Bethany School Logo

Home / Latest News / Author Andy Mulligan visits Bethany School to inspire pupils

Author Andy Mulligan visits Bethany School to inspire pupils

On Thursday 9th February we welcomed Andy Mulligan into School for the whole day to talk to years 7-9 and some year 10 pupils about his books, including his bestselling novel ‘Trash’.

The morning started off with a presentation to year 9 and after break, the lower groups of year 10.

In the afternoon Andy spoke to year 8 and year 7. Once again, he spoke about his arrival to Manila and the train journey where he encountered street children clambering onto the side of a moving train. Once aboard they would sweep through the carriages looking for certain rubbish items, such as newspapers, food cartons, and plastic water bottles.

Hearing about his first day at a private school where he taught English to the wealthiest young people in the Philippines was enlightening. Once settled, the headmaster wanted to show the year 7’s the ‘real world’. The reason behind this thought was that these young people live in huge houses with high walls and a guarded entrance, they come to school in a blacked-out cars and each had a bodyguard. The headmaster believed that they could be the next politicians, bankers, and business owners however, they currently lead a sheltered life.

So, one day they spent time traveling to a dump site and the pupils were flabbergasted at the sight of the children and the smell of the rubbish. Watching the scenes around them they thought children were playing games when trying to catchup with the latest dump truck to arrive. It was explained to them that they wanted to be the first onto the rubbish to find the ‘best’ items, to then bag and earn some money from the scraps they find.

The experience of seeing the area for Andy impacted him so much that he wanted to write a book about the children living and working on the dump site – ‘Trash’.

Trash AM

After each session, Andy took questions from our pupils. Many questions were asked about his time in Manila, teaching, the film Trash, and money earnt from writing books and making the film.

Pupil quotes about the day:
“It was interesting to hear about his stories and how he writes his books.”
“Interesting to hear that he used his experiences to write a story.”
“Listening to him talk about his books makes me think about reading one.”
“Interesting to hear about that if you get a teaching qualification, you can then teach anywhere.”
“He was engaging and kept me listening.”

Late in the day a small group of our highflyers had a creative writing session with Andy. He gave them a sentence starter and pupils then let their imagination run wild. He gave each pupil tips and hint on how to improve their story writing.

Andy was thoroughly engaging, and his experiences (and photos) highlighting the difference lives people around the world lead.

Below is some of the work the pupils produced:

Bea F – Year 8
My name is Mya and I am an ex police officer. My very last case took place on 13th March 1973. The suspect had killed a 14 year old girl as her family had made his life a misery. I caught him and he was life sentenced, at least that’s what I thought…


“We need to talk. Meet me, usual place no questions just come.”

“Hey,” he said then got interrupted.

“No small talk suspect 659 is on the lose I was chased but we don’t have time to explain pack your bags we leave tonight.” She said with suspense.

“Already walking but you better bring the famous spaghetti Bolognese.” He said promptly. He’s madly in love with her.

“Sealed.” She said with her fingers crossed behind her back.

Jessica S – Year 7
My name is Ben, and I am a boy. Just a normal, slightly taller than average, maybe; but I’m still just a normal boy. My best friend, Jim Wilton, has just disappeared. Everyone is trying to hide the truth from me. I know that it has something to do with our headmaster, Mr Maison; he was giving his normal, boring Friday assembly; however, he was stuttering like mad, and he kept on looking over his left shoulder at someone, or something that we all couldn’t see. Mr Maison is a very confident man who will never be caught stuttering. Ever. Not in a million years. No, there was definitely some connection, I know that for sure; But what it was, another matter.

“Yes… hmm. Definitely… But now that they are disposed of surely they are no longer a threat… I see. Well I’ll have to get back to you on that, I have to go there are too many students wandering about. I’ll meet you tonight in the usual place. One hour early.” That was the house master, Mr Bowen, on the phone.

“You! Boy! School, Now!” he yelled across the hallway.

The school days were hard without Jim by my side, laughing about old Wiffy, our French and history teacher. Her actual name is Mrs Windwoll; but no- one takes her seriously.

Hamish H – Year 7
My name is Adrian, and I am a janitor. I am in trouble. It all started a few years ago when I was as dumb as a door. I got into trouble a lot at school, and I mean a lot, but that wasn’t why I am in trouble. No, I am in trouble because the police are after me, but they don’t know yet. But this all started a long time ago… I was sixteen, still at school, still innocent, well, fairly innocent at least and certainly not in trouble with the police.

“Oh, hi Adrian, your studying again, trying to keep your old elders happy?” said Montie.

“Not only that Mont” I said, “Mr moaner is at it again.” “Says if I don’t get my grades up by next month, I AM OUT!”

And then Mr moaner appeared, and that was the first step to my demise, the thing that took my life away, the tiny white lie, the type of thing that could turn someone’s life sideways. But to me, to me it crumpled my life like a tin can and threw it out the window onto a highway full of cars. Adrian tip toed up the stairs making sure to trying to make not a single noise. Tip toe, tip toe, tip toe. Nearly at the top, nearly there, nearly home… but am I nearly home? Do I really have a home, CRAASSHHH.

“ADRIAN? WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” said Lynda, the house troll.

“Sorry mum, I was just, just, I was jus-“


Max M – Year 7
My name is Jeremy, and I am an Orthopaedic Surgeon, well until last year I was. The reason is that every day I go to feed stray cats some food but one day the leader cat bit my finger off whilst I was giving him a part of a burrito. Yes, he bit my finger off, I know crazy isn’t it.

Here, I’ll tell you how this craziness all began. It all started on a normal Monday night I was just casually strolling around the cold streets of London when I passed by a local burrito van and it was called “Burrito’s by Bert” Now when I saw Bert he looked like a fishy old man maybe mid 60’s or 70’s and he spoke in a very Scottish accent so I couldn’t really understand much of what he said but the only thing that partially sounded like normal English was “EAT THE BURRITO’S …. Or else” Now I was quite shaken up by these some sort of English words but then he started to tell me what he had for breakfast that morning for some reason. He began with “Burrito’s, Breakfast burritos, that’s all I ever have, meaty, juicy BURRTO’S”….. and the odd piece of raw cilantro here and there.

But back to the story, so after I went away from Bert and his fishy van. No not fishy as in suspicious but the van smelt like fish which I thought was odd especially for a burrito van but then suddenly I got a burrito shoved down the back of my jacket but when I turned around to have a go at who did it there was nobody there. 🙂

Alfred B – Year 7
My name is Cliff, and I am a rock climber……or was. You see, I am an amputee. Quite recently I fell. Not just a trip or a slip, a full-on fall. As soon as I let go, I knew that my life would change forever.

It all started last month. A humble trip to Dover, a relaxing holiday, not a life and death situation, just a vacation with my husband, Steve. Although Steve isn’t one to climb, he is nice company when I am feeling lonely. Steve is an anesthetist. My anesthetist…