Schools on Empathy Day

Schools on Empathy Day

We are proud to have been working with ten pioneer schools to test our ideas since late 2015, which you can read about in the report on our first year’s work.

Empathy Day sees the culmination of the schools’ powerful and imaginative work to build children’s empathy and literacy skills, and their social activism. 

Some of our pioneer schools are presenting Empathy Awards. These are voted for by children, and given to book characters who show exceptional empathy.

Scroll down to see what's happening in some of the schools and follow us on Twitter to see who wins!

Moorlands Primary Academy, Great Yarmouth 

is mounting a whole school focus on understanding refugees’ experiences. Author Elizabeth Laird talks about her research in Syrian refugee camps whilst writing Welcome to Nowhere and children also work with refugee books The Journey (Francesca Sanna) and My Name is Not Refugee (Kate Milner).Older children read to younger ones and later in the week act on their idea for a sleepout doubling as an experience to deepen understanding of the conditions faced by refugees, and a fundraiser for the Mandala Trust in Syria.


St Michael’s Primary School, Rochdale 

is showcasing the children’s empathy work during the year . Children are voting on Empathy Awards for book characters who show exceptional empathy. Popular CBBC presenter Katie Thisleton visits to talk about empathy, and ask for pupils’ ideas in answering letters from children who write to her about their problems. The letters and Katie’s answers will be published in Dear Katie in 2018. Local Samaritans visit to deepen children’s understanding of good listening - a key empathy skill.


Beck Primary, Sheffield 

is a large state primary school on the edge of Sheffield. A year’s work culminates powerfully on Empathy Day. Young Empathy Leaders, who volunteer to help others in the playground, will play a leading role. Taking the theme of loneliness , children have been searching out empathetic book characters worthy of an Empathy Award. Authors Cathy Cassidy and Alan MacDonald will talk about how they use empathy to create book characters and present the Awards. 


St Hilda’s, Bushey 

Since the Easter holidays, children and families have been nominating book characters for Empathy Awards to be presented in a big June 13 assembly. The children’s book club has narrowed down the nominations to 16. Year 6 girls will take on the characters’ roles and campaign for votes. Children will be Empathy Awards Reporters for the school newspaper.




Netley Marsh Infant School, New Forest 

has teams of mad-keen Empathy BookSpotters, who have been working on empathy all year, and gathering nominations for empathetic characters to win Empathy Awards. Parents are very involved. The Awards will be made on Empathy Day.


International Community School, London

is welcoming author and TV personality Gemma Cairney for a session chaired by young people. Inspired by Gemma’s new book, Open, they will talk about empathy’s centrality to relationships and the Importance of putting it into action. Everyone will make empathy pledges to make a difference in the community, linked to the school’s emphasis on service, as part of the International Baccalaureate.


Wroxham Primary School, Potters Bar

The school will use Empathy Day to start teaching children about the meaning and importance of empathy, supported by author Tamsyn Murray who is the school’s Patron of Reading. 



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