For the first time, Havering LA and London Grid for Learning (LGfL) are inviting schools across the UK to create and submit poems that will be judged alongside their counterparts in France, Spain and Finland via video-conferencing on National Poetry Day (October 8).
Poet amd former children’s laureate Michael Rosen (left), together with John Hegley and Paul Cookson, will be the star poets at the one-day "All about Europe" event that organisers say “will allow children to have the opportunity through technology, to meet role models and participate in developing skills in poetry writing, listening and speaking”.
Entries for the competition can be written in any style and be about any subject - including culture, lifestyle or people - so long as they are also about Europe. Primary and secondary learners can get involved but only one entry per class will be accepted. The emphasis is on originality and - most important - having fun.
Schools can join the celebrations on October 8 in a number of ways. For those in London an LVCnet (London Video Conferencing Network) connection or a fixed IP address is enough, while others can watch the real-time video stream throughout the conference on any broadband PC or by registering free with JVCS (Janet Video Conferencing Service) - other UK learning grids are supporting the event. Using either of these methods, they’ll also be able to make comments and ask questions via the LGfL forum, details of which will be on the competition site for a week from September 28.
As judges for "All about Europe", which is being hosted at Crownfield Junior School in Essex, the celebrity poets will need to be prepared. Pupils are planning to put them on the spot with questions about their work and life with responses to be broadcast internationally on the day. And with live presentations from participating schools, both in the UK and abroad, they’ll have to work hard at perfecting their own performances which are expected to include poetry readings.
The top prizes are 2GB Mp3 players and signed copies of books from the judges for winners in each of the age group categories – 7-11 and 11-16. Finalists' entries will be read out ‘live’ during the day with winners notified at a later date.
Michael Rosen's welcome to National Poetry Day