Leeds pupils’ awarded for literary talent

Pupils who have been taking part in a creative writing competition will be awarded for their poetic and literary efforts at a civic ceremony next week.

Hundreds of children from primary schools across the city submitted entries into the Arooj creative writing competition, with 35 pupils being short listed as potential winners. The winner in each category will be announced next Tuesday 17 June, at a special ceremony at Leeds Civic Hall.

The competition which is in its fourth year is organised by Leeds City Council’s Closing the Gap team, is part of a project which aims to increase attainment in pupils of Pakistani and Bangladeshi heritage and is open to all primary aged pupils in Leeds. The aim of the Arooj project is to work closely with the 12 primary schools with the largest populations of these pupils to help to close the gap in attainment.

Media opportunity

When: Tuesday 17 June at 3pm

Where: Banqueting Suite, Leeds Civic Hall, Portland Crescent, LS1 1UR

The winners of the creative writing competition will be awarded their prizes by the Lord Mayor of Leeds, councillors and senior managers from Leeds children’s services.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor David Congreve will present the awards to winners and highly commended pupils in each category. The winners will receive a book and a special notebook to encourage their writing talents, highly commended entries will all receive a book.

Entertainment will be provided by pupils from Arooj schools and will range from Indian dance to dhol drumming, singing, recorders, rapping and break-dancing! Khadijah Ibrahim, a renowned Leeds author who has worked with the pupils during the year will recite poetry which the audience will be encouraged to participate in. This year the children will also be hosting and running the event themselves.

Councillor Jane Dowson, deputy executive board member responsible for learning said:

“Well done to everyone who entered the competition. A lot of hard work has gone into creating these poems and they are a credit to the pupils, schools and project leaders.”

“We want all children in Leeds to perform to the best of their ability. Projects like this make education fun, interesting and relevant for pupils whose attainment and attendance may be low, and encourages them to look at their own heritage and community as a source of creativity.”

Pakistani and Bangladeshi heritage pupils are the largest ethnic minority group in Leeds comprising 6% of the total school population. Attainment levels for these pupils is below their peers both in Leeds and nationally, however the gap in attainment has narrowed in recent years due to the hard work of the schools involved in the Arooj collaborative.

The Closing the Gap team have developed a creative curriculum project with a focus on Muslim heritage, which has had a dramatic impact in terms of engagement and motivation of pupils and parents as well as increasing attainment and attendance.

The team has also been developing school to school support between the 12 schools involved in the project so that they can benefit from each other’s expertise.

The categories for the Arooj creative writing competition are:

KS1 (5-7 year olds) Short Story, Poetry, Calligraphy

Lower KS2: (8 – 9 year olds) Short Story, Poetry, Calligraphy

Upper KS2: (10-11year olds) Short Story, Poetry, Calligraphy


For media enquiries, please contact:

Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713

Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk