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rafeefLammas School in Leyton to host Spoken Word Education Programme Showcase on Wednesday 5th March at 4pm

holy familySince September 2013, the UK’s first full-time poetry Spoken Word Educators have been embedded in 6 London secondary schools.

On Wednesday 5th March students from each of the participating schools will preview their work at Lammas School in the run up to forthcoming performances at Rich Mix, The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and The Southbank Centre.

The Spoken Word Education Programme offers a highly effective approach to raising children’s confidence, self-expression, team-building and leadership skills, whilst also developing oral communication and literacy skills

The Spoken Word Educators comprise award winning poets Peter Bearder, Dean Atta, Indigo Williams, Raymond Antrobus, Cat Brogan and Keith Jarrett.  They work with young people who may not otherwise get access to arts opportunities, with a range of complex issues that affect their lives and engagement in learning.  Spoken Word Poetry is a cathartic outlet for them, allowing them to be more focused and productive learners. 

The key to this innovative model’s success is embedding poets in the culture of each school and enabling them to build relationships with the students, both in school and during their after school spoken word clubs.

The programme has already benefitted more than 2000 students in some of the most deprived areas of London.   The participating young people have wowed audiences across London including performances at Portcullis House for Parliament Week and the launch of Words Over Waltham Forest.  Joshua Izundu, a year 11 student at Cardinal Pole Catholic School in Hackney said, “I have a new appreciation for spoken word.  I have learnt how to turn a picture into words.”

London based, Palestinian Poet and activist Rafeef Ziadah will give a very special guest performance as well. pic2

For further information, contact spokenwordeducation@gmail.com         www.spokenwordeducators.org  


..Last year Holy Family Catholic School became the first school in the country to host full-time embedded poetry / spoken word educators in collaboration with the Spoken Word Education Programme. We invite you to come and support the energy, commitment and talent of the young poets who will be performing new and original group and solo pieces.
The young poets have worked extensively with poet in residence over many weeks. Support the poets of tomorrow this February 2014!

Your Hosts:

Peter Bearder (aka Pete the Temp) Lead Poet Educator as featured on BBC Newsnight, Radio4 and World Service.
Sarah Perry – Spoken word artist, educator, novelist and current member of the Roundhouse Collective.
Belinda Zhawi writer from Zimbabwe and a decade long resident of South East London interested in exploring how art and education can be used as inter-sectional tools.”
Joshua Seigal – Published performance poet, educator featured at the Edinburgh fringe.

Who we are

We are a group of established Spoken Word poets, transforming six London schools through teaching poetry, performance, team-building and leadership in school and in after-school clubs. We are MA students on the Goldsmiths University Writer/Teacher programme (read more here), learning and researching creative approaches to education, educational policy and critical approaches to our own writing and teaching practice. After a year of intensive training at a school in East London, we have committed to working on a full-time residency at our partner schools. More about individual team members here. More about the schools below.

We believe..

We believe that embedding poets within the school culture creates more profound results; we have built up relationships and helped to improve literacy, confidence, speaking skills and emotional literacy among the pupils we teach. Research has shown that empowering people – and particularly young people – to express themselves creatively has educational, emotional-behavioural and even physical benefits which will enable our young people to achieve their full potential. We believe that teaching young people to write poetry gives them access to the power of language; it can also help them become better readers and critical thinkers, key skills that we all need to equip us for the future. We believe that teaching young people to perform their own poetry is vital for building up presentational skills and oracy; it also enables them a rare opportunity to share ideas with their peers, and creates an environment where school pupils listen to each other as well as to their teachers.


Where we work

Why this programme exists

Our over-riding goal is to engage students in sharing their creative self-expression, to improve educational attainment and emotional well-being.
Our focus is on self-expression and the development of what are often labelled “soft skills”; creativity, confidence, community-building, empathy, emotional awareness and oracy are all virtually absent from the National Curriculum. These skills are not graded in GCSE exams or set as coursework. Yet, these are all necessary skills for developing as a citizen, whether socially, in family life or in the world of work. Confident, expressive young people make for high-achievers and bring added value to our society.

How we work

We are an expanding team of six professional poets, embedded in six schools for at least a year, four days a week. We work across year groups, with half the salary paid by the school. Six new trainees will start in September 2013 and work full time in a further six schools from September 2014. If you would like your school to be considered for September 2014, please contact us

Testimonials and Statements of Support

Partner Statements of Support:

I’ve been delighted to welcome Peter Kahn and his team into Holy Family. It is exciting for us to be able to develop students’ literacy through spoken word activities. The team have brought something different to our school and the students have enjoyed working with them and many have joined the Spoken Word club, which is great to see.

-Dr. Andy Stone, Head Teacher, Holy Family Catholic School

Look at Testimonials

Mission Statement

Spoken Word Educator Trainee Mission Statement:

Our mission is to establish ourselves as full-time Spoken Word educators, positively impacting and transforming the culture of every school we work with. We are committed to the empowerment of our students, so that they are enabled to find and use their voices to the fullness of their potential. We will establish an infrastructure that will raise the esteem of Spoken Word culturally and institutionally, as well as generate new revenue for Spoken Word poets as full-time educators in schools. Our mission is that we, the trainees, leave the programme confident and equipped to be some of the UK’s most skilled poets and educators, and that the Spoken Word programme continues successfully after the pilot year.

The Cohorts

‎Peter Bearder
Indigo Williams
Raymond Antrobus
cardinal pole


Dean Atta
Catherine Brogan
Keith Jarrett



PRESS RELEASE – 27 August 2013

Stars of Spoken Word in Schools

UK’s first full-time poetry Spoken Word Educators embedded in schools from September

Match funding has been secured to pay for the arrival of the first holders of a revolutionary new method of teaching literature and emotional literacy in school. The Spoken Word Education Programme was founded by the world’s only holder of this position, Chicago’s Peter Kahn, who has helped students out of gang violence, suicide and prison and to perform poetry in TED talks and in the White House.

Supporters include The Southbank Centre, Goldsmiths University, SlamBassadors (The Poetry Society), the National Association for the Teaching of English (UK), Apples and Snakes, Arvon Foundation, Spread The Word, Eastside Educational Trust and Baroness Helena Kennedy, the patron of the programme. Baroness Maggie Jones, Labour Shadow Spokesperson in the House of Lords for Education, visited the pilot in June and mentions the project in her blogspot (http://www.labourlords.org.uk/talent-shows) and raised its importance in her House of Lords speech in July. Read more