for Schools


[July 13th 2016]

A new venture for
the Kipling Society

The first object of the Society is to promote the reading and appreciation of Kipling's works, so we are keen to do all possible to encourage an interest in his stories and poems among the younger generation.

Kipling is one of the world's great writers for young people, with the Just So Stories and their accompanying poems for little children, the Jungle Books, which many people have encountered in childhood and never forgotten, and many stories and poems which can be read with profit and pleasure by people of all ages.

We have established the John Slater Memorial prize for Sixth-forms, but we feel it will be well worthwhile to do more to reach younger children, and encourage and support Kipling-related activity in their classrooms and outside them. To help make this happen we are keen to establish a network of interested teachers so that we can be guided by their experience, hence this web-site.

Update - June 2017

‘Writing with Kipling’

The John Slater Competition 2017

The second year of the Kipling Society’s creative writing prize for primary school children has been another success. We are delighted that four of the primary schools which participated last year were able to do so again this year and the number of children who entered went up - to 143. We have heard that the competition has inspired children who entered last year to keep writing for fun. The Hamilton Trust, an educational charity, once again generously supplied teaching resources about Just So Stories.

We were thrilled that the novelist David Mitchell agreed to judge the prize. He awarded the first prize to ‘How the Tortoise Got its Shell’ by Mainak Ghosh from North Primary School in Colchester. The second prize went to ‘How the Lizard Got Its Frilled Neck’ by Joseph Grant from St Margaret’s School in Hove. The third prize was given to ‘How the Polar Bear Got His Fur’ by Jake Piddlesden, also from St Margaret’s School. The winning entry will be printed in September’s journal.

We would very much like to see the prize grow to include more schools. If any member knows of children who have just started in Year 5 (9 or 10 years old), we would be very happy if they would like to bring the prize to the attention of their school. We have generally found the best way to develop interest in the prize is to approach Year 5 teachers directly.

Angela Eyre

For Primary Schools

Angela Eyre writes: When the Society first started thinking about a creative writing prize for primary school children we were delighted to discover that children in Prettygate Junior School in Colchester had already been using the Just So Stories as inspiration to write their own.

Nathan Crame, Deputy Head of Prettygate, writes:
In Year 5 last year (2014), we planned to teach a unit of work, as per the new National Curriculum, to cover Classic Fiction. We found the Trust plans and resources for teaching classic fiction through the work of Rudyard Kipling to be engaging, interesting, challenging and ultimately fulfilling.

We started by looking at excerpts from The Jungle Book and "Rikki-tikki Tavi", quickly moving onto Just So Stories. We had a range of texts, audio files and video clips in order to make the stories appealing to all the pupils. Emphasis was placed on the fun and inventiveness of the stories, not only for the imaginative narrative but the playful use of language as well. Having read several of the Just So tales, the children were so excited to hear that they would be able to choose their own animal to research and write about, and decide how it came by its distinctive feature.

We have two classes of 32 in each year group, but last year we decided to split Year 5 into three sets for English and Maths - I taught the top groups of 18 pupils in each subject, so these stories were written by the most able Year 5s last year. 3 or 4 of these students may gain places at local grammar schools, and approx 10-12 are working above age-related expectations.

The current Year 5s are working in two mixed ability classes this year. We thoroughly enjoyed learning about Kipling last year and I was delighted with the pupils' responses. We were very pleased to be approached by Angela at the Kipling Society to discuss the concept of a writing prize and I look forward to hearing how the profile of Rudyard Kipling is raised amongst other 10 year olds as the year goes on. [N.C.]
Prettygate School have very kindly agreed to let us put some of these stories up on this site. We think they are great and that Kipling would have thoroughly approved.

'Writing with Kipling' competition, 2016

This year (2016) we have held our first "Writing with Kipling" competition, as a pilot project. Five schools and 116 children took part, writing 500-word stories inspired by the Just So Stories. Year 5 children (9 and 10-year olds) spent three weeks studying Kipling, helped by material from the Hamilton Educaion Trust. The prize-money came from the Slater Memorial Fund. All he children who took part reeived a certificate, and the winning entry "How the Baboon Got his Bottom" was awarded £50 in book tokens; the school received £150 to spend on books. The top ten entries are on display at Bateman's.

We were delighted with the quality of the stories, as was Ros Asquith, the children's author, who judged the competition. Teachers too were enthusiastic, and particularly valued this opportunity for encouraging creativity and imagination. We hope to find a manageable way of continuing in future years, perhaps on a larger scale.

If you are a teacher, now or in the past, or simply if you have any thoughts to contribute and are interested in helping move these ideas forward, we will be very glad to hear from you.

To help build this web-site we are very interested to know what you see as the most important stories and poems you feel should be of interest to children: at Secondary level and in Primary schools. Also what type of material distributed through this site would be most useful .

Mary Hamer writes: Arising from the Email Newsletter, Volodymyr Chernyshenko in Kyiv has got some children to write their own Just So Stories and he has translated them himself. We plan to treat these as a separate category when judging. He also sent a delightful picture of himself and class acting out "The Elephant's Child".

Just So Stories
for Little Children, September 1902

The Just So poems

Prizewinning Tales, July 2016

  • "How the Baboon Got his Bottom" by Ismael Guissous, Greenleaf Primary School, Walthamstow, London '...extremely funny and inventive, wholly original' (Ros Asquith)

  • "How the frilled-necked got his frill by Seb Jensen, North Primary School, Colchester '..brings Kipling up to date with chilled monkeys and space-stations.' (Ros Asquith)

  • "How the Tiger Got Stripes" by Sude-Poppy Belcher, St Margaret's C. of E. Primary School, Rottingdean

  • "How the Dragon Got his Flame" by Martha Morgan, Greenleaf Primary School

  • Also highly commended: Kameron Mills (Brampton), Finn Rattray (Prettygate), Anisa Ahmed (North), Mary Jane Goodwin (St Margaret's, Poppy Rolfe (Prettygate), Frank Thorpe (Brampton).

Tales from Prettygate Junior School, 2014

More possibilities for this site ?

  • more lists of relevant stories and poems with links to notes and the text
  • interesting work being done in schools
  • ideas for further development
  • materials for downloaing
  • a schools forum
  • international comparisons
  • text of the stories and poems, pictures, music ...
  • possibilities for competitions
  • any ideas from you ???

We will be most interested to have your involvement in a project that we feel will be an important new departure for the Kipling Society.

Angela Eyre (, John Walker (, and John Radcliffe (

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