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The English Department at ALNS want you to love reading and writing.

That’s why we have this page. We want you to get involved in as many competitions as possible during your time here.

This will give you the opportunities to win things for yourself or even the school. They will help you write well, read well and get better at English in general.

It doesn’t matter how you take part, as long as you do. Get your parents to help, work with your friends or be brave – go it alone.

Keep your eye on what’s new and just get involved!

Amnesty International- The Power of the Pen

Why Should I Do This?

This is a really important cause. Amnesty International is a charity which supports people around the world who fall victim to human rights abuses. We are very lucky to live where we do; essentially, our Government care about our welfare and, although we may not like every decision that they make, they look after our best interest and protect our human rights. Not everybody in the world is as luck as we are.

This project will teach you about specific cases of human rights abuses around the world. You will then write two letters: one which shows your support to Amnesty International and your passion for helping victims, the second to an authority in which you speak out against a specific case of human rights abuse.

If you care about our world, about human rights and about the way in which we all live, this is a project which you will enjoy.

Watch the video and download the resources from Amnesty International’s site here.

What Do I Need To Do?

1. Read the case sheet at the bottom of that page.
2. Go through the activity sheets. Skip to activity sheet 3 to help you to understand the key information in the Case Study. This will prepare you well for your letter.
3. Complete your ‘solidarity letter’ on activity 4. This is a letter which shows that you are passionate about helping victims of human rights abuse.
4. Complete activity 5, in which you write a letter to the authorities (or your local MP or the government in our country if you prefer), speaking out against these human rights abuses and urging them to do something about it.
5. Check your letters using the Literacy Scorecard in Activity 6. Do this carefully; you don’t want to spend all that time writing a powerful letter for it to include poor grammar and an ineffective structure!

What To Do When You’re Finished:

Give your letters to Mrs Green in English 1 with your name on them.

These will be sent off to Amnesty International and may help to change the lives of others. In return, we will be sent information updating us on Human Rights abuses and offer us more chances to help more people!

BBC 500 Words Competition

What is this?

All you need to do is write a story that is 500 words long. It can be about dragons, dungeons, schools or magical worlds. Just get thinking, get planning and get writing!
There are two age groups in the 500 WORDS competition – one for children aged 10-13, and another for children aged 9 and under.

There are GOLD, SILVER and BRONZE prizes up for grabs in each age group!

1st Prize – Chris Evans’ height in books!
The GOLD winners in each age group will win a pile of books as tall as Chris – that’s 1.88 metres! – and 500 books for their school library.
2nd Prize – Alex Jones’ height in books!
The SILVER winners will win a stack of books as tall as Chris’ good friend, Alex Jones from The One Show!
3rd Prize – Your own height in books!
Our BRONZE winners will walk away with their own height in books!

What do I have to do?

Plan your story and write it. Check the following things before you submit your writing:

  • Spelling
  • Punctuation
  • Vocabulary and description- is it exciting?
  • Varied sentences
  • Paragraphing and connectives

Look at the BBC 500 words website for lots of helpful resources.

Remember to proof read your story and make sure the spelling, grammar and punctuation are all perfect!

Foyle Young Poets Competition


All that you have to do is write a poem on a topic of your choice, so you have complete freedom over what kind of thing you’d like to write about. Are you inspired by the Gambia project, or something fascinating that you’ve recently learnt in Science? Would you like to write a poem in the voice of someone who you’ve learnt about in RE or History?

Whatever you would like to write your poem about is completely up to you!


Visit Miss Flack at her writing club on a Monday after school in English 6, as she will help you to put your ideas onto paper and you can work with other students at the club, sharing inspiration with one another.

What you can win:

Winners will have their poems published in the annual Anthology, 24000 of which are printed and sent out to schools, poets etc.
Highly successful applicants will have the chance to go on a one week residential visit with other poets to develop their writing skills.
The lucky top 100 entrants will be invited to a glittering Awards Ceremony in London on National Poetry Day.

See The Poetry Society’s website for more information.

Get into Reading – Wattpad

“I hate reading. It’s boring.”

Does this sound like you?

“I like reading but I always forget to return my books and get into trouble.”

Does this sound like you?

“I like reading, but I’m always being told to read something different or more challenging. I always go for the same thing.”

Does this sound like you?

If you can relate to any of these statements, Wattpad is a website that you’ll really benefit from. It includes short stories for you to read online from a range of authors and genres. You can join forums and discuss what you have read and give your critical opinion.

Why should I do it?

This will make you a better writer. You will experience different genres and pick up on lots of interesting techniques that you could pinch for your own creative writing.

This will make you a better reader. Engaging in discussion about what you’ve read in the forums and being critical is a skill that you need at GCSE.

This will make you a more interesting person! You will have more understanding of life, people and situations if you read widely. This means you’ll have more to talk about. At the very least, if you’re reading regularly, you won’t be bored!

Join here and ensure that you use the forums safely, not giving away any of your personal information.

Get Musical: Write an Album!

Are you a budding songwriter or musician?

If so, many of the skills that you will need link with Literacy and English as well as Music.

This website contains help and guidance and encourages you to write an album in a month. You get to collaborate with experts in the Industry, act upon weekly challenges which are tweeted and listen to other people’s music.

Remember to use your literacy skills. Metaphors and personification always come up in song lyrics. Mumford and Sons refer to a famous Shakespeare quote in one of their songs (Stars, hide your fires- recognise that?) and you should definately think of the power of the vocabulary that you select and the words that you choose to rhyme.

You never know who might be listening, so good luck and let’s hope that you are discovered as the next big thing!