Poetry in the Primary Classroom

Poetry in the Primary Classroom was an exciting project held in partnership with the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE). It was funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and ran across two years between September 2020 and December 2021.


The project offered primary school teachers a rich Continuing Professional Development and Learning (CPDL) programme to enhance their enjoyment of and practice with poetry from Africa and the diaspora. Working closely with CLPE and poets from our Africa Writes festival community, we developed educational workshops and resources to inspire new ways of working with poetry in the primary classroom. This work sought to enhance creativity in the classroom, increasing children’s participation in the arts while shining a light on exciting work by poets from Africa and the diaspora.


We would like to thank the following schools for taking part in this pilot programme: Dunraven Primary School, Earlsmead Primary School, Holy Trinity CE Primary School, Rhyl Primary School, St Ann’s CE Primary School, St Michael’s CE Primary School and Welbourne Primary School.


Watch the video below to hear from the teachers and poets who took part in the programme!



About the programme
This six-month training programme ran from January to June 2021, using poetry from Africa and the diaspora and proven creative teaching approaches to support primary teachers to diversify the curriculum and embed artistic practice in the classroom, to improve children’s engagement in creative writing. This training was delivered by two highly experienced teachers from CLPE, as well as 3 professional poets (Ruth Awolola, Karl Nova and Amina Jama) who shared a wealth of techniques and creative approaches. This training also met all the requirements of the National Curriculum and covered:


How to approach poetry in a learning environment

The importance of reading poetry aloud

Expanding range and diversity of poetry in the classroom

The importance of inspiration and finding your voice

The importance of personal reflection and response

Teachers’ writing skills and confidence

The opportunity to work with 3 leading African diaspora poets

Poetry as a vehicle to explore identity


Participants also received Poetry in the Primary Classroom book packs, with accompanying teaching plans and resources, to develop participants’ knowledge and understanding of African and diaspora poetry. At the end of the course teachers who took part in the training shared feedback, their pupil poems and their own work, which will form part of the project evaluation.


You can read up on the whole programme by checking out our Poetry in the Primary Classroom blogs and reading the Poetry in the Primary Classroom Report.


Access the Teaching Resources

If you’re a teacher or educator interested in teaching African and diaspora poetry, visit the Teaching Resources page to access and download all the resources from programme!