Following success earlier this year in the Live Canon Children’s Poetry Competition, budding young writers from Saint Gregory’s Catholic College in Bath received the news this week that they have once again had their written work praised, this time by judges in this year’s highly esteemed Betjeman Prize.

Poems by Year 8 students, Bonnie and Eevie, and Year 9 student, Kieran, are among the final 50 poets, out of over 2,500, to be featured in the 2018 anthology to be launched on National Poetry Day. Their poems will also feature in a school-produced anthology to celebrate the work carried out under the guidance of the school’s Writer in Residence, Josephine Corcoran.

Throughout last year, students were engaged in a range of individual and small group workshops, working alongside Josephine, to explore the world of poetry and creative writing. These workshops used a variety of topics and themes to inspire and enliven the student’s work and develop a greater understanding and love of the written word.

Speaking of their experience, they commented, “We really enjoyed working with Josephine last year and can’t believe that our poems have been shortlisted to the top 50 in the country. We didn’t study poetry at primary school so, when we came to secondary, it was a bit daunting and we didn’t really understand how they worked or how to compose a good poem. Josephine made it really fun and encouraged us to have a go.”

The Betjeman Poetry Prize invites entrants aged 10-13 from across the UK who must write on the theme of ‘place’. This year, the students’ work was judged by Jackie Kay and Zaffar Kunial.

Headmistress, Ms Ann Cusack, said, “This is an amazing achievement for our students and we are so very proud of them and their success in this highly acclaimed national competition. Working alongside a Writer in Residence for a year was a unique opportunity for our students to develop a new perspective on poetry – a subject that can often be a challenging medium for young people. Josephine brought learning to life and gave our young writers the confidence and encouragement to have a go – and to great success.”

The winners have been invited to attend the book launch at St Pancreas Station on Thursday 4 October.