FAQs for the Term 4, 2022 tour


What will be different in the Term 4, 2022 Tour? 

Due to social distancing requirements, Russ the Bus will not be able to join the author/illustrator and Festival staff visiting your school. Festival staff will set up a book fair in an agreed location from which students can select their free book to take home. All other elements of the Russ experience will remain the same, including the author/illustrator presentation, in accordance with your school’s COVID rules for vaccinated visitors.    


How will students select their free book if Russ does not come to the school? 

Sydney Writers’ Festival staff will set up a book fair in an agreed location that will run throughout the day. After students have attended their author talk, they will visit the book fair and select their free title to take home. As well as copies of the visiting authors’ books, there will also be a wide range of titles suitable for readers of all ages, abilities and interests. 


How many students can visit the Russ Book Fair? 

A class of 30 students usually takes 20–30 minutes to each select a book. Sydney Writers’ Festival will work with you to organise a schedule for the day to ensure that all participating students have ample time to visit the book fair and select their free book. 


Who are the authors accompanying the Term 4, 2022 tour?  

The full line-up will be released later in 2022. 


Where is the Term 4 tour going? 

In Term 4, the Russ the Story Bus team will travel throughout Greater Sydney. 


When is the Russ the Story Bus on tour? 

Russ the Story Bus is part of the Children’s Festival of Moving Stories, which will take place throughout Term 4. 


What is the Children’s Festival of Moving Stories? 

The Children’s Festival of Moving Stories is Sydney Writers’ Festival’s annual tour of schools. The main component of the 2021 program is Russ the Story Bus, which will now take place in Term 4, 2022. 


What is Russ the Story Bus? 

In 2014, Sydney Writers’ Festival transformed an ordinary bus into a bright and colourful creative space decked out with bookshelves (full of the latest children’s books) and spots for kids to read and listen to stories. Russ the Story Bus is a magical place for children that celebrates storytelling, reading and creativity, and fosters that lifelong connection to books that begins in childhood. 

Please note: due to social distancing requirements, Russ the Bus will not be able to join the author/illustrator and Festival staff visiting your school in Term 4, 2022. Festival staff will set up a book fair in an agreed location from which students can select their free book to take home. Watch a video of Russ the Story Bus in action. 


What happens during a Russ the Story Bus visit?  

Students begin their Russ the Story Bus experience by attending an interactive talk from a children’s book author or illustrator. They will share their love of books, discuss their craft, and inspire children to think creatively about reading, writing and storytelling. Students listen to stories read by Festival staff, chat to the visiting children’s book author or illustrator, and choose a book to take home.  


How do I book Russ the Story Bus?  

Expressions of interest are now open for Term 4. To ensure you are considered for the Term 4, 2022 tour, please fill out the expression of interest form on our website. 

Sydney Writers’ Festival selects schools to take part in the Russ the Story Bus tour based on a variety of factors, including location, ICSEA score, FOEI score and number of past visits. The Festival prioritises government schools, especially those with high enrolments of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, students with refugee backgrounds and students who have recently arrived in Australia. 


How should our school prepare for Russ the Story Bus to visit? 

In the time leading up to your confirmed visit, the Tour Manager will contact you to discuss the details and ensure that everything will run smoothly on the day. You will also be sent some information about the visiting author or illustrator, as well as some activity sheets and classroom ideas that you are welcome to make use of. 


What does our school need to provide for a Russ the Story Bus author visit? 

The author/illustrator’s presentation will need to be held in a school hall or library that has access to a projector or smart board, and a microphone. If your school requires incursions for more than one class at a time to be held outdoors, our tour manager will discuss this with you. 


Who participates in a Russ the Story Bus visit? 

Up to 220 students from each school are able to take part in a Russ the Story Bus visit. Sydney Writers’ Festival intends this program to involve whole classes and year groups. Please note, requests for a small number of students to attend from multiple classes will not be granted by the Tour Manager. The decision regarding which classes and year groups will participate in the visit will be agreed on in advance between the school and Festival. The Festival cannot guarantee that late additions to the tour schedule will be accommodated. 

We understand that current cohorting rules may limit the number of students that can participate in a day, and we will work closely with you to ensure as many students as possible can safely take part.  


How long is the school visit?  

The Festival visits one school per day. Festival staff will arrive one hour before the school day begins and depart by 3pm. Each student/class can expect to spend approximately an hour out of class participating in the incursion. 


What does a Russ the Story Bus visit cost? 

As a free program, a visit from Russ the Bus comes at no cost to the students or to the school. We do ask that all participating schools complete an online evaluation after the visit as part of the program. 


What year levels is Russ the Story Bus suitable for?  

A visit from Russ the Story Bus is suitable for primary-aged children (from Kindergarten to Year 6). Sydney Writers’ Festival will work with the school to ensure that the visiting author or illustrator is speaking to an age group that is suited to their work. 


Who manages the visit? 

Sydney Writers’ Festival staff work alongside your nominated teacher or teacher-librarian school representative to coordinate the visit. Our Tour Manager will be in touch beforehand to confirm all the details. It is expected that each class visiting will be accompanied by their classroom teacher or another teacher familiar with their individual reading abilities. 


Do Sydney Writers’ Festival staff have a Working With Children Check?    

It is a requirement that all Sydney Writers’ Festival staff and volunteers have a Working With Children Check to be part of this program. 


Will there be a Risk Assessment provided?  

We will provide a Risk Assessment and Working With Children Checks for all staff and volunteers attending your school. Our Russ the Story Bus Tour Manager will be in contact before your visit; please let them know if you require any specific risk or compliance documents.  


What if we need to cancel last minute due to a COVID-related school closure? 

Unfortunately, we will not be able to reschedule your school within the Term 4 tour, but all efforts will be made to prioritise your school for our next tour in 2023.   

My students have special access requirements. Who shall I speak to?  

During the confirmation and booking process, there will be an opportunity to discuss any special access requirements you or your students may have. If you have any questions, please contact our Head of Children’s and YA Programs, Amelia Lush, via email at amelia@swf.org.au. 


Is the Festival going to photograph my students?    

Sydney Writers’ Festival employs the services of a professional photographer to capture selected Russ the Story Bus visits. These photos are for archival and marketing purposes only. The booking of a Russ the Story Bus visit grants permission for these photos to be used for these intended purposes. Sydney Writers’ Festival will let you know in advance if photographs are expected to be taken. If you, or any students in your care, do not wish to be photographed, please inform the photographer or a Sydney Writers’ Festival staff member. 


Terms and Conditions for the Term 4, 2022 Tour  

The services that will be provided by the Sydney Writers’ Festival are:  
a. A book fair will be set up by Sydney Writers’ Festival staff. 
b. One children’s author or illustrator will conduct two 3040-minute talks for students at your school. 
c. If needed, two 3-metre by 3-metre marquees will be set up by Sydney Writers’ Festival and weighed down accordingly. 
d. Sydney Writers’ Festival staff will require 3060 minutes to pack down the Russ Book Fair at the end of the visit. 
e. Sydney Writers’ Festival holds an insurance certificate of currency for Public Liability. 
f. Sydney Writers’ Festival will provide assurance that all Sydney Writers’ Festival staff and volunteers have valid Working with Children Checks.  
g. Two Festival staff members will manage Russ the Story Bus operations, which includes a tour manager and assistant. 
The services that will be provided by your school are:  
a. Teachers to supervise and manage the children visiting the Russ Book Fair. 
b. Teachers to ensure students select books that are suitable and appropriate for their age and reading level.    
c. Teachers to make Sydney Writer’s Festival staff aware of any students who do not have permission to be photographed. 
d. Teachers to maintain order while attending both the presentation and book fair. 
e. Provide accurate contact information to the Sydney Writers’ Festival so that the Russ the Story Bus team can reach the correct school contacts. 
f. If deemed COVID-safe, provide an internal location for the author/illustrator talk with access to a microphone, and a smart board or projector and an additional indoor location for the book fair. 

Each organisation releases and holds harmless the other party, including its respective officers, agents and employees, from and against all claims, damages, liabilities, costs and expenses (including any reasonable legal costs and expenses) incurred or suffered by or arising out of, in connection with, or incidental to the acts, or omissions (other than those involving negligence or wilful default) of either party, its agents or representatives in connection with Sydney Writers’ Festival or this memorandum.