Culture vulture

13th May 2005 at 01:00
Vicky Whelan loves sculpture, singing and showing off

Best book ever

I love John Steinbeck, and The Grapes of Wrath is my favourite because although it's about the past, it also speaks for today and the way we have become disconnected from the land. I like the clean, honest writing.

Best film ever

It has to be The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert (pictured, director Stephan Elliott) for its pure entertainment value; its unapologetic joie de vivre. I'm a bit of an exhibitionist when it comes to dressing up, so I love all that over-the-top stuff.

Favourite places

The Barbara Hepworth sculpture garden in St Ives. It feels like a secret place. The sculptures seem to echo the coastal landscape, the sea, the wildness, which I adore. I recently also took a class to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and, again, the discovery of form in landscape is so exciting. I got the children to collect bits of bark, mud and grasses, and the next morning we made clay sculptures with these found materials.

Best website

The Hamilton Trust website (, which offers free planned literacy and numeracy lessons for all age groups, has been so helpful to me as an NQT. An excellent starting point.

To share with children

The Womad world music festival at Reading. There's an astonishing diversity of top-class music and the atmosphere is wonderful, really friendly. I think it would be very healthy for pupils to experience this cultural melting pot, to go to didgeridoo workshops, to see large groups of people getting on so well together.

Looking forward to

My wedding in August and honeymoon backpacking in Ecuador. We hope to follow Inca trails and visit the Amazon basin.

Vicky Whelan, 32, is an NQT at Tranmere Park primary, Guisley, Leeds. She previously worked in ICT sales but moved into youth work before teaching. A singersongwriter, she is currently working with musician James Bacon from the 1990s techno band Mindfeel on a rockclassical indie fusion album, Antidote. She was talking to Elaine Williams

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