Leeds West Academy


Poetry Slam Update

Their stories scored on my back,

Blue and black ink, tattooed into my skin,

We the recipients of their punchlines

Which hung around our neck inviting anyone to join in.

Their words tattooed into my skin, with blue and black and red ink.


These are the amazing first lines from the winning poem, when teams of Year 8 students from all three schools within the White Rose Academies Trust performed live on air at Chapel FM on Thursday 16th June. An equal mix of humour, nerves and courage, it was a truly fantastic and inspiring event.

The poems, previously drafted at a home academy slam workshop with Andy Craven Griffiths in April and developed at a White Rose Academies Trust Bootcamp event in May, covered topics as wide ranging as freedom, football, family and friends. The most moving dealt with the issues facing many young people around confidence, identity and bullying.

This event saw teams compete for trophies celebrating the best line, best performance and overall best poem of the evening. Judges, Andrea Cowan (Director of student services at Leeds City College) Paul Dunphy (actor, comedian, DJ and radio presenter) and Adam Z Robinson (writer of theatre, short fiction and film), were extremely complimentary about the quality of the writing and performance when they gave feedback to teams after each poem.

After what they described as, “an incredibly difficult judging  experience” because of the quality of the work from all students they awarded the best line trophy to Leeds West Academy for the line, “My mask raises my confidence, it gives me courage to walk to school, it helps me manage.” This was from a poem entitled All kinds of Foundation.

The Best performance of the evening went to the team from Leeds City Academy for their delivery of a poem called The Rose’s Hope. Leeds East Academy won the overall award for best poem for Endless Nightmare.

All three school librarians, who have organised this amazing event, agreed it had been a huge success and one they would love to repeat next year.

You can watch/listen again to the whole event at http://www.chapelfm.co.uk/listen-again/white-rose-poetry-factor/