Two lucky United Learning pupils represented the Group at London’s Southbank Centre for the poetry competition’s national grand final
Two pupils from United Learning competed at London’s Southbank Centre for the final of Young StorySLAM: Live last week.
Part of Southbank Centre’s Imagine Festival, StorySLAM is a national story writing and storytelling competition for Year 5 and 6 pupils across the country. Since October, pupils from across United Learning have been competing within their schools, culminating in two regional semi-finals last month, for a chance to represent the Group at last week’s junior grand final in London. This initiative came about thanks to an introduction from Surbiton High School’s writer-in-residence Stuart Bird.
As part of the competition, pupils were tasked with writing the best original stories and performing them to an audience within the short three-minute time frame. The standard of performances across both semi-finals was incredibly high but unfortunately there were only two places for United Learning pupils in the national final. These were filled by the overall winners of the semi-finals: Ellie from Rowan Preparatory School and Nada from Cravenwood Primary Academy.
Cheered on by peers from their schools, who also attended the event in support, the pupils put on an excellent performance to showcase their imaginative stories. The judges were extremely impressed with both girls’ stories and gave them strong, positive feedback about their performances.
Darran Lee, Primary Director at United Learning, said:
‘This was an incredible opportunity for our pupils to show off their imagination and creativity, with the added experience of performing in front of such a large audience.
‘I hope that Ellie and Nada are very proud of their achievement, as well as everyone across the Group who took part in their schools over the last few months.
‘Most importantly, this event demonstrated yet again how exciting and rewarding reading and writing are and I hope it will encourage all our pupils to continue to nurture these skills.’
Ellie, from Rowan Preparatory School, said of the day:
‘It was scary but exciting at the same time. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it because I used to not like standing up and speaking in front of people – especially hundreds of them!’
Nada, who travelled down from Cravenwood Primary Academy in Manchester for the event, said:
‘It was hard to get up at 5am but I was really excited! Catching a black cab, we rushed through the sights of London – Aldwych, Strand, Bloomsbury, Holborn, The London Eye, Waterloo – and saw glimpses of Parliament and St. Paul’s Cathedral.
‘I was first in the competition to perform, but everybody supported me and the gasps of amazement encouraged me. Although I didn’t win, I am very proud of myself.’