Celebrating poetry at Alsop High School

Alsop High School has held a series of events to celebrate National Poetry Day with the school

inviting leading poet Hilary Walker to speak to students about her poetry, as well as reading appropriate poems that directly link to their GCSE and A-level curriculum.

Ms Walker also read and discussed new material linked to their Personal Development Review (PDR) programme of study with topics such as the mental health of teenagers, family relationships, adoption, immigration and refugees.

Ms Walker also launched a school-wide poetry competition and encouraged Alsop students to participate in and submit their entries. Ms Walker will be the lead judge and students will receive signed copies of her poetry collection as well as a signed poetry collection of Brian Bilston and Carol Ann Duffy’s latest poetry collection.

Assistant headteacher and head of Sixth Form at Alsop, Mrs Victoria Nolan said: “On a purely academic level I thought it was incredibly important for our arts students to see poetry brought to life. However, on a deeper level I feel it demystified poetry and aided, in some way, the struggle to see poetry as not solely the domain of the elite, to enhance our students’ cultural capital. It was amazing, powerful and emotional.”

The students thoroughly enjoyed the experience and commented: “I thought the poetry read out today was incredibly inspiring and I really connected with the poet. I was also really inspired to write my own poetry!” and “Thank you for giving us that amazing opportunity, if you’re doing anything similar in the future let me know because I’d love to help in any way I can.”

Hilary Walker said: “The response from students and staff has been wonderful, quite overwhelming, and I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again. I wouldn’t say my views on poetry have changed, but being in someway responsible for introducing young people to the idea of self-expression is a fantastic feeling. 

“I should also add that none of this would be possible without Ms Tapia-Bowes who organised the events. She is such an example to her students and the kind of teacher who makes a difference.”

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