James Calvert Spence College recently had the honour of welcoming the brilliant poet and playwriter Andy Willoughby as part of the Poetry Wellbeing Project. During his visit, Andy worked with our Year 7 and 8 students, inspiring them to explore the world of poetry.
Andy led engaging workshops in our school library, where he was joined by sixth formers Lula, Lexi, and Karston, who kindly assisted in guiding the younger students throughout the day.
The morning was a great experience for our students. The workshop encouraged students to vividly describe their home towns, tapping into their senses of sight, smell and taste. Students were also introduced to the concept of a “kenning,” a two-word phrase that replaces a noun. Year 7 students Indie, Amy, and Jacey came up with unique kennings that defined them. For example, Indie identified as a “cartoon-reader”, Amy as a “hospital-warrior” and Jacey as a “net-scorer”.
A well-deserved biscuit break gave students and staff a chance to recharge before they split into groups to work together to create a poem, using their newfound skills. Some students even had the confidence to perform their poems in front of their peers, which was very impressive.
Poet Andy says, “It was a really inspiring experience for me visiting the school and working with the year 7/8 pupils for the Poetry Society’s Steph’s Place: Poetry for Wellbeing project. I was really impressed by the level of engagement and willingness to both read and speak in my workshop in the impressive library space.”
He added, “It was really heartening to see the great work being done by the staff with the establishment of a poetry club and to be able to help further their aims of engagement, expression and well being for the young people, that I know from many years of experience that creative practice can enhance the curriculum.”
A huge thank you to Andy for coming in to school, we are thrilled to have had you in and inspiring our students to be creative through poetry.