Poetic Leeds pupils awarded Arooj writing prizes

Poetic Leeds pupils awarded Arooj writing prizes

Winners and highly commended with storyteller Peter Chand. 

Pupils who have been taking part in a creative writing competition were awarded for their poetic and literary efforts at a civic ceremony last Friday.

Hundreds of children from primary schools across the city submitted entries into the Arooj creative writing competition, with 35 pupils being short listed as potential winners.

The competition which is in its fifth year is organised by Leeds City Council’s inclusion team, is part of a project which aims to increase attainment in pupils of Pakistani and Bangladeshi heritage and is open to all primary aged pupils in Leeds. The aim of the Arooj project is to work closely with the 12 primary schools with the largest populations of these pupils to help to close the gap in attainment.

Awards were presented to winners and highly commended pupils in each category, with winners  receiving a book and a special notebook to encourage their writing talents, and highly commended entries receiving a book.

Pakistani and Bangladeshi heritage pupils are the largest ethnic minority group in Leeds comprising 6% of the total school population. Attainment levels for these pupils is below their peers both in Leeds and nationally, however the gap in attainment has narrowed in recent years due to the hard work of the schools involved in the Arooj collaborative.

The inclusion team have developed a creative curriculum project with a focus on Muslim heritage, which has had a dramatic impact in terms of engagement and motivation of pupils and parents as well as increasing attainment and attendance.

This year’s theme was “Going for Goals”. Here are some examples of the poems written by Leeds primary school pupils for the Arooj creative writing competition 2015:


I wish……

I wish I was exceptional

So I could achieve my goals

I wish I could be perfect

or even kick a ball

I wish I could be great

To score that winning goal


I wish I could fly

If only I could touch the sky

I wish I was confident

To run further than a mile

I wish I had the bravery

To put on that special smile.

By Safa Sabegh, year 6 Harehills Primary School



Gymnastics is the hardest,

Sacriest, toughest, most painful,

Challenging and demanding sport


But it is also the most amazing,

Beautiful and incredible one

And I love it and that is my goal.

When I’m in the gymnastics hall

I feel like a star!

By Uzma Begum, year 6 Bankside Primary School



Growing up and working hard

Owning your own behaviour

Always trying hard

Learning about the world

Solving problems

By Angadpreet Singh Grewal, year 2 Bankside Primary School


Awards were presented to winners and highly commended pupils in each category by Councillor Jane Dowson, deputy executive member for children’s services.

Councillor Jane Dowson, deputy executive member for children and families said:

Well done to everyone who entered the competition, there are a lot of talented young people in Leeds. A lot of hard work has gone into creating these lovely poems and they are a credit to the pupils and their schools.

We want all children in Leeds to perform to the best of their ability. Projects like this make education fun, interesting and relevant for pupils whose attainment and attendance may be low, and encourages them to look at their own heritage and community as a source of creativity.


The winners of the 2015  Arooj creative writing competition were:

Key Stage 1 Calligraphy: Maariya Rahmani, Hunslet Moor Primary School, age 6

Lower Key Stage 2 Calligraphy: Leila Buono, Carr Manor Primary School, year 4

Upper Key Stage 2 Calligraphy: Hassaam Khan, Pudsey Bolton Royd, year 6

KS1 Poetry: Angadpreet Singh Grewal, Bankside Primary School, year 2

LKS2 Poetry: Dana Hamayel, Pudsey Bolton Royd, year 3

UKS2 Poetry: Safa Sabegh, Harehills Primary School, year 6

KS1 Short Story: Noor Iqbal, Rosebank Primary School, year 1

LKS2 Short Story: Ruhan Hussain, Brudenell Primary School, year 4

UKS2 Short Story: Rachel Small, Carr Manor Primary School, year 5


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