The St Helens primary school’s poetry festival was deemed a success by all schools involved. Former Connex Education teacher turned poet/writer Paul Delaney hosted the event at St Thomas of Canterbury Primary School in Eccleston, where a number of children from local schools delivered their own poetry reading to an audience and judges.

The final event, held on 4th July, was the result of weeks of creative writing workshops, which Paul held himself at each of the nine schools that participated. Pupils were selected from each school to attend the final to perform their work.

Speaking of his experience, Paul said: “As a teacher working for Connex, my enthusiasm for children’s stories became apparent. I wanted to help children to develop their love and enjoyment for creative writing full-time, so to get to this point is just unbelievable.”

Paul worked with every school individually, developing each child’s poetry writing and their ability to deliver the poem they created.

“The event was a massive success. Parents and teachers loved the whole event, especially the final celebration.

I’m really looking forward to doing this again next year, hopefully with a few more schools on board!”

Paul already has five books published, and plenty more to come.

“I have a number of festivals on the cards over the next year, and will also be looking to branch out across the country to other areas. These workshops are a great way to develop a child’s ability to write and create poetry and teaching them to have the confidence to deliver their own work.”

The judges for the event were Erinna Delaney, drama and theatre teacher at Carmel College, Dave Pichilingi, former LIPA lecturer and founder, and CEO of Liverpool’s famous ‘Sound City’, and our very own Scott Day. We caught up with Scott to ask him how the evening went…

“Having worked closely with Paul in recent months, I was delighted to be asked to judge at the event which was the first of its kind.”

“It was extremely successful and picking a winner from the very talented finalists ranks up there with some of the most difficult decisions I have had to make this year!”

“Paul previously worked for Connex as a Teacher so we are delighted to be involved in this next step in his career and witness first hand the benefit he brings to children and schools.”

Weeks and weeks of hard work certainly paid off for the children and for Paul. So what’s next?

“Later on this year I’ll be revealing a number of newly published books, it’s very exciting to see them at their final stages before the big launch.”

“I’m also in the process of contacting other schools to see if they would like to participate in the poetry festivals I have coming up in Liverpool and Warrington. It’s really exciting seeing everything come together and seeing the children’s hard work paying off.”

The winning children were:

First: Sam Hill (Robin’s Lane Primary)

Second: Daisy Wilson (St Thomas of Canterbury primary)

Third: Katie Mingay (Garswood Primary)

And the teachers were awfully impressed too!

‘We were very excited to take part in the first St Helens Poetry Festival. The children absolutely loved working with Paul in the weeks beforehand and particularly pleasing was the way he inspired some of our reluctant writers and made poetry ‘cool!”

“The standard of writing produced was extremely high and beyond our expectations. Paul was fun and engaging and created a real buzz around school. We are signing up to take part again next year and highly recommend other schools do the same. Thank you Paul!” – Melanie Clark, deputy head teacher, Merton Bank Primary School, St Helens

The festival will be held once again next year, and this time will be held at St Thomas Canterbury primary.

What about your school? Are you looking for a way for your pupils to become more excited about poetry? Then we would highly recommend you get in touch with Paul Delaney as soon as possible to book him in for a workshop.

If you’d like to book Paul for a workshop, or enquire about festivals in your area, fill in this form. He will be so happy to hear from you, and you won’t regret having him in your school.