Snettisham pupils have been inspired by a new literacy and arts project. Picture: Ian Burt

Pupils at Snettisham Primary School are working in collaboration with one of Britain’s most popular children’s authors as part of an arts-based project to encourage poetry and literacy. 

The school has signed up for the Barbican Box for Primary schools scheme, run by the Barbican Centre in London in partnership with PEACH West Norfolk Local Cultural Education Partnerships and Creative Arts East.

And as a result, youngsters in years five and six, aged nine to 11, get to work with best-selling writer and poet Michael Rosen. 

The project is designed to help primary school children explore innovative and imaginative approaches to literacy and creativity, such as writing their work in chalk on the playground wall, with the aim of producing their own original poetry and art works. 

“Michael Rosen being involved is a massive motivation for the children,” said deputy headteacher Clare Enters.

“I was involved in some Zoom calls with him and then at the start of the project we were sent a box curated by him, full of objects and poetry from his life and childhood designed to inspire the making of new creative work. 

“We’ve also used his YouTube channel where he performs poems and talks about the process of writing. 

“He has inspired some really reluctant writers to create amazing poems and some of my more reticent performers to perform, which has been amazing to see. 

“The children are really motivated as well knowing that he will see everything they create.” 

The scheme also sees pupils working with local artist Kaitlin Ferguson.  

“We are midway through our project and have had a go at mono printing, letraset, collage, stencilling and other work, all inspired by items that came in the box,” said Ms Enters. 

Snettisham is part of the West Norfolk Academies Trust, which runs 11 schools in the borough, and Ms Enters said the messages promoted by the project tied in with the trust’s values.

“They are definitely engaged and it is wonderful to give them the opportunity to explore different ways of writing and creating.

“Reading and writing are hugely valued at WNAT and our goal is to inspire a life-long love of words in all its varied shapes and forms for all our children.

“What has been a real joy and had such impact is seeing those children who didn’t consider themselves as writers or artists before, now seeing themselves as both those things,” she said.