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Emma Metcalfe
Tel: 07722 170 782

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Internal News - 12 March 2007

Local literacy scheme produces award-winning talent

A pupil involved in a project that gives local schoolboys extra support with creative writing has won the 11-14 year old category in The Bath Literature Festival competition. He was presented with his award by Councillor Loraine Brinkhurst at a ceremony last week (Friday 9 March).

The winner, Liam Hutchinson, a year nine student at Culverhay School in Bath, beat over 300 entrants from secondary schools across the Bath & North East Somerset area.

His winning piece entitled Christine the bus driver was a well observed account of a bus journey many Bath residents will recognise; in the story Christine, who has been driving the bus for 37 years, decides to make a detour.

Liam has been part of the Developing Boys' Writing Project for the last year. The project, launched in September 2004, aims to improve standards in boys’ English at Key Stage 3 in secondary schools in Bath & North East Somerset.

Local teachers involved in the project, which is jointly run by the Department of Education at the University of Bath and Bath & North East Somerset council, have been able to use the project to identify the specific literacy needs of their pupils, with a focus on improving the standard of written English.

Emma Metcalfe, from the University’s Department of Education, who has organised the project, explained that the focus on creative writing at Culverhay School developed both from the teacher’s interest and the fact that current research indicates that creative writing in schools can have a positive effect on developing literacy.

She said: “Once a focus for the project had been agreed upon I contacted the Bath Literature Festival to see if I could tap into their exciting educational projects, with the result that last year Culverhay School hosted a workshop led by the Poetry Boy Band – ‘Aisle 16’.

“In order to sustain the boys’ enthusiastic and talented response I decided to run creative writing workshops on a weekly basis at Culverhay. The workshops enabled pupils to write creatively about their favourite subjects as well as adopting and developing the styles of published authors.

“The boys responded so well to the project that we began entering their work into local and national competitions. In addition to Liam’s award, we have had pupils’ work accepted for publication in two national poetry anthologies.”

Liam received his prize of an iPod Nano from Councillor Loraine Brinkhurst at a presentation ceremony on Friday 9 March in The Writers Room at The Guildhall in Bath.

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