One of the many great traditions here at DCPS isthe annual poetry competition. It starts in the Christmas holidays, when every pupil chooses and learns by heart a poem which they really like. Upon returning at the start of the Lent Term, all of the children perform their poems to their fellow pupils in English lessons. The best performances then go on to the ‘second rounds’, and the competition then culminates in the ‘DCPS Poetry Competition Final’, attended by the entire school.

This year there werefive ‘Junior finalists’ (Years 3 & 4),five ‘Intermediate’ finalists (Years 5 & 6) andseven ‘Senior’ finalists – two more than the usual five because of the exceptionally high standards reached by so many in Years 7 and 8. The Warden of the Dean Close Foundation, Mrs Emma Taylor, was our adept adjudicator, assessing each finalist’s performance in terms of expression, interpretation, clarity, pace and engagement with the audience.

The winning performers included Gabby Britton for the Junior section, whose poem, ‘A Small Dragon'(Brian Pattern), was both challenging and humorous; she did exceptionally well to remember it all and recited with great expression and feeling.A highly confident recital of the very topical Television (Roald Dahl) won the Intermediate section and Jamie Treatman-Clark won the Senior section with his very poignant and sensitive delivery of The Road not Taken (Robert Frost).

“The quality of our finalists’ performances was quite simply breath-taking,” commented Head of English, Mr Robert Shelley. “From our youngest seven year olds in Year 3, reciting poetry for the first time on such a large stage, all the way through to our seasoned 13 year old pupils in Year 8; I was immensely proud of them all! The entire competition – from class rounds through to the final – is a wonderful opportunity for all our pupils to experience a really wide variety of poetry, covering many genres and styles. Children learn to love poetry … and what could be better than that!”