2015 national finals 600px

Teachers, subject leaders, school librarians… do you need some poetry inspiration? Make Poetry By Heart part of your plan for 2015-16.


poetry-by-heart-logoPoetry By Heart is an inspiring poetry recitation competition for students in Years 10-13. Now in its fourth year, many thousands of students have already had serious fun learning poems and sharing them. With ready selected materials and a dedicated competition support team, Poetry By Heart helps schools and colleges to raise the profile of poetry, with the added potential for county, regional and national recognition. After the 2015 competition teachers reported significant increases in the following by students:

  • More active participation in poetry lessons
  • Greater enjoyment of poetry lessons
  • Better understanding of how poetry works
  • Increased confidence in public speaking
  • Greater willingness to take on new challenges

Click here to see Jessica McGuire’s recitial of Epitaph by Katherine Phillips: https://youtu.be/7GK2TaVvbRE

When teachers were surveyed after the 2014-15 Poetry By Heart competition:

65% agreed it had a positive impact on their poetry teaching
70% said the timeline supported independent enquiry by students

How to get involved:

It all starts in your own school or college. When you register, Poetry by Heart will send you a pack of resources to help you plan how to get students started, with lots of ideas for choosing poems and learning them, as well as classroom posters to help raise the profile of poetry in your school or college.

Schools/colleges hold a competition between 1st September 2015 and 15th January 2016. It only takes 3 eligible students (Years 10-13) for a valid competition (though 33 or 333 are fine too). It can be done on whatever scale you like – in a lunch-hour, a lesson, an assembly, an after-school club or as part of an evening performance. You select a winner and runner up from your school who will go on to compete at County level in competitions organised by Writing East Midlands.

In the school and county contests, students are challenged to learn by heart and then recite TWO poems from the Poetry by Heart special online anthology which documents more than a thousand years of poetry. County winners go on to learn a third poem for the national competition.

Online anthology 1000 years of poetry


Click here for 2 minute online registration for schools/colleges in England

Register now and Poetry by Heart will send your new competition resource pack with poetry posters and practical activities to help students learn poems, as well as planning steps for a school/college competition. If you’ve registered before, you still need to register for this year’s competition otherwise we won’t know you’re thinking of taking part!


  • Hold your School/college contest: 1st September 2015 – 15th January 2016
  • Leicestershire/ Northamptonshire County Contest: Monday 8th February 2016, Curve Theatre, Leicester, 7pm
  • Lincolnshire County Contest: Wednesday 10th February 2016, The Collection, Lincoln, 7pm
  • Derbyshire/ Nottinghamshire County Contest: Wednesday 24th February 2016, Derby Theatre, 7.30pm.
  • National finals: 17th – 19th March 2016

Like to chat to someone about your school’s involvement in Poetry by Heart? Our education manager Jess Tickell is very happy to talk to you on 0115 959 7929 or email jess@www.writingeastmidlands.co.uk