THEY are the well-known bedtime stories of millions of children.

Hundreds of families have read the adventures of Mr Happy, Mr Sad and Mr Greedy.

But the Cleckheaton-born author of the Mr Men books, Roger Hargreaves, would no doubt be shocked to know that his work has helped a Huddersfield school gain a national accolade.

Crosland Moor-based Moor End Technology College has been named as one of only 12 schools nationally by Ofsted as offering an innovative and creative curriculum for English.

And this is no mean feat when you consider that three-quarters of students at Moor End come from minority ethnic groups, mostly Pakistani, and two-thirds of students speak English as an additional language.

It is also surprising when you consider the report "Excellence in English: What we can learn from 12 outstanding schools" focuses on the school’s use of the Mr Men books as innovative and "highly distinctive".

The report says: "While the Mr Men unit of work might seem on the surface to make limited demands on the ability of secondary-age students, it involves a great deal of grammatical and linguistic analysis.

"The wit and humour in the Mr Men books engages them and boys especially enjoy the purpose and direction of the work."

Among students’ comments to inspectors were: "I always look forward to English even on a bad day" and "English lessons are as fun as a bouncy castle."

The college’s director of English, James Ashmore said: "We are all exceedingly proud of the HMI’s report on Excellence in English.

"The observations made about our strong vision, the way we listen to students and the fact that an Outstanding English team like ours never stands still show what a fantastic experience our students have in their English lessons.

"We are confident that our current year 11 students will achieve the school's best ever results in English – putting us in the top 1% of schools in the country for progress.

"And we’ll continue to improve and innovate, too, to provide our students with what they deserve – only the very best."

The report praises the school’s effective use of modern technology, tasks with clear purpose, emphasis on well-planned oral work with clear and specific roles for students as well as the strong and visionary leadership at all levels especially headteacher Jane Acklam who is mentioned as having a "fine and detailed knowledge of the curriculum and "high expectations".

Chief inspector, Christine Gilbert, said: "There are many routes to excellence. No two schools are the same and there is no simple formula that will make a school outstanding in its English provision.

"But the schools featured in this report are showing the way, often in difficult circumstances and their pupils make outstanding progress and achieve high standards – I hope they will inspire others."

The report mentions that the schools all took reading for pleasure seriously.

Teachers read and talked with enthusiasm, recommending books and planning opportunities for pupils to read independently outside the curriculum. Their success was seen in good test results and in children’s enthusiasm for reading beyond the classroom.


* Author Roger Hargreaves was born on May 9, 1935 in Cleckheaton.

* His dad was a wool manufacturer but after spending a short time working in his dad’s laundry and dry-cleaning business, Roger went into advertising.

* He married Christine, and the pair went on to have four children - Adam, Giles and twins Sophie and Amelia.

* His idea for the books began when son Adam asked his dad: "What does a tickle look like?" The question led to the long-armed orange character who was the first Mr Man.

*After initial rejections from publishers, Mr Tickle made it into bookshops in 1971, along with Mr Greedy, Mr Happy, Mr Nosey, Mr Sneeze and Mr Bump. The books cost 20p each and sold a million copies within three years.

* In 1975 the stories were brought to life in a TV cartoon series. The short programmes were voiced by Arthur Lowe, best known for playing Captain Mainwaring in Dad’s Army.

* Roger Hargreaves died in 1988 following a stroke at the age of 53.

* In 2010 a lost Mr Men book was published. The manuscript and original pictures for Mr Nobody were found in a drawer by publishers Egmont.