6 year old named regional winner of ‘Premier League Writing Stars’ poetry competition

Photo by David J Colbran

AASHVI Agarwal, 6, from Holy Cross Catholic Primary School in Liverpool has been named as the North West regional winner of the inaugural Premier League Writing Stars competition.

Aashwi’s poem ‘Count to Ten’ was selected as the winning poem for the North West region in the Key Stage 1 age group (five to seven years old).

The winning poem was selected by an all-star judging panel, which featured former professional footballer and children’s author Frank Lampard OBE, Premier League footballer and lyricist Yannick Bolasie, Children’s Laureate Lauren Child and the young people’s laureate for London Caleb Femi, overseen by the National Literacy Trust Director, Jonathan Douglas.

Commenting on Aashvi’s poem, Lauren Child said: “Everyone was pretty impressed by the way Aashvi has put rhyming in so successfully. Her poem has a real powerful feeling behind it, it’s very upbeat. I think we all loved the last two lines especially, they are very strong and rather joyful, so well done to Aashvi.”

More than 25,000 children from England and Wales entered the competition with their own original poetry submissions. From the 25,200 poems received, nine regional winners and one national winner have been selected across two age groups, Key Stage 1 (5-7 years) and Key Stage 2 (7-11 years), with the poems being judged on their originality, effect, tone and message.

The winning poems will now be published in a special Writing Stars poetry book due to be released later this year. Other prizes include author-led writing workshops and Premier League trophy school visits, as well as winning poems being read aloud by football stars.

Premier League Writing Stars launched in September 2017 for children aged five to 11 with the aim of encouraging them to try their hand at creative writing. Inspired by the William Hickson poem ‘Try, Try Again’, the competition asked school children to write around the theme of resilience in any poetic form, including a rap or song lyrics.

The competition was supported by the National Literacy Trust and is part of the Premier League Primary Stars education programme, which has already engaged more than 12,000 primary schools and 13,000 teachers across England and Wales.

Frank Lampard, who has authored 19 books in his ‘Frankie’s Magic Football’ series, commented on his role as a judge: “It’s been very tough to pick winners out of more than 25,000 entries. It’s been a great experience for me trying to read through the lot of them and find winners when it’s such a high standard. It’s been a great competition and we’ve seen a lot of quality. Congratulations to all the winners but congratulations to everybody who took part.”

Caleb Femi, Spread the Word’s Young People’s Laureate for London said: “I was very impressed with the quality of the poems. The technical ability of most of them, if not all of them was just exceptional. Especially for the particular age that the writers were, some of the approaches were so original, so interesting. They really thought about this idea of resilience and they found it in some really different forms of life and it was really interesting and impressive to see that.”

Richard Scudamore, Executive Chairman at the Premier League, added: “We have been overwhelmed by the volume and standard of entries for the Premier League Writing Stars competition. Our aim was to inspire children to write creatively about resilience, and the response, thanks to the support of clubs, schools and teachers, has completely surpassed our expectations. Congratulations to all the regional and national winners for their outstanding poems.”

Visit www.plprimarystars.com to find out how your school can be involved with Premier League Primary Stars and for the latest exciting curriculum-linked resources across maths, literacy and PSHE.

Full Poem

Winner North West Key Stage 1

Count to Ten by Aashvi Agarwal

 Sometimes things can be hard,

But never give up.

You just need to bounce back,

And never give up.

Never be scared,

But instead work hard,

Keep faith in yourself,

And always work hard.

Sometimes you need to count to ten,

And try, try and try again.