[caption id="attachment_3896" align="alignright" width="300"] Esme Partridge reading her poetry at the Oxford Literary Festival in March 2013[/caption]
Esme Partridge won the Foyle Young Poets: a huge, international competition for 11‑18 years with nearly 8,000 entrants. Her poem, I Took God With Me Camping is a witty, moving monologue about attending a Festival in the pouring rain. Esme is 16 and a student at Oxford Spires Academy. Esme's win was announced on National Poetry Day.
On the same day, her fellow-student at Oxford Spires, Jasmine Burgess, was runner-up in the John Betjeman Competition for poems by 11‑13 year olds. Jasmine is 12, and her poem is about gazing back through the hedge at Larkrise School, and wondering what has happened to her former self.
With Azfa Ali's win in the Tower Poetry Competition in May, this adds up to a remarkable series of successes at national level for Oxford Spires Academy. Oxford Spires Academy's First Story Writer in Residence and Oxford City Poet Kate Clanchy attributes the success to a fantastic English Department, a wonderful librarian and a whole school culture of celebrating excellence and creativity - as well as the exceptional talents of the students.