a new era of writing talent at ug

Celebrating the winners of the `New Era` Literacy competition

To mark recent historic events we organised a House Literacy competition, encouraging students to write a reflective or creative piece on the theme of `A New Era`.

Students from across the year groups participated and submitted work including short stories, poems and analytical pieces.

All entries were inspired, but we are delighted to announce that our overall winner is Year 9 Sara (pictured centre), whose submission was a though-provoking, poignant and relevant short story centred on what the dawn of a new era really means for those who are most affected by the current economic and political climate:

`A New Era` was written on the rain-soaked newspaper sitting on the pavement, discarded. Words worth more than their weight in gold slowly lost their value as the harsh rain tore it, as if it too didn’t want to believe the reality written on mush that once held words that would change everything. It didn’t matter that she was only 12, she knew that behind the smiles of her parents something wasn’t the same. Those words only made everything seem more real- more real than she wanted.

It was Friday and she had been told that there was going to be another strike on Tuesday. Of course, for her, this wasn’t bad news; this news would mean she could miss another day of school! It had been the fourth day she missed school because of strike, and she was beaming with joy! The smile that shone on her face slowly withered as she saw her best friend crying on the bench next to the school gates. She’d known Emma since she was 8 and it didn’t take a detective to show that she had struggled in her life with the things she could afford, but regardless, she was the most cheerful person she’d ever know. She would never forget that day. The day where she regretted the question she asked. Almost like those words had cursed her to share the pain that was hidden by the people she loved most.

“Hey, Em, what's wrong? Why’re you crying?” she asked, but this only made her sob even harder

“Oh my God, I can’t believe it actually happened!” She knew her best friend was in hysterics and might not even give her an answer, but to try and help was better than to just sit and watch her loose the happiness she once bore, “They’re going to evict us tomorrow! They won’t even give us an extension! Oh my God I’m probably going to be put in the system!”

She would never forget that day. No, she couldn’t. It was the week her best friend was taken far away, the week her parents sat her down and told her they could afford the next day’s food, the month she lost everything. But then she wondered: Was this really the government that took her best friend away from her, her parents away from her, her brother away from her, was this really them? Was this really the government that would build parks and fund the rich but when the people said ‘help us’ they would turn their backs? Was this the government that would determine her future?

She was only 12 when she first read those words, but now she was 17 and the world seemed to crumble around her. She finally understood why people would strike, why her parents would say no to the expensive things she saw other kids wearing, why they never turned on the news, because just like the rain had done to those very same words, they didn’t want to believe it...

And neither did she.

Story by Sara 9S

Also awarded prizes: Year 7 Faiyed and Year 8 Sam, who wrote poems that were both thoughtful and entertaining; and Year 12 Yaseen, who produced an insightful reflection on the socio-cultural and political ramifications of what has come before, and what lies ahead, in these turbulent times.

Well done all and all the winning entries will be published in the next edition of our school magazine Perspectives, which is available to access via our website.

And the Coronation prompted  school news reporter Aizah to reflect on this significant moment in time: "In this country and elsewhere thoughts of whether you are Monarchist or Republican were put to one side as we all recognised that the start of the reign of a new King marks a new historical period. All around Manchester I saw posters and decorations eulogising the new King ... the monarchy is one of the symbols of the United Kingdom and as a student I feel and hope that the Coronation will bring positive change to our Society".

                                                          By Aizah 9U