Poetry by Heart 2021

Celebration - 1 poem - A national showcase

The CELEBRATION competition was new in 2019-20 and is slightly different for 2020-21 to build on that joyful experience. It is designed to celebrate and share many different ways of enjoying poetry aloud. The search is under way to find 10 excellent student reciters of poetry, whether they are individuals, small groups (2-5 students) or large groups (6+ students). We’ll invite 10 students or student groups and their teachers/school librarians to a very special national finalists’ showcase event at the British Library in London in Spring 2021 (date to be confirmed as soon as Covid-19 allows us to).

There is an additional Celebration category for school/college staff to enter too! The same rules apply as below – individual staff members or groups recite 1 poem from the Poetry By Heart website. Any member of school staff can take part, and so too can PGCE tutors and trainees.

It starts in school

It all starts with a school/college Celebration event where students and student groups share their poems aloud in front of others. A Celebration is less formal than the Classic competition and it offers a more diverse channel for students to interpret and express their poems, individually or collaboratively. Maximum participation is the main goal.

There are three Celebration categories – individual freestyle, small group (2-5 students) and large group (6+ students). Schools/colleges may put forward one entry per category for the national competition – so if you have lots of entries you do have to choose! We recommend that you hold an internal competition to select winners to put forward, using our Competition Kit in the Teaching Zone, but there’s more flexibility here for you to choose how you select your entrants.

Students learn 1 poem from the Poetry By Heart website – any poet, any time period

In your school/college Celebration event, students or student groups recite 1 poem from the Poetry By Heart website – any poet, any time period. Our timeline anthologies have been curated with specific age groups in mind, but students may choose poems from any timeline – or any of the showcase collections (Mix It Up, First World War, Shakespeare Sonnets or Romantic Poetry).

For key stage 2 pupils, the recommended choices are set out for them in the Learning Zone (all free, no login needed) in Choose A Poem 7+

 

For key stage 3 pupils, the recommended choices are set out for them in the Learning Zone (all free, no login needed) in Choose A Poem 11+

 

For key stage 4 pupils, the recommended choices are set out for them in the Learning Zone (all free, no login needed) in Choose A Poem 14+

 

For key stage 5 pupils, the recommended choices are set out for them in the Learning Zone (all free, no login needed) in Choose A poem 16+

 

Entering the national competition – a simple video upload

 

To enter the national Celebration competition, you need to make a separate video of each poem performed for each category you are entering – if you have one individual and one large group, that’s two videos, one for each poem. All we want is a simple point-and-shoot video – no cuts, edits, music or special effects. Students can rehearse as much as they like and you can do as many takes as you like until they’re happy with their entry. Then you’ll fill in a straightforward entry form for each key stage winner, and use our new drag-and-drop video uploader to attach your video files. We’ll keep them safe and secure for judging, with all due regard to safeguarding.

 

What happens next – selecting the national Celebration showcase performers 

 

In the next phase of the competition, our judges (poets, poetry experts and educators) select the best 10 student performances in each category – individual freestyle, small group and large group – and then we select 10 finalists. We use the same judging criteria and scoring system as in the Classic school/college competition but we allow more elbow room for divergent creativity, chutzpah and joyful spectacle. We honour every entry and recognise Highly Commended and Commended performances. Every student or student group entered receives a Poetry By Heart certificate recognising their achievement, with individual feedback about their poem performances. Some students at all levels will be invited, via their schools and with parental permission, to have their video poem performances featured on the Poetry By Heart website.

 

What happens next – the national Celebration showcase 

 

The 10 best individual or group Celebrations will be invited to perform at the British Library in London in Spring 2021 (date to be confirmed as soon as Covid-19 allows us to). The costs for one pupil and one teacher/librarian (or other adult chaperone) to attend are all covered. All Celebration showcase performers will receive a fabulous goody bag of reading-related prizes.

 

Entry deadline: 28th February 2021.