Created: 3rd May, 2019

This month our spotlight is focused on CLiPPA and the announcement of the shadowing scheme. Learning Programmes Leader and CLiPPA judge, Charlotte Hacking answers questions about the shadowing scheme and it's importance. 

What is CLiPPA?

CLiPPA (Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award) is now in its 17th year and is the only award for children’s published poetry in the UK. The five poetry collections on this year’s CLiPPA 2019 shortlist were announced on 25th April and the winner will be revealed at a prestigious award ceremony at the National Theatre on 3rd July.

What is the shadowing scheme and how can schools take part?

The shadowing scheme is an important part of the award process. The CLiPPA is an award for children’s poetry and the shadowing scheme is a fantastic way for children to be an integral part of the celebrations.

When the five shortlisted collections are announced, our team of expert teachers write detailed planning linked to each collection which focuses on the appreciation, performance, response to and writing of poetry. Schools can register for the shadowing scheme on our website and receive updates and links to the materials when they are released on the 17th May.

As part of the process, groups and individual children can pick a poem that they have particularly enjoyed and film a performance of this to submit to the shadowing scheme judges. These need to be submitted by 9am on the 13th June. The judges pick a winner for each collection, who will then be invited to perform at the award ceremony at the National Theatre on 3rd July.

The winners will have a wonderful experience on the day and will have the opportunity to participate in performance workshops led by National Theatre tutors and meet the shortlisted poets who will be performing alongside them on stage in the award show.


This year’s shortlist with suggested year groups:

Thinker: My Puppy Poet and Me by Eloise Greenfield – Early Years and Years 1/2 

A Kid in my Class by Rachel Rooney – Years 3/4 

Dark Sky Park by Phillip Gross - Years 5/6 

Rebound by Kwame Alexander - Years 6/7 

Everything All At Once by Steve Camden – Years 7/8 


Q&A with Charlotte Hacking:

Charlotte was a school senior leader for many years before joining the CLPE as our Learning Programmes Leader. She has a special interest in Poetry and has been a CLiPPA judge since 2014. Charlotte developed and led the CLPE's Power of Poetry project, designed to highlight the importance of poetry as a vehicle for improving children’s engagement in, and enjoyment of reading and creative writing in schools. Charlotte has experience as both a Primary Teacher and in teaching poetry so we wanted to find out more about the shadowing scheme and why teachers should get involved.

Why would you suggest to teachers to get their children involved in the CLiPPA shadowing scheme?

The scheme is all about getting children to appreciate, perform, read and write poetry. 

From our research, we know that many teachers feel less confident in teaching poetry in classrooms and the supporting plans, written by our team of expert teachers are designed to make this an easy experience, providing clear ideas and activities for teaching and supporting the writing of poetry, as well as engaging children in poetry and supporting their reading, phonics and language development.

The shadowing scheme also gives children the opportunity to get to know and learn from professional poets through the Poetryline videos, so that children can understand the process of poetry creation, performance and presentation.

What impact have you seen on children involved in the CLiPPA shadowing scheme?

The shadowing scheme is such an integral and important part of the CLiPPA. The poetry we’re judging is for the children, so it’s vitally important for us that the scheme is a vehicle to allow children to engage directly with the shortlisted poetry and having them perform at the ceremony allows us to see the direct impact the poetry has on them. Every year the fantastic performances submitted by schools enable us to see the transformative power of poetry in engaging and developing the confidence of young readers.

The scheme allows teachers and children to get to know a wide range of poems and poetry and creates a fantastic opportunity for children to become excited about poetry through learning about published poets and their work and in becoming engaged with poetry themselves. The sequences open up poetry as a place and space for young people to explore and develop ideas and grow in confidence as readers, performers and writers of poetry.

It’s wonderful to see the video performances submitted by the shadowing schools and look at which poems have been particularly popular with children and they different ways they have interpreted these for performance. Choosing the winners is always a difficult task. It’s so inspiring to see the winners on the day, honing their skills through the performance workshops and demonstrating their confidence and expertise in performance on the stage at the National Theatre in front of an audience of hundreds of children and guests.

To share just how impactful the experience can be on the children, Teacher Gemma Gibson, whose class were a Shadowing Scheme winner in 2018, wrote a blog about their shadowing experience.

Read Gemma’s blog to find out more…

What advice would you give to a school thinking of taking part in the shadowing scheme?

I think the most important thing is to allow time and space for children to respond authentically to what they have read or heard read in their focus collection and how the different poems make them feel.

To create a winning performance, it’s important to make sure the children understand what the poem means to them and how they can then translate this to someone else through their performance. Then make sure they have time to think about the best way of performing - whether it would work best done individually, in pairs or in groups. 

Give the children time and space to develop ideas and practise performing the poems, ensuring they understand the rhythm, tone and pace they need to enhance the meaning for an audience. Allow groups and individuals to perform to each other and gain feedback on how to improve and develop their performance to allow them to be confident with it before recording and submitting to the judges.

Read Charlotte’s article on how to inspire a love of poetry.