South Cumbria Multi-Academy Trust

Pupils win national award for poetry

Poetry-loving pupils will visit a living monument to one of the greatest writers in history after winning a national award.

The Poetry by Heart Special Contribution Award, which celebrates the achievements of children from South Walney Junior School, will be presented at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London next month.

It recognises the school’s work over the past three years to increase the profile of poetry at the school in an inclusive way through after-school clubs and competitions.

Pupils Max Fullard and Ellie Jeffrey have now been invited on an expenses-paid trip to the capital to receive the accolade.

South Walney Junior School Deputy Headteacher Michelle Banks said the school felt honoured to be recognised for its role in instilling a love of words in the children.

“Through the Poetry by Heart competition, not only have we increased the profile of poetry substantially through reading and learning it in school, but we have also given our children a rare opportunity to develop their personal confidence, self-esteem and resilience.

“We have done this in a context of shared enjoyment, warm relationships – and lots of laughter,” she said.

Children who took part in the Poetry by Heart competition selected, memorised, practised and performed their piece in front of other pupils, families and friends last term before their entries were submitted.

Headteacher Zena Lines said they were also inspired and encouraged by a past pupil Eleanor Boyd who was a national finalist in the contest in 2022.

“To see them perform the poems rather than just say them and for many of them to step out of their comfort zone was inspiring,” she said. “The opportunity to study classical poetry this year too, poetry they would never come across gave them new skills.”

The project was supported by Joan Stark who volunteered to help out in the weekly school sessions.

“Because of our physical isolation from other parts of the country, our children have restricted access to the arts in all their forms and cultural diversity. We are not discouraged and the staff aim to expand the children’s horizons in as many ways as possible,” she said.

“Michelle has led the programme with enthusiasm and passion, inspiring, energising and persuading the children to take part, and to persevere to overcome their feelings of nervousness, anxiety, and sometimes, inferiority.

“Everyone was accepted and valued, and when someone was struggling, the others were eager to help.”


South Cumbria Multi-Academy Trust
South Cumbria Multi-Academy Trust
South Cumbria Multi-Academy Trust
c/o Chetwynde School Croslands
Rating Lane, Barrow-in-Furness
Cumbria LA13 0NY

Tel: 01229 824 210

Company number 13414087 registered in England.
South Cumbria Multi-Academy Trust