Meet Jane

Posted by theministry on 23rd May 2024

We’re very happy to welcome Cath and Jane, who together are heading up our schools’ work, bringing the magic of writing into the classroom.


Jane McCarthy

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

I’m Jane McCarthy, a primary teacher with a background in arts and museum education. I also have two grown-up sons, a lovable dog, and a typically enigmatic cat. And I love stories in all their forms.

What did you do before joining the Ministry of Stories?

My career in education began as a class teacher, working in a primary school at the Elephant & Castle. After some years (and an MA in Museum Education), I moved to the brilliant, now sadly defunct, Museum of the Moving Image on the South Bank. After MOMI closed, I worked at the British Film Institute where I headed up a new team developing projects and managing the learning programme at BFI South Bank (which was great) and BFI IMAX (not so much). I later moved to the Design Museum at Tower Bridge (basically I just shifted myself further along the Thames) where I led the education team, and was lucky enough to work with leading designers and curators to develop a hands-on education programme for schools, families and adult learners. After leaving the Design Museum, I worked on freelance arts projects and also made the leap back into school, teaching again in KS2. I’m excited now to be joining the Ministry of Stories, where (working with my job-share partner, Cath Greenwood) I hope to use that broad range of experience – both in and out of the classroom – to positive effect.

Why is bringing creative writing into schools so important?

Schools strive to be exciting, creative spaces for children to work in every day. But it’s particularly exciting and important for children to have access to outside creative organisations, projects and practitioners who bring their unique creative practices and powerful imaginations into school spaces – especially for children who might not have access to wider creative and cultural experiences, or who can be reluctant writers in school. Taking creative writing projects into schools can inspire and empower children as writers, raise their confidence and achievement, and work in partnership with schools to support the great work happening there.

What are you most looking forward to as part of your new role?

I think I’m most excited about working with the Ministry team (of course!) and its amazing pool of writer facilitators, illustrators and talented volunteers. In my previous roles, stories have been told through the medium of film or museum objects – now I have direct contact with extraordinary imaginations, which feels very exciting!

Which of our school’s workshops would you most like to take part in and why?

I think it has to be Sketch Comedy – totally out of my comfort zone, which is probably reason enough to have a go!

If you were a student for a day, what story would you write or character would you create?

We’re convinced that our enigmatic cat Rico lives a double-life – so he’s a character and that’s a story I’d like to write about. He’s not a Six Dinner Sid kind of cat, and he’s no Varjak Paw so I’d have to come up with something new for the story of Rico the elusive tabby.

Our young writers love breadsticks and ‘easy peelers’. What’s your favourite snack to fuel imagination?

Quavers. No contest.

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