Poetic pupils get the thumbs up at awards

Winners and runners up of the Arooj creative writing competition at a special ceremony at Leeds Civic Hall.
Winners and runners up of the Arooj creative writing competition at a special ceremony at Leeds Civic Hall.
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Youngsters across Leeds have put pen to paper to showcase their poetic and literary flair.

Hundreds of children from primary schools across the city submitted entries into the Arooj creative writing competition organised by Leeds City Council’s Closing the Gap team.

The project works closely with 12 primary schools to help increase attainment in pupils of Pakistani and Bangladeshi heritage.

Dozens of pupils were shortlisted for the prizes to help celebrate their achievements.

Sukhmani Landa, Safia Qureshi, Fawziyah Bi, Tori Paul, Sara Malik, Miranda Tekeshe, Holly Swann and Qasim Ali all received awards from the Lord Mayor of Leeds councillor David Congreve at the ceremony.

Councillor Jane Dowson, deputy executive board member responsible for learning praised the project and said: “Well done to everyone who entered the competition.

“A lot of hard work has gone into creating these poems and they are a credit to the pupils, schools and project leaders.

“We want all children in Leeds to perform to the best of their ability.

“Projects like this make education fun, interesting and relevant for pupils whose attainment and attendance may be low, and encourages them to look at their own heritage and community as a source of creativity.”

The competition has celebrated its fourth year this year and winners received a special book and notebook to encourage their writing talents.

The Closing the Gap team have developed a creative curriculum project with a focus on Muslim heritage.

Education chiefs say this has had a dramatic impact in terms of engagement and motivation of pupils and parents as well as increasing attainment and attendance.

The team has also been developing school to school support between the 12 schools involved in the project so that they can benefit from each other’s expertise.

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