Anyone who has spent time in English teaching jobs will know that it can be quite a challenge to inspire in children a love of poetry. Unfortunately, it is often not until they have got a bit older and started to mature that youngsters learn to appreciate good verse.
To help remedy this situation, a new national poetry competition has been established and will be launched in schools and colleges next year with the aim of inspiring getting teens more interested in poetry.
The Poetry Archive's competition, Poetry by Heart, will see thousands of children aged 14 to 18 reciting famous poems in order to show off their memory and performance skills.
Announced by poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion alongside education secretary Michael Gove, the competition will provide children with a chance to select poems from a special anthology of classic and contemporary verse.
Included are Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold, Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley and the clown song from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.
Sir Andrew said: "Poetry by Heart is the best thing that's happened for poetry in schools for a long time: a way for pupils to have serious fun while they extend their reading, deepen their powers of appreciation, and memorise beautiful and intriguing poems which will enrich their lives forever."
The Department for Education will provide £500,000 of funding to the Poetry Archive to run the national competition, which aims to support existing teaching of poetry in schools and motivate students to engage with their teachers as they analyse England's "literary heritage".
Education Secretary Michael Gove said: "To know a poem by heart is to own a great work of art forever. Andrew Motion is a hero for ensuring more children than ever will carry poetry with them all their lives."
The competition will be launched in schools and colleges in January next year. It is hoped that it will help foster greater understanding and appreciation of poetry as an art form, as well as allowing teachers to develop the way that poetry is taught in their classrooms.
Posted by Theo Foulds