Picture the Poet inspires pupils and boosts writing and reading skills

06 Oct 2016

To mark National Poetry Day, we have today revealed the positive impact our Picture the Poet initiative has had on pupils across the UK.

The programme was delivered in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery and performance poetry organisation Apples and Snakes.

Creative writing activities and teacher training were based around an exhibition of portraits of poets which toured six regional venues in Norwich, Sheffield, Preston, Lincoln, Sunderland and Carlisle.

The schools programme involved 168 teachers from over 100 local schools and saw more than 3,750 pupils visit the exhibition. The seven to thirteen-year-olds were then inspired to write and perform their own verse following literacy workshops run by poets in the exhibition spaces.

The key findings from the Picture the Poet evaluation show that after taking part: 

  • 88% of pupils said they know more about poetry
  • 57% feel their writing has improved and 52% say their reading skills have also improved
  • There was an 82% uplift in pupils saying poetry is brilliant (46.2% compared with 25.4% before) and after the programme 55.8% described poetry as fun (compared with 38.2% before) and
  • Just 13.5% of pupils said poetry is hard (compared with 31.3% before)
  • 4 in 10 pupils visited a gallery for the first time

We delivered a day of continuing professional development (CPD) training for teachers, held in each Picture the Poet exhibition space. The CPD included lesson plans and resources linked to National Curriculum requirements, and was run in partnership with performance poet Francesca Beard.

91% of the teachers who completed the Picture the Poet evaluation said the training and resource pack had helped them gain new skills and knowledge about teaching poetry and 89% said they enjoyed poetry activities in school more.

To complement Picture the Poet, a resource pack for teachers was created which is full of tips, curriculum links, literacy activities and lesson plans. We have also developed a supplementary resource for Key Stage 4 students. 

Download the resources here.

Read the full evaluation here