19 Mar 2015

Pupils get prizes for perfect prose

Pupils who have been taking part in a
creative writing competition were awarded for their poetic and literary efforts
at a civic ceremony yesterday.

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 was announced at a special ceremony at Leeds Civic Hall.

The competition, which is in its fifth
year is organised by Leeds City Council’s Inclusion 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.

Awards were presented to winners and
highly commended pupils in each category by Councillor Jane Dowson, deputy
executive member for children’s services. The winners received a book and a
special notebook to encourage their writing talents, highly commended entries
all received a book.

Jane Dowson, deputy executive member for children and families said:

“Well done to everyone who
entered the competition, there are a lot of talented young people in Leeds. A
lot of hard work has gone into creating these lovely poems and they are a
credit to the pupils and their schools.

“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.”

Entertainment was provided by pupils from
Arooj schools and included Indian dance, dhol drumming, singing and performing
an extract from Macbeth. Peter Chand, a renowned story-teller who has worked
with the pupils during the year also entertained the audience with his riotous

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

The Inclusion 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.

This year’s theme was “Going for

winners of the 2015 Arooj creative
writing competition are:

Stage 1 Calligraphy:
Rahmani, Hunslet Moor Primary School, age 6

Key Stage 2 Calligraphy:
Buono, Carr Manor Primary School, year 4

Key Stage 2 Calligraphy:
Khan, Pudsey Bolton Royd, year 6

Singh Grewal, Bankside Primary School, year 2

Dana Hamayel,
Pudsey Bolton Royd, year 3

Safa Sabegh,
Harehills Primary School, year 6

Short Story:
Iqbal, Rosebank Primary School, year 1

Short Story:
Hussain, Brudenell Primary School, year 4

Short Story:
Small, Carr Manor Primary School, year 5


Picture caption - top, winners and highly commended with storyteller Peter Chand.

Bottom, winners and highly commended with Marcia Harding, head of inclusion and Cllr Jane Dowson, deputy executive member for children and families.


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

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Leeds City Council Communications team