength. She always showed great determination at school and I will be watching her career closely. I wish her continued success in her sporting career and I am proud to have been around her while she was working to get there.

But what of the future? Is our work finished?

Year on year, raw talent continues to walk in through the doors. Young undeveloped minds pour into the school, looking to find their path in life from the doctors and nurses to the architects and master chefs; we have the most important job of guiding our students to develop their personal skills. It sounds easy, but children don’t know what they want to be when they get older until they are inspired and exposed to different things so they can realise their talents. One thing that I am really proud of is how Bingley Grammar School brings professionals and specialist people to the school and sees what they can do to expand their student’s school experience. We all think back to our school days and have a mixture of memories about those years. It’s the things that we did off timetable that stay with us – the extra-curricular activities that taught us just as much in an afternoon, because they were presented in a different way, with an interesting visitor they brought in to tell their story. These experiences are easily omitted due to budgetary constraints in the Education sector, but I’m glad that Bingley Grammar has been brave enough to continue to invest in their students.

Simply nip onto their Facebook or Twitter account to see the wonderful things going on throughout the academic year. Most schools would be glad to have a school ski trip every year. That would be their annual event and would tick a box, but Bingley take things a step further. Looking after their language students, future explorers, humanitarian students and future aid workers, they have a connection with a school in Nairobi – in Kenya, Africa. The relationship between the two schools is invaluable to both. The enrichment and inspiration to students at both schools is immeasurable.

Future horticulturalists, scientists and even astronauts are being inspired by the school’s science teachers, who have received their seeds from space. Inspired by their arrival, the greenhouse has had a make-over. I ask how many students are exposed to seeds that have spent time on the International Space Station with the British astronaut – Tim Peake of the European Space Agency.

Our budding medical students were taken to Bradford Royal Infirmary on a trip to check out their new wing and to meet with the staff there who gave them a feel for working in a hospital environment.

Three years ago, a group of teachers made it their business to bring together students and staff to experience the bard in a different light – for this they made a bid to work with the Royal Shakespeare Company. They had to compete against other schools and won. For the last three years, our drama students have been guided by the best. I see those students present an added confidence that wasn’t there before the Royal Shakespeare Company began to work with the school. These teachers have shown their students that there is a wide world of media and theatre waiting for them outside of Bingley Grammar and those big things are possible and should be worked towards with determination. I’m sure that their influence will last far beyond their students’ academic lives, and the various media industries will see Bingley Grammar School students in the future.

WORLD BOOK DAY WRITING CONTEST 2016 WEBSITE VERSION 2.1.1            To support our writers and editors, I asked a friend of mine if he would do me the biggest favour and he came through for me without hesitation. Darren Shan, the author of the Cirque du Freak series, The Demonata seriesThe Saga of Larten Crepsley series, Cirque Du Freak: The Manga series and his latest book, Zom-B Goddess (Zom-B, #12), which is part of the Zom-B series amongst many other works helped me put together a writing competition for the school. The competition winner’s pieces are available to view on Darren Shan’s Official Facebook page  and on my Serina Hartwell blog. The work to support reading and writing in school is always ongoing by our hard working English Department and our SEN Team who support our students with extra learning needs, but it is a personal pleasure to support Bingley Grammar School’s young authors and editors on an individual basis. Beginning to enter the Publishing and Editing industry can be difficult and guidance is hard to come by, so I guide young writers where I can. The school also bring in authors to assist students. Peter Murray visited recently and James Nash came in to concentrate on writing prose with some of our older students. Work is being done to fine tune students’ learning throughout the year.

The last thing I want to talk about is a venture that was started by one of the Assistant Deputy Heads – Mr Cook. Back in September 2015, he dreamt up the idea of planning a project that would tie into the new school ethos of BELONG, GROW, SUCCEED. He needed a project that could easily involve every student in the school and every member of staff. The project that he came up with was to carry out a Lip dub.BGS ON THE FIELD A Lip dub is a video that is filmed with everyone taking part lip dubbing to a music track. The school was turned into one big stage, everyone invited to join in. The involvement of the entire teaching faculty and student body had its own challenges to overcome, but required team participation, fast thinking and problem-solving skills to get this massive undertaking off the ground. He managed it and with great success. But that’s not where the story ends, because after the dust had settled, a Bingley Grammar School student, Will Humphreys sent the link off to CBBC, who liked what the school had done and wanted to do one of their own. See the full story on the school website and watch the short interview at the beginning of the video – CBBC Lip Dub.

To my fans that are still in school, perhaps you’re already reading The Hidden saga, which is based in a school setting, and you’re looking for inspiration. This novel began as an idea in someone’s mind; imagine what you can do if you put your mind to it and work together to get your idea up and running. Bingley Grammar has plenty of special events going on that you can take inspiration from. There are times when I wish I could go back to school. It’s not until you leave, and look back to reflect, that you realise how your school days were the best days of your life.


Serina Hartwell Author of Hidden–The Hidden Saga Book 1
Goodreads Author
Amazon –



Bingley Grammar School –

The Marmozets

The Sheratons –

Photography by The Sheratons

Rebekah Tiler – European Weightlifting –

Photography by Andrew Ward Law –

Nairobi –

The horticulturalists – Seeds from space –

The future medical students –

Working with the Royal Shakespeare Company –

Writing competition –

Visit from author Peter Murray – and

Visit from author James Nash –

Lip dub– Full Story –

Lip dub-

Poetry – The Dark Forest


The Dark Forest

In the dark forests of the night
You saw me standing there
Shadowed and alone
And fighting to get out

In the dark forest of the night
You sought to help me
To guide me to the edge
Where you were standing alone

In the dark forest of the night
The darkness engulfed me
Shaped me
Held me in place

In the dark forest of the night
You followed the path from my heart
That led right to me
Beckoned you forward

In the dark forest of the night
I breathe before I leap
The pause before the beginning
Renewal bound to us both

In the dark forest of the night
I follow your lead
Your arms are open
Guiding my way

In the dark forest of the night
I put one foot in front of the other
Step into the light
To where you gather me up

By Serina Hartwell Author of The Hidden Saga – Goodreads Author –
Amazon – 
Flickr –

Nanny’s Poem


Nanny’s Poem

I’ll never forget your smile
Or the fact you came up to my waist
I’ll never forget your stories
Or the fact you acted with grace

Today you go on your journey
To peace and calm and love
You leave us behind for now
To be in the clouds above

Your laugh still rings in my ears
And chimes upon our time
Sleep well tonight dear Nanny
Rest well, my love

For one day we will meet again
And I’ll wonder upon your face
One day it will be my journey
To wander to your place

For now we are sad and lonely
Know you’ll never really be gone
Because in our hearts and minds Nanny
You’ll always live on

By Serina Hartwell Author of Hidden–The Hidden Saga Book 1
Goodreads Author




See the person not their colour

See the person not their status

See the person not their religion

See the person not their creed

Treat them as equals not as sectors

Treat them as one whole individual

Treat them as equals from the beginning

Treat them with respect and love

Work together not against each other

Build a future for tomorrow

Learn new things from those around you

And build a story as one

By Serina Hartwell

Author of The Hidden Saga

If you like my work, tell a friend. Thank you for your support.




I see the thirst behind your eyes,

The ambition that dwells within,

Waiting to escape its confines,

It sits there trapped within.

Always looking for an outlet,

An opportunity managed your way,

For a new chapter to begin,

Keep trying, it will happen someday.

Like the rising of an established flame,

You try to supress your needs,

You do it for those around you,

But need serves to hinder your way.

Stop waiting for that day to come,

And start to make it happen,

Take your ideas out of the box,

And watch them shape your day.

Soon your exit will be illuminated,

Hard work will line your path,

Creativity will be supressed no longer,

And reward will ensue at last.

So pick up a pen and a piece of paper,

A note pad, computer, telephone,

Go do your research and preparation,

Cause one day you’ll need them no more.

By Serina Hartwell

Author of The Hidden Saga

If you like my work, tell a friend. Thank you for your support.




All dimples and cheeks,

And smiles and blue eyes,

With your soft blond hair,

That halos your face.

Your little play truck,

That whistles and chimes,

As you crawl with your plates,

Rubbing the ground.

One year has passed,

A toddler before me,

You’re ready to walk,

But not quite yet.

Your birthday cake ready,

The candle is lit,

A big blow delivered,

It’s time for a kiss.

Happy birthday dear Mylo,

You’re as sweet as your cake,

And growing up,

At an incredible pace.

Your presence is calming,

Tender and sweet,

Can’t wait for a cuddle,

The next time we meet.

By Serina Hartwell

Author of The Hidden Saga

If you like my work, tell a friend. Thank you for your support.

The History of Hearts

The History Of Hearts

The History Of Hearts

The things she never knew were left

Behind her the past that travelled so quickly

Like a speeding train it sped right by her

Never knowing what his heart wanted to impress

Peace will find him, but not for a while

The young girl on the platform waves goodbye

Her raincoat glistens in the darkness

Caught in the stormy rain

Forever searching to find that girl

She never ventured back

An opportunity lost, two lives changed forever

History, life, tracks, laid to the past

But fate isn’t finished yet, the tale isn’t told

For fate has another card to play

Light shines on the platform of the darkened evening

Once more she stands and waits

To hear his words, his feelings conveyed

Two lives on separate tracks

One story complete, a happy ending relayed

Life’s train delivered her back

For he waited and searched for his girl on the train

To ask her for her hand

He told her all those long lost words

The words she longed to hear

But time doesn’t wait and life keeps moving

A story beckons on

Life needs to keep pursuing adventure

While adventure carries on

He stands on the platform and waves at the woman

Who stands before him now

A smile on their faces, a heart in their hand

They travel off to separate lands

Regret for a day of untold feelings

A longing left to wait

For waiting left them to wonder forever

The history of two hearts

By Serina Hartwell

Author of The Hidden Saga

If you like my work, tell a friend. Thank you for your support.

To Escape a Moment

To Escape A Moment

To Escape A Moment

What water drips on my page of questions?

It lies bland and waiting for my hand

To wander through its distant pages

Of lands to be explored

The water drips down my window

Drawing me from my page

What story lies behind each raindrop?

Waiting to be collected


I travel, wander, fight and dance

As ink glides across my page

Where will my journey end today?

As water drips across my ink

My pen placed down I sit and wonder

At the place I have journeyed today

My heart is crying with tears I squander

As my journey ends today

Tomorrow will start another journey

Another empty page

Where will I escape to another day?

Another grey rainy day


By Serina Hartwell

Author of The Hidden Saga

If you like my work, tell a friend. Thank you for your support.

Hear My Voice

Hear My Voice

Hear My Voice

I stand amongst the crowd and holler out

To be heard

By the many that

Stand before me

My voice is lost

To the clatter and din

I’m surrounded by a sea

Of people, I drown, I’m lost

Forever afloat

Looking for that island

That will support me


One person turns around to face me

To listen intently

To watch my every move

My whisper changes to a shout

Calling to him in the crowd

More turn to face me, as I speak

My words come tumbling out

Sand caresses my feet beneath me

As I look down

My island beneath, all along

I hold my head up high

Once more

And call out to the throng

By Serina Hartwell

Author of The Hidden Saga

If you like my work, tell a friend. Thank you for your support.




The steps I take, one foot in front of the other,

Take me closer to our new life,

A new beginning, for you and me,

A lighter time together.

The occasions I’ve missed,

The weekends I’ve worked,

The late evenings and holidays,

The housework still waiting to be done.

They take me a step closer,

To where I belong,

The place I should have been,

All along.

Our future together,

Secure for the rest,

Of a life of creativity,

Enrichment and course.

I do it for us,

I do it for me,

Our new life awaits us,

In the steps that I take.

By Serina Hartwell

Author of The Hidden Saga

If you like my work, tell a friend. Thank you for your support.