Poet Ian McMillan inspires Shoreham pupils at workshop

Ian McMillan at the school
Ian McMillan at the school

Pupils at a Shoreham school took part in an engaging workshop with one of the UK’s most celebrated poets last week.

Ian McMillan, known as the Bard of Yorkshire, visited Swiss Gardens Primary School before performing as a headline act for this year’s Shoreham Wordfest.

Ian McMillan at the school

Ian McMillan at the school

Mr McMillan ran an engaging poetry workshop for a group of pupils aged 10 and 11, followed by an assembly for 180 pupils, where he set about constructing a new school poem with the children.

Of all the things to find in a classroom, Mr McMillan used a mysterious stain on the ceiling as the basis for his workshop. The pupils let their imagination flow and created a brilliant story on the origins of the odd mark.

Speaking at the event, Mr McMillan said: “I love coming into schools and making it up as I go along, and this afternoon was a wonderful example of the genre.

“What I always like is the fact that young people are open to ideas. It had narrative and drive, it had images, it had rhythm and rhyme, all of which they made up themselves.”

The visit was organised by Shoreham Wordfest and was made possible thanks to sponsorship from Adur District Council.

Councillor Neil Parkin, Leader of Adur District Council, said: “I’m delighted that some of the money we gave Wordfest has gone to bringing Ian into the school.

“It really was a day to remember for many of the youngsters and highlights why we are so keen to support culture in our communities.

“I think the organisers are putting on a wonderful festival in Shoreham and beyond.

“It’s a real highlight of our cultural calendar and I am delighted to be supporting it.”

Amanda Evans, English co-ordinator at the school, said: “We were thrilled to have a nationally famous poet visiting our school, and the children were all looking forward to welcoming Ian McMillan to Swiss Gardens.”

Rosalind Turner, Wordfest organiser, said: “Ian’s poetry is often a humorous reflection of modern day life, and is popular with all ages.

“We hope the students of Swiss Gardens Primary School has a brilliant time and were inspired to create new writing of their own.”

Find out more about Shoreham Wordfest here

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