Local students win National Literacy Trust Voices writing competition

Students from Ormiston Forge Academy are celebrating winning the National Literacy Trust’s Voices writing competition. Savannah McFadden, aged 14 from Quarry Bank, received first place with her piece ‘My Little Meadow’. Fellow student Maymunar Nasir, aged 13 from Cradley Heath, received second runner-up for her poem ‘A Place Called Home’.

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The Voices competition launched in April 2016 as part of the National Literacy Trust’s Literacy for Life programme, which Ormiston Forge Academy has been taking part in since 2014. Funded by the JJ Charitable Trust, the programme equips pupils with the academic language they need to succeed in subjects across the curriculum. It is supported by author and linguist, Professor David Crystal.

Voices challenged students to write 500 words about a public space they feel strongly about. Students could choose any format; poem, essay or story, but it had to include a description of the place, and a reason why it was personally significant to the author. The entries offered judges a tour across the UK from beaches to city parks, football pitches to grandparent’s houses, libraries and schools. The variety of topics highlights the different ways in which young people engage with their surroundings and the variety of things which shape their identities.

Savannah wrote about a local meadow and the animals and plants which made it so special. Savannah’s vivid descriptions made it clear that she had spent many years exploring it and how important it was to her. Maymunar wrote her poem ‘A place called Home’ which was about her primary school and the friends and teachers who helped make it, in her words, a ‘paradise’. Maymunar’s poem took the reader on a journey through her experiences there, year by year which judges felt linked beautifully with the theme of place and identity.

Alex Bousoulengas, Project Manager for Literacy for Life at the National Literacy Trust said:

"We were delighted with the number and variety of entries to the competition. The quality was extremely high and this is a testament to how well the school has done in engaging children in reading and writing."

On hearing the results of the competition, Savannah and Maymunar said:

"We were delighted to have done so well in this prestigious competition. Our prizes are great but the books we've won for the school are fantastic, it means that everyone benefits from our love of words and reading."

Literacy for Life puts literacy at the heart of whole school improvement by addressing the key language and literacy deficits. It is being piloted in six schools from the Aldridge and Ormiston academy chains, including Ormiston Forge Academy.