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Primary Pupils Across The Group Express Creativity In Regional StorySLAM Finals
Alice Huntley

Primary Pupils Across The Group Express Creativity In Regional StorySLAM Finals


At the end of the last half term, pupils across the Group took to the stage for the regional StorySLAM 2024 finals, battling fierce competition to be crowned best storyteller.

StorySLAM is an annual competition run by United Learning for pupils in Years 5 and 6, which challenges them to write their own 200-300 word stories to then perform in front of their peers. Inspired by a similar event which began in New York, the aim of the competition is to develop children’s creativity, confidence and literacy skills in a supportive and fun environment.

This year, 36 primary schools across the country took part in the competition. The first stage began in each of the participating schools as the children wrote and later performed their stories in front of their classmates and teachers before a school champion was crowned.

Following this, the winners took up their places in one of three regional finals in the South, Midlands and North – hosted by Fulham Primary School, Hanwell Fields Community School and Cravenwood Primary Academy respectively – where they performed their stories to an expert panel of judges, including children’s storyteller Kevin Graal.

At the final event, pupils also participated in a storytelling workshop, led by Kevin, who equipped the children with the tools and confidence they needed to take to the stage and enthusiastically perform their stories.

The finalists’ stories will now be collated and published in the United Learning StorySLAM 2024 Anthology. A copy of this will be sent to each participating school.

The winners of the southern StorySLAM final were:

  • Overall Winner – Idris, Fulham Primary School
  • Runners Up – Eliza, Guildford High Prep School, and Owen, Surbiton Boys’ Prep School
  • Best Line – Mia, Langford Primary School
  • Most Surprising Moment – Karis, Longshaw Primary Academy

Idris said:

“I am proud to represent my school and to be the winner of StorySLAM. As soon as I heard about the competition, I was excited to take part and really hoped I would win. The competition was tough and there was some fantastic storytellers. I think in the end my actual story helped me to win and I feel very happy about that.”

The winners of the midlands StorySLAM final were:

  • Overall Winner – Fidan, Hanwell Fields Community School
  • Runner Up – Aminata, Orchard Meadow Primary School
  • Best Line – Chidera, Lincoln Minster School
  • Most Surprising Moment – Jason, Corngreaves Academy

Fidan said:

“The day of StorySLAM was very fun because we got to do loads of things at the workshop! Before I read my story I felt very scared but whilst I was doing it, I loved it! I didn’t think I would win but when I heard my name I was so happy and excited to share the news with my family.

“My inspiration for writing my story was because every Friday my sister and I go to the shop and buy a croissant and we call it ‘Croissant Friday’!”

Alex Pearson, Head Teacher at Hanwell Fields Community School, said:

“We always enjoy participating in StorySLAM, and for the past two years we have hosted the midlands final. We are so proud of Fidan for winning the midlands StorySLAM 2024. Fidan beautifully wrote a quirky, funny story about a forsaken croissant which entertained the audience and judges. A key element of the competition is that the author has to read aloud their story, and, against some fantastic competition, Fidan rose to this challenge and it was a joy to see!”

The winners of the northern StorySLAM final were:

  • Overall Winner – Ashley, Abbey Hey Primary Academy
  • Runners Up – Grace, AKS Lytham, and Sufiyaan, William Hulme’s Grammar School
  • Best Line – Enoch, Dukesgate Academy
  • Most Surprising Moment – Elijah, Hunningley Primary Academy

Ashley said:

“I was really nervous about entering the competition but felt it was something I really needed to do.  My heart was fluttering with excitement when I found out that I had been chosen as the school champion. Kevin helped me to use expression as well as my voice during my performance and I am very grateful for his help. It took me a few moments to realise that I had won. It was the best feeling in the world.”

Kevin Graal, children’s storyteller and StorySLAM judge, said:

"Many thanks to United Learning for inviting me to run the workshops and be one of the judges for the Regional Finals of StorySLAM 2024. It was inspiring to see so many young people from such widely different backgrounds engaging with language so inventively and with such confidence. I learnt a thing or two from these brilliant young storytellers!"

 

Darran Ellison-Lee, Director of Primary Education at United Learning, said:

“StorySLAM is always a highlight of the academic year and an excellent example of how we deliver an Education with Character to our young people – and this year’s competition was no exception. Pupils demonstrated some impressive creativity and confidence at each of the regional finals and it was wonderful to see them take such pride in their original stories and performances. Everyone participated so enthusiastically, making the events a joyful celebration of stories and performance. Congratulations to all pupils who took part in StorySLAM – both at the school and regional level – and, in particular, to our fantastic winners.”

You can read more about Kevin’s work on his website or on X (@KevinGraal).

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