Children's poet Paul Cookson inspires youngsters at Blyth school

Acclaimed children's poet Paul Cookson used music and poetry to help inspire youngsters at Bede Academy Primary

Poet Paul Cookson drafts in help from students at Bede Academy Primary, in Blyth
Poet Paul Cookson drafts in help from students at Bede Academy Primary, in Blyth

MUSIc and poetry came hand in hand at a creative workshop with a popular children’s poet.

Youngsters at Bede Academy Primary in Blyth, Northumberland, were able to pick the brains of Paul Cookson, who uses music to help words come alive with children.

Pupils and their parents were given an insight into the works of the poet as he spent time sharing his top creativity tips.

Mr Cookson was on site at the school for two days working with children from reception to Year 5.

During the sessions, students had the chance to ask questions and work on their own poetry, both individually and in groups.

The series of workshops culminated in an evening performance for family and friends where Mr Cookson exhibited his inimitable brand of humour through prose.

Although he does not describe himself as a musician, he brought his poems to life by putting them to music played on his electric ukulele while encouraging plenty of audience participation.

Reading from his books including I’d Rather be a Footballer, Mr Cookson, who is an Everton fan, told the packed audience: “The response from the children and staff has been incredible.

“They worked very hard and came up with some great ideas.”

Some of the children were drafted in to help him on stage and others performed poems they had created during the day.

Students and teaching staff alike have praised the poet, who manages to mix comedy and learning together effortlessly.

Irene Watson, Bede Academy Primary headteacher, is hopeful his visit will help to inspire the youngsters when they put pen to paper in future.

She said: “I don’t think any of us have stopped laughing since Paul came and enriched our lives with words.

“I know the children have been inspired by the sessions and I am expecting this to translate into some superb writing.”

Mr Cookson, who grew up on a chicken farm, has worked with more than 2,000 schools, including some as far away as Malaysia and Argentina.

He has more than 60 titles to his name and has sold well over three quarters of a million books since he began work as a poet in 1989.

He is the official Poet In Residence for the National Football Museum and is also Poet Laureate for Slade.

His best known collections include Pants on Fire, The Truth about Teachers, The Truth about Parents, Give us a Goal and Spill the Beans.


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