Resilience and writing. Two of the top words in education at the moment. As the Department for Education (DfE) said in the 2014 document ‘Mental health and behaviour in schools: Departmental advice for school staff.’ :
[ctt template=”12″ link=”eo4sx” via=”yes” nofollow=”yes”]“in order to help their pupils succeed; schools have a role to play in supporting them to be resilient and mentally healthy”[/ctt]
So I was delighted when I heard that the Premier League Writing Stars competition’s theme was based around resilience (the competition is running until 22nd December 2017!)
As a teacher, writing was always one of the areas that many children found to be the hardest one to crack. There are so many different rules and they aren’t as clear cut as in Maths or Science. So much of writing is to do with inference or the writers’ voice, both of which can be incredibly difficult both to understand and to teach, so it’s understandable that many young people find writing to be the hardest subject to get to grips with.
Add to this the fact that many of our young people today struggle with resilience and trying again to get things right, and you have a bit of a perfect storm. They don’t want to try again with their writing because it’s hard, so many of them just give up! Which is where we, as teachers, have our challenges. We need a way ‘in’ to these children, to encourage them, engage and enthuse them, and to get them writing and trying without this fear of failure. Schools are doing a fantastic job at teaching growth mindset at the moment, and it’s definitely making a difference, but what about those harder to reach children?
This is where the Premier League Writing Stars competition comes into it’s own. If you haven’t heard about it, the Premier League Writing Stars is a poetry competition for 5-11 year olds. It’s open to all the Primary Schools in England and Wales, and backed by stars of football and literature, it aims to get children writing poetry in one of it’s many forms!
You’ve probably seen the advert on the television regarding the competition where both footballers and children recite the wonderful poem ‘Try, Try Again’ by William Hickson – but if you haven’t, do check it out here
. The idea is that children can write any form of poetry – a rap, song lyrics, a rhyming poem or even a haiku – as long as it’s based around the idea of resilience
Using football and sports as a hook, many of our harder to reach and harder to engage young people will find a way into writing. Children who are engaged in sports don’t always realise that the skills they use whilst playing, translate perfectly into their writing and other school work. As Frank Lampard says:
“Resilience is something every footballer certainly knows about. Encouraging children to think
about what it means to persevere and keep trying is a hugely valuable life lesson and I love that
this message forms a core part of the Premier League Primary Stars programme and Writing Stars
poetry competition. I am sure I will be reading lots of creative and inspiring entries.”
The competition is being judged both stars of football (including Frank Lampard and Yannick Bolasie) and well known authors and poets (including Waterstone’s Children’s Laureate Lauren Child and Young People’s Laureate Caleb Femi)
, as well as being overseen by Jonathan Douglas, the National Literacy Trust Director. The prizes include:
- The winning poems being published in a limited-edition book
- Author led workshops for schools
- Premier League trophy school visits
- The winning poems being read out loud by football stars.
Not only this, but the first 1000 schools that sign up will receive a bespoke ‘Book Bag’.
If you’d like your school to get involved in the Premier Writing Stars Competition, you can register over at PLPrimaryStars.com
. If you would like to see the difference that this competition can make to the children in your class and school, just check out this video by a young man called Jacob.
This is Jacob’s Story – Premier League Primary Stars and Leicester City FC from Craig Edmondson on Vimeo.
Writing can be such a powerful tool, and the Premier League Writing Stars is guaranteed to engage the children and get them writing enthusiastically and wanting to write more! What more could you ask for?
Disclosure: This was written in conjunction with Mumsnet and Premier League. All opinions and thoughts are my own.