Burnley FC star defenders, James Tarkowski and Matt Lowton, helped launch the Premier League’s new poetry competition at Padiham Primary School last week.
The competition, Premier League Writing Stars, is for children aged five to 11 and is backed by a wealth of names from the worlds of football and literature. The campaign is open to all primary schools in England and Wales and aims to get young people writing poetry in different creative forms. Inspired by the William Hickson poem ‘Try, Try Again’, the competition asks school children to write around the theme of resilience; what does it mean to you to try and try again?
The Claret pair visited the Year 5 and Year 6 class at Padiham Primary School, which is just a stone’s throw from the Barnfield Training Centre, to check out the poetry the children had been writing and to offer their own thoughts on what it means to be resilient.
After the players recited a football-themed poem to the children and discussed their own favourite books and subjects at school, James Tarkowski was challenged to a rhyme battle by budding Padiham poet Xavier Brookes!
Offering some advice to the local children on how to go about constructing their poems, Matt Lowton said: “Be resilient! If you write something and it doesn’t quite come off, or it doesn’t rhyme or it doesn’t sound right – don’t give up. You’ll get there in the end if you keep trying!”
The children’s resilience-themed poems will be entered into the nationwide competition that is headed up by an all-star judging panel including former professional footballer and children’s author Frank Lampard; ‘Charlie and Lola’ author-illustrator and Waterstones Children’s Laureate Lauren Child; Premier League star and lyricist Yannick Bolasie and Young People’s Laureate for London Caleb Femi. All judging will be overseen by Jonathan Douglas, National Literacy Trust Director.
The campaign is supported by the National Literacy Trust and is part of the Premier League Primary Stars education programme, which has already engaged more than 10,000 primary schools and 13,000 teachers in England and Wales.
Premier League Executive Chairman Richard Scudamore said: “Premier League Primary Stars has already proved to be a success thanks to the great work our clubs are carrying out in their communities and the breadth of resources the programme makes available to primary school teachers. We have already achieved our initial target of engaging 10,000 schools and the programme keeps evolving. Premier League Writing Stars is backed by established authors and poets as well as footballers and our aim is to enthuse children, teachers and parents alike.”
Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust, added: “Poetry has the power to unlock children’s imaginations, unleash their aspirations and boost their attainment. It also enables children to express themselves in a multitude of ways, from raps and lyrics to free verse and traditional poems. Combining football and poetry is a wonderful way to explore the theme of resilience. I can’t wait to read the children’s poems and take inspiration from their messages of never giving up.”
Paul France, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Burnley FC in the Community said: “We are proud to be delivering the Premier League Primary Stars programme to close to 30 schools locally. This engaging, dynamic and vibrant programme offers so much to children across the areas of PE and sport, PSHE, maths and English. The PL Writing Stars poetry competition is an exciting new part of the programme and we can’t wait to get working on the poems with the children!
“If you’re a teacher or a parent and you think your school could benefit from the Premier League Primary Stars programme, we want to hear from you. Please contact our Sport Development Manager Sam Howell on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01282 704716.”
Entries can be any form of poetic writing including a rap or lyrics. Teachers and parents can register or nominate their child’s school to take part at PLPrimaryStars.com. Entrants have until 22 December to submit their original poems.
All entries are submitted via schools and teachers and parents should visit www.plprimarystars.com to register or nominate their schools to take part.