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Yesterday, we welcomed Oliver James Lomax into school to host a 'Poetry for Wellbeing' Assembly, followed by a Workshop with 30 Year 8 students. Oliver is a local Poet, Writer and Educator, and he travels around the North West delivering these sessions to high schools. Oliver spoke about his work, his published poetry and also his band, where he performs spoken word with live music and recently performed at Glastonbury. 

The visit is part of the initiative run by Steph's Poetry Space, a project that has only just been started and is taking place at secondary schools around the UK. We were very lucky to have been chosen to take part. The project aims to encourage a sense of wellbeing in students taking part through self-expression, creativity and collaboration. The project is run by The Poetry Society and is supported by the Steph Lampl Foundation. 

Steph Lampl was a very bright, energetic and compelling young woman who loved poetry, both reading it and writing it. She had an amazingly engaging personality and when she passed away at the age of 21, her family decided to set up the Steph Lampl Foundation in her honour. The Foundation focuses on young people who would not otherwise have the opportunity to experience poetry, and these workshops are the first project, with many more to follow. 

Ms Fry wrote, "I am delighted that, due to our poetry entries, we have been chosen to work with The Poetry Society on a poetry and wellbeing initiative.  This is an exciting opportunity for students to work with a published poet and sixth form students from Blackpool Sixth."

After the full year group Assembly, 30 Year 8 students made their way to the Hub (Library) to take part in the Workshop part of the session. Oliver continued to say more about his experiences and where he gets his inspiration from. He then asked the students to take part in an activity, guessing whether quotes on slips of paper were by William Shakespeare, or Hip Hop lyrics by Jay-Z. The students were asked to hold up a photo of the person they picked as most likely to have said/written the quote. Oliver was stunned by the amount of times Shakespeare was chosen, especially if he said the quote in a booming old-fashioned accent, when the true answer was they were song lyrics from modern day. At times the group gave a mixed response, with some feeling undecided, it was astonishing how tricky it was to decide. 

The group of Blackpool Sixth students were on hand with the next task, students had to complete a Poetry Passport, creating an identity and deciding on personality traits etc. for the person who would eventually feature in their poem. The Sixth Form students were able to give pointers and ideas to get the students started and answer any questions. It was a real pleasure to see everyone working so hard to complete the task and Oliver was taking some time with each table to check they were getting on ok. This was just a starter activity to get the students creative juices flowing, so that they may be inspired eventually to write a piece of poetry themselves. 

Thank you to all who took part in the session, to the staff for organising it, and to our visitors from Blackpool Sixth and Oliver himself. It was a pleasure to have you visit us and hopefully the students will be inspired to write many pieces of poetry after this. 

Some photos from the Assembly/Workshop can be seen below, plus one of Oliver's poems that he read to us.


Poetry Assembly and Workshop

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