Children from across United Learning perform at three regional StorySLAM competitions
This half-term, over 120 primary pupils from 16 United Learning schools got the chance to express their creativity through storytelling as part of StorySLAM.
Over the course of a fortnight, the Group has hosted three regional StorySLAM finals: at Abbey Hey Primary Academy in Manchester, Kettering Buccleuch Academy in Northamptonshire and Surbiton High School in Surrey.
The competition, which originated in New York and now takes place all over the world, challenges children to create their own original stories and perform them in the three-minute timeframe. Having practised in their own schools over the past few weeks, pupils at each event were given the chance to engage in practical, creative workshops before their final storytelling performances.
The workshops were led by Stuart Bird, author-in-residence at Surbiton High School, who also acted as emcee during the regional events. In one session, children got the chance to learn more about creative writing techniques and develop their ideas in an original story. They then perfected their performances in a confidence-boosting workshop where they explored how to perform their stories in the most engaging and exciting way.
Cheered on by audiences of their friends, peers and teachers, pupils then took to the stage to showcase their imaginative tales. Judges across the three events – which, along with Stuart Bird, included United Learning’s Primary Director Darran Ellison-Lee and Northern Regional Director Tanya Hughes – agreed that the quality of performances was fantastic and demonstrated the huge amount of effort and imagination that went into them.
Participants all received a certificate and StorySLAM badge and, at each event, three top awards – with book tokens as prizes – were given for ‘Best Story’, ‘Runner-Up’ and ‘Best Line’.
Stuart Bird, author-in-residence at Surbiton High School, event MC and Head Judge, said:
“The pupils’ vibrant imaginations were stretched to build exciting new creative worlds for their brilliant, original stories. Each performed amazingly individually as well as inspiring each other in collaboration.
“The standard of writing was dizzyingly high, and in the storytelling section of the competition the level of captivating, energetic delivery was remarkable – especially, when you consider that this is many students’ first time in front of a large live audience.”
Pupils’ stories will now be published in the 2018 United Learning StorySLAM anthology. In addition, all stories will be entered into the Chris Evans 500 word short story competition – where the prize is a trip around Hampton Court Palace in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!
Darran Ellison-Lee, Primary Director at United Learning and StorySLAM judge, said:
“Initiatives like StorySLAM demonstrate the calibre and talent of even our youngest pupils. It was brilliant to see children from so many of our primary schools come together to enjoy the competitive element and the opportunity to be creative.
“Part of our mission as schools is to bring reading and writing to life and allow children to experience the fun and excitement that comes with a great story, and StorySLAM was a perfect example of this in practice.”
Martina Montecchiarini, Project Lead at United Learning, said:
“StorySLAM continues to be a very popular feature in our Group calendar as it gives pupils a chance to experiment with language, characters and ideas and further develop the literacy tools they are learning in the classroom. Likewise, it is a great opportunity for staff and children in our primary schools to meet and learn from each other, which is one of the benefits of being part of a national group of schools. Congratulations to all those who took part this year; we look forward to producing our Group StorySLAM anthology this year as a record of everyone’s excellent work.”