12 Mar 2019

Pupils to be awarded for creative writing talents

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

Hundreds of children from primary schools across the city submitted entries into the Arooj creative writing competition, with 26 pupils being short listed as potential winners. The winner in each category will be announced today (Tuesday 12 March) at a special ceremony at Leeds Civic Hall.

The competition, which is in its ninth year, is organised by Leeds City Council’s Learning Improvement team. It 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 Arooj project works closely with 12 primary schools which have the largest populations of these pupils to help close the gap in attainment.

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When: Today (Tuesday 12 March) from 14:45 - 15:15pm.

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

The media and photographers are invited to attend the Arooj creative writing awards ceremony at Leeds Civic Hall. Interview opportunities will be available with Councillor Pryor as well as photo opportunities with pupils.

Media are kindly requested to email joely.ewbank@leeds.gov.uk to confirm attendance.

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Entertainment will be provided by pupils from Arooj schools and will range from Indian dancing to singing and poetry.

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 Learning Improvement 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 for the competition was “My Perfect World”.

Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Leeds City Council’s executive member for children and families, said:

“There are a lot of talented young people in Leeds and it is clear that a lot of hard work has gone into creating the wonderful poems, calligraphy and stories which have been entered into the competition.

“Creativity is a skill that brings happiness not just to the individual pupils but to their families and friends as well and it is inspiring to see that creativity nurtured and encouraged with such fantastic results. A massive well done to everyone who entered and good luck to all those who have been shortlisted!”

Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s executive member for learning, skills and employment, said:

“We want all children in Leeds to perform to the best of their ability. Projects like this make education fun, interesting and relevant and encourage pupils to look at their own heritage and community as a source of creativity and inspiration to take them through life.”


Notes to editors:

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:

Leeds City Council communications and marketing

Tel: 0113 378 6007

Email: communicationsteam@leeds.gov.uk

For media enquiries contact:

Leeds City Council Communications team