Thursday 2nd October 2020 was National Poetry Day, which we celebrated in the English department with Vinehall’s Annual Poetry by Heart semi-finals. We were delighted to welcome Harry, Arthur, Rex, Alice, Teddy, Niobe, Lucas, Alexandra and George from Year 2. All recited their poems with impressive confidence and self-possession.

The semi-finalists for Year 3 were Harvey P-W and Jamie M, Seren K and Margot C and the very sanguine Amelia A, who calmly told the class that if anyone didn’t make it to the finals, “It’s not the end of the world”. Well-said, Amelia. Every day at Vinehall, we try to foster resilience, reflection and courage in our pupils and this lovely comment was so apt it needs to be included here!

Also for the Juniors, in Year 4, our semi-finalists were Matilda B, James H, Archie M, Cecily G, India P and Poppy O who all managed to defeat their nerves and did a lovely job reciting beautiful poems, including some old favourites such as Walter de la Mare and Robert Louis Stevenson.

Proudly representing the middle of the Prep school, for Year 5 we heard Theo E, Edward M, Theodora G and Isobel F, Yoshi C, Isla M and Miles F and Arthur G.

Representing Year 6, Christopher N kicked things off to a stunningly spooky start with his poem choice, ‘Ghosts of the London Underground’ by Brian Moses. We also heard Elsie B and Tallulah N; Isabel G and Clemence W; Lucy P and Elizabeth H; Isla H; Poppy C and Mia C.

For the Seniors, Arthur P and Monty G and Hugo E chose poems with a political flavour, which were greatly applauded by their audience. Seren W and May A, Daisy D, Grace W and Tilly R also spoke with great poise and expression.

Finally, for Year 8 Delilah G, Isabelle H and Clemmie D recited a Steven Spender sonnet with subtlety and eloquence while Eric R and Carlos L gave us a treat for the ears with a beautiful Spanish and English rendition of Lorca’s ‘Arbole, Arbole’. Francesca F and Olivia S and Sofia E all offered stiff competition and Daisy F and Olivia H did a fantastic job of (at the last minute!) learning Honor G’s lines so that they could recite their whole poem (unfortunately she was absent that morning).

Annabel Newcomb and I had a very challenging task selecting the finalists who are due to recite their poems (in their bubble groups) in the Theatre on Monday in front of our judges, Joff Powis and Mary Alderson.  All the children recited their poems with passion, sincerity and confidence and should feel very proud of themselves for being selected for the semi-finals of our competition – what a fantastic achievement!

Emily Platt, Head of Department and Annabel Newcomb, Head of EAL