After I blogged about the Premier League Writing Stars poetry competition, I was amazed at how many parents contacted me to say that they were encouraging their children's schools to get involved... I got Elodie involved too! It was such a good competition which not only got children aged 5-11 to express themselves with their writing and poetry skills, but to explore diversity and their understanding of the subject. In total, over 25,000 children sent in their poems to be judged by the celebrity judging panel; Lauren Child, Olly Murs, Rio Ferdinand and Joseph Coelho.
The judges sat down to read all of the entries, and judged them based on creativity, tone and originality. Singer Olly Murs commented 'I was so impressed by the Premier League Writing Stars entries. It's the first time I've been involved, so didn't really know what to expect, but wow... they exceeded my expectations. The quality of the writing is amazing. It's incredible to see children using poetry and their imagination to put their feelings about diversity on paper.' Ex Premier League footballer Rio Ferdinand agreed, ''We were sitting there saying 'Are these kids really this age, writing this?!' Some of the vocabulary, the language, the ideas and the way the poems took shape... It seemed more like university students!'

In the end, two national winners, one from Key Stage 1 and one from Key Stage 2 were chosen. The judging panel also selected ten regional winners across the two Key Stages. 
The National Literacy Trust worked alongside the Premier League to support the competition and is part of the Primary Stars education programme which inspires children to be active, learn and develop life skills with the support of the Premier League and professional football clubs. And since the launch of the competition in 2017, they have worked with more than 16,000 primary schools in England and Wales.  

The national winners; a group of Year One pupils from St Finbar's Catholic Primary School in Liverpool and Maariya, aged 9 from Heathfield Primary School in Birmingham have already received a visit from Joseph Coelho with the Premier League trophy and a poetry workshop for the school to take part in. Their poems 'Being Different' and 'An Ordinary Girl From Birmingham' will be published and distributed around schools in a limited edition Writing Stars books which will be illustrated with bespoke pictures by artist David Mackintosh. The book will also feature other stand out poems from the entries received and some by celebrities who support the competition and the work Writing Stars does.
Joseph Coleho, a poet in his own right has said ''The Key Stage 1 poem 'Being Different' stood out because it had such great structure. You have these regular rhyming couplets and a wonderful message which seems to refer to the poets' own experiences of possibly struggling with but then celebrating diversity. Maariya's poem 'An Ordinary Girl From Birmingham' is wonderful. It has a really strong voice. It talks about her parents being from the North or South and how that doesn't matter because together they make her world, which is such a beautiful sentiment.'

If you would like your child's school to get involved with Premier League Primary Stars, simply visit their website. You can read this years winning poems below.
Key Stage 1 winner - ‘Being Different
by Nabila, Lary, Jacob, Amy, Benyamin, Thomas, Khadija - St Finbar's Catholic Primary School - aged 5 & 6

I cover up my hair but you shouldn’t stare at me.
I have lovely hair and I’m as proud as I can be.

I speak another language but you shouldn’t laugh at me.
I can be your good friend – come and play with me!

I find walking hard but you shouldn’t throw me out –
I will get stronger and then I can run about.

I find spelling tricky but you shouldn’t huff and puff.
I will not give up even if it is tough.

I sometimes get worried but you shouldn’t point at me.
If you help me, I’ll be the best that I can be!

Key Stage 2 winner – ‘An Ordinary Girl from Birmingham’
By Maariya, Heathfield Primary School, aged 9¾

I am nine and three quarters, living next door to a lady from Gibraltar,
I can go to the shop to buy noodles and rice, chapatti flour and spice,
I can say As-salamu alaykum and Hello, Konnichiwa and Hola.
My favourite dish is pie and chips, popadoms, paratha and fish,
My sister thinks she is Jamaican, her favourite food is jerk chicken.
My mum is from up north,
My dad is from down south,
Together they make my world.
This is me, this is who I am.
An ordinary girl from Birmingham.

Does your child enjoy writing poems? Keep your eyes peeled for next years competition and make sure that their school gets involved! Even if they're not selected as winners, it's sure to be fun!

(This is an AD written in collaboration with Premier League Writing Stars)
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