Kettering school hosts story-telling competition for children across UK

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Pupils and staff from Kettering Buccleuch Academy welcomed children from other schools across the midlands to take part in an exciting regional storytelling competition.

Pupils and their teachers from across United Learning, a national family of academies and independent schools – which also includes Kettering’s Grange Primary Academy – travelled to the Kettering school to take part in StorySLAM.

The competition, which originated in New York and now takes place all over the world, challenges children to create their own original stories and perform them in three-minutes.

The event at Kettering Buccleuch Academy was one of three regional heats taking place in the fortnight, with over 120 children participating in total.

As part of the StorySLAM event, pupils got the chance to learn more about creative writing techniques and develop their ideas in a workshop with Stuart Bird, author-in-residence at Surbiton High School – a fellow United Learning school. They also perfected their performances in a confidence-boosting session with Mr Bird before taking to the stage with their newly-crafted tales.

Pupils each got to perform their stories in front of an audience made up of their United Learning peers and teachers, as well as a panel of judges. This included Mr Bird, who acted as event emcee, and Angela O’Neill, head of primary at Kettering Buccleuch Academy.

Judges awarded Overall Best Story to a Grange Primary Academy pupil, Evelina, and prize for ‘Best Line’ went to co-authors Olivia and Maisie from KBA.

These were awarded book tokens, while everyone who took part received a certificate and StorySLAM badge. Furthermore, all stories will be published in the 2018 United Learning StorySLAM anthology.

Emily Allsopp, Year 6 teacher at Kettering Buccleuch Academy, said: “This was such a fantastic opportunity for the children to write creatively with the chance of having their work published; this excited and enthused all the children at our school. The children who took part in the workshops with Stuart were able to see how writing could potentially become a career and certainly raised their aspirations even further. Children are still talking about the vocabulary they used.”

‘Best Line’ co-winner Maisie from KBA said: “It was really good when we were given pictures, such as a picture of London, and we had to describe it without using words like busy – it helped me to think of better descriptive vocabulary.”

Her winning partner Olivia added: “When performing, we didn’t want to go first or last because we were really nervous. However, when we did, it wasn’t as scary as we expected and we actually enjoyed it! I liked how, at the end, the judging was really fair.”