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TES SEN award winner & National Poetry Day

08 November 2021


They teach us
to quack
like ducks

we want
to roar.”

- Young Person - Placed 3rd at the Tes SEN Show Poetry Competition

We are so proud of the young person who won 3rd prize at the the Times Educational Supplement (TES) Special Educational Needs (SEN) Show Poetry competition.

What an amazing achievement and experience it was for them to attend the ceremony in London and be presented with their award by none other than Cressida Cowell, Waterstones Children’s Laureate, author & illustrator of ‘How to Train Your Dragon' and 'Wizards of Once'.

Earlier this year our English Teacher, Jane, spent time in class with one of the young people ‘playing with words’. The result was a poem that was named ‘Muted’. The poem was submitted to the TES SEN Show Poetry Competition – we were delighted to hear that they had been made a finalist. ‘The young person’s social worker moved heaven and earth to get her to London for the competition ceremony and she won third prize. This will be an achievement she can hold onto to remind her of her unlimited potential’.

Our English Teacher, Jane has only been with us for a short time, she joined #Team GSC In April 21’ but she has had a huge impact on the young people and loves supporting them to achieve something that they didn’t think possible.

October 7th was National Poetry Day; young people were asked to write a poem about ‘Choice’. Jane said, “Most of the young people were very reluctant - ‘I can’t write poetry!’ – but once they realised, they could, I was delighted with their ideas and words. Poetry is an immediately accessible way of communicating difficult feelings, feelings that our young people often do not yet have the vocabulary for. When you don’t know the word ‘isolated’, you can still use a simile ‘as lonely as a lost sheep’. “Giving them the opportunity to play with words was hugely rewarding for me and definitely the best day of my career so far. I was privileged to watch them realise they could be expressive, with words”.

Jane was previously teaching in a mainstream school and had never worked in residential or secure care before, Jane said that she was intrigued by the role and when she came for an interview, she knew she wanted the job after meeting the Head and Deputy Head Teacher, Kenny Collins and Leona Donnelly and hearing about the ethos of the centre. Jane commented “My personal goal is to show the young people in my classroom the power of language, the power of the right word used at the right time to change futures. I know that the leadership of the GSC want to give our young people a voice and show them that they are being listened to, so it’s a great fit for me.

Our Head of Education, Kenny Collins was delighted that so many Young People engaged in it. He commented “We were passing young people in the corridor who were asking us ‘Have you read my poem yet?’. They were totally invested and genuinely delighted and proud in respect of their contributions. For many this was their first experience of writing poetry, and the standard was exceptional".