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Annual Competitions & Events

The following are some annual competitions and events for English and Literacy that schools may be interested in.


Are your pupils aged 10-13? Why not help them write a poem on the theme of ‘place’ and enter the Betjeman Poetry Prize by post or online. Deadline is 31st July 2016.

Poems will be judged by Children's Laureate Chris Riddell and poet Rachel Rooney.

The top fifty poems will be printed in the BPP 2017 anthology. Six short-listed poets will be invited with their families and teachers to a prize giving on National Poetry Day, 28th September, in St Pancras Station, London, where the winner will be announced. The winning poet will receive £1000 (£500 for their school). Every teacher who sends in the entries from their class will be entered in a draw to win a poet visit for the school.

Find out more at:


World Book Day

The main aim of World Book Day in the UK and Ireland is to encourage children to explore the pleasures of books and reading by providing them with the opportunity to have a book of their own.


500 Words Story Writing Competition (BBC 2)

A competition for 5-13 year olds with a category for under 9s and 10-13s.

Entries must be an original piece of fiction and not an account of real events – either historical or current. However, stories can feature well known public figures from present day or from history (e.g. Wayne Rooney or Charles Darwin) take place in historical eras (e.g. the English Civil War) or use real-life experiences as a creative springboard as long as the story is FICTIONAL.


Read for My School Competition

Read for My School is a completely free national reading competition for schools in England. The competition will run in the Spring term of 2014 and is open to all children in Primary School, Years 3 – 6, and Secondary School, Years 7 and 8. Children will be challenged to read as many books as they can over a two month period and may opt to submit a written piece around the power of reading and giving. At least 100,000 Pearson and Penguin books will be distributed in prizes to individual children and whole schools. This will be matched by a further donation of at least 100,000 books to charitable programmes distributing books around the world.

For more information visit:


Poetry by Heart

Poetry By Heart is a pioneering national competition designed to encourage pupils aged 14-18 and at school and college in England to learn and to recite poems by heart. Poetry By Heart successfully engages young people from diverse social backgrounds and all types of school in personal discovery of the pleasures of poetry. Each pupil is challenged to memorise and recite two poems – one published before 1914 and one in or after 1914.


Hertfordshire Summer Reading Challenge

Hertfordshire’s Libraries run an annual National Summer Reading Challenge which is free and open to children of all ages and abilities. The Summer Reading Challenge aims to encourage children to enjoy reading for pleasure, and recognise their own personal achievements.

To take part in the challenge, children can have books read to them, or can read standard library books or books in alternative formats, such as audio books and e-books, which can be downloaded free of charge from Herts e-library. There are rewards to collect and children who complete the challenge by reading six books will be invited to special presentation ceremonies to receive their medal and certificate.

Details are published in the summer term.


NCDS Finger Spellathon

You can give the children you work with the chance to learn the fantastic skill of fingerspelling and help to give deaf children a brighter future at the same time!

All you need to do is register your school or class to take part in the National Deaf Children's Society (NDCS) Fingerspellathon this October and help the charity to raise £50,000.

Children can become 'Star Spellers' by being sponsored to learn the BSL Fingerspelling alphabet. It's fun and interactive and can help improve spelling and raise deaf awareness.

Step 1: Register using our online form at

Step 2: Download the free resources which include fingerspelling alphabet posters to display in your classroom.

Step 3: Get Spelling – learn the fingerspelling alphabet together and practise using our word lists or let the children think of their own fun theme. There are no fixed rules!

Step 4: Get Sponsored – Print out the sponsorship form and give a copy to each child taking part.

Help to put a stop to the isolation, bullying, and low levels of achievement at school that children often endure just because they can't hear.

Raising just £100 could allow a child to borrow and test a radio aid. This would help them hear better in their classroom, feel more involved in lessons, less isolated and more able to join in with group discussions.


Shakespeare Schools Festival

The annual Shakespeare Schools Festival, is a national arts-education project backed by the Department for Education working with primary, secondary and special schools.  They are a charity that gives schools the opportunity to perform abridged Shakespeare plays in professional theatres. 

The festival strengthens links between schools and their local arts venues and introduces new audiences to the theatre and Shakespeare.  For the young people who take part it improves literacy, boosts confidence and raises aspirations.

1,000 primary, secondary and special schools will take part in the Festival this year.

Schools that take part will receive teacher training, a workshop for their cast, a professional day in the theatre and plus resources and support from the SSF team.  Have a look at the website for more information on the process:

There are already schools in Hertfordshire taking part. Registration for the 2013 festival has now closed.


The CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards

Children can post reviews of the 2013 Carnegie and Kate Greenaway award books.

If you can only buy a few books each year this is a good place to start.