This term over 6,700 pupils across Transform Trust took part in a writing competition which was centered around a book ‘Here We Are: Notes for living on Planet Earth’ by Oliver Jeffers.
The vision for the competition came from Rachel Meli, Associate Head at Transform Trust, who was keen to give our children a chance to reflect upon the pandemic and express some of their thoughts through the power of writing. At Transform, we place considerable value on written work and provide various platforms to encourage pupils from all 19 schools to share their work outside of the classroom.
Rachel Meli, Associate Head at Transform Trust said:
“We took the premise of Oliver Jeffer’s book a little further and created our own Transform alien – Tralis – a delightful little being, who was thinking about moving to our planet. We invited the children to create letters inspired by his story, that would offer words of encouragement and support if Tralis decided to visit planet earth. “
We have been overwhelmed by the level of engagement across all classrooms from ages 3 to 11. Our teachers had so much fun with it too. The fantastic work that went into this competition showed how each school really embraced this theme in terms of visual and digital creatives. We have a rich and diverse community – and it was so wonderful to see how the children approached their letters. It was evident that the children used their own experiences, circumstances and values in their communication with Tralis, and what they felt was the most important facts and advice they should impart.
To top it all off, Oliver Jeffers who followed the competition via Twitter made a video for us congratulating the children, the teachers and the Trust and announced the winners. Every school held an assembly to tune into the announcement – it was a truly exciting end to a wonderful project that has delivered so much from creative stimulus to important measurable data that will help us to improve across all schools.
Early Years winner Chloe from South Wilford Primary School, aged just four, was keen for Tralis to know we should be kind to people whatever their skin colour and be mindful of pollution. Janita from Rosslyn Park Primary & Nursery School, was our KS1 winner and shared the beauty and wonderment of our planet whilst also addressing the issue of animal abuse.
Our LKS2 winner, Maisie from Breadsall Hill Top Primary School, created a stunning visual and astonishingly factual piece which touched on problems such as ‘wars and robbers’ and her desire to see electric cars only on the roads. As an animal lover with aspirations of becoming a vet, Maisie also told Tralis she hoped to stop animal hunting for good.
Finally, our UKS2 winner, Muhammad-Siraaj from Robert Shaw Primary and Nursery School, shared his sense of his faith and also gave a candid account of the ‘terrible state’ we are all in due to Covid and global warming. As a budding author hoping to have his own YouTube channel one day, his descriptions of ‘shimmering beaches of gold sand that tickle your feet and joins with the sea in harmony’ clearly demonstrate his talent and love of language.
Transform Trust CEO, Rebecca Meredith, was thrilled with the way in which every school engaged so readily in this exercise and stated:
“The first thing that impressed me is that our Trust values – Respect, Kindness, Equality and Creativity – are evident across ever entry we received. That is truly remarkable and just goes to show how exceptional our young people are today and how aware they are of the issues we face as a community and further afield. I am so proud of the lengths our staff go to provide such wonderful learning opportunities for the children.
“As a Trust, we are looking at ways to best support our schools in making accurate teacher assessment judgements in writing. One of the benefits of belonging to a family of schools is to be able to share best practice and resources to ensure we are delivering the best education possible to every pupil. In this case, as all children completed the same piece of writing, it provided an opportunity to use Comparative Judgement as a method of moderation to support these assessments, as well as a baseline from which we can assess and benchmark our pupils’ progress on their return to school after an unusual 12 months.
We would like to thank members of our Trust Writing PLC and our Moderation Working Party Group who have contributed greatly to the launch and success of this competition, but mainly it’s thanks to our pupils for putting their hearts and souls into this activity and a huge well done to our winners.