National Arts and Minds Competition

Congratulations to Mattea for winning the Creative Writing prize in the National Arts and Minds competition for her poem entitled Eleven Floors. The Arts and Minds competition, run yearly by the NASWUT, celebrates cultural diversity and equality in schools. As part of her prize, Mattea attended an awards ceremony in London, enjoying a lunch with all the competition winners. Here is what Mattea thought about the day:

On Wednesday 11th October, I was lucky enough to spend a day in London thanks to the NASUWT. My poem, which I entered into the annual Arts and Minds Contest, was chosen as one of the few winners in the country. As part of my prize I had a ride on the London eye with my mum and Mrs Douglas. This was an attraction which I had only ever seen but not been on. The ride was beautiful and we caught sight of Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and even The Shard. We took plenty of pictures with the gorgeous view.

Afterwards, we walked back with the other winners to the hotel where we were greeted with an amazing lunch and Mrs Young (which was a very lovely surprise as not even Mrs Douglas knew she would attend!).

During the ceremony winners were given the opportunity to see the other poems and pieces by other students. Although I was not the overall winner, it was an incredible experience and I felt proud to represent my school. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the contest’s judges and the school’s RS department for giving me this wonderful opportunity!

Read Mattea’s Poem, Eleven Floors¸ below:


Eleven Floors



I enter the four cold, grey walls,

A space filled with emptiness.

The distant sound of bland music.

I stand in silence, looking down.


A woman enters.

Her pale skin glows, her blonde hair shimmers.

Her blue eyes gleam as she sends me a friendly grin.

And me too, I smile.


A man now arrives, calm and quiet.

His clothes are bright, his turban bold.

He nudges me as he passes, mumbling an apology.

But I don’t mind.


Another man appears, his hair untamed,

Distracting from his rainbow shirt.

He grinned, gay with pride

And I proudly smiled.


A woman struts in, emitting confidence,

Her arm covered in henna on a caramel canvas.

She looks ahead, her eyes seem to shine

And taken by her daringness, I smile.


A woman comes now, her hair wrapped in traditional cloth.

A melanin Goddess.

She trips over her long, patterned gown

But I don’t laugh, I smile.


A new woman rushes in, panting.

Her eyes never leave the ground,

Sporting ill-fitting clothes, ‘yellow-tan’ skin barely visible,

But I’m glad she is comfortable, so I smile.


Now, a couple enters, hand in hand.

Beautifully speaking ‘En Español.’

Their faces light up as they chat,

And though I do not understand, I smile.


A person in a mask is now here.

Their skin invisible under thick, black clothes.

But I can see them smiling.

And even if it isn’t shown, I know they are different so, I smile.


The elevator empties, not a person in sight.

I look around and it seems like something has changed.

Now, the bland elevator is loud with colour,

Just as it should be.

That’s what makes us unique.

And as I reach the eleventh floor,  I can’t help


But smile.

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