A Trafford schoolboy’s writing has been recognised by GM Mayor Andy Burnham and CEO of the Charted College of Teaching Alison Peacock, winning a regional poetry competition about Covid and the community.

The competition was organised by Altrincham-based The Alliance for Learning Teaching School, part of Bright Futures Educational Trust, and invited schools from across the North West to submit poetry around the theme of ‘Coming Together’.

Jake Smith from Wellacre Academy in Flixton was voted best entrant by judges Burnham and his fellow judges Adrian Bethune, Deputy Chair of Well Schools Strategic Board and Founder of Teach Happy, and Hannah Wilson, Director of Diverse Educators – for his poem, entitled: NHS.

Lisa Fathers, Director of Teaching School at The Alliance for Learning, part of BFET, says: “Since the outbreak of Covid-19, we have seen people from all walks of life ‘coming together’ to provide support; through charitable donations, birthday wishes, help for struggling businesses and of course the weekly coming together to recognise our keyworkers and NHS.  It’s been quite inspiring and so it felt right to recognise this as the topic for our annual poetry competition.”

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “This year has presented challenges for everyone, but throughout it all, people right across the North West have supported one another. All of us have found new ways to come together, help our families and neighbours, and celebrate the heroes who kept us safe and kept our communities going right throughout the year.

“The Alliance for Learning invited children from all across the region to turn their creative talents to this task, and every poem we read told a vivid story about their experiences and their feelings. The entries were so impressive that it was difficult to choose just three winners, and everyone should be incredibly proud of their efforts.”

Hannah Wilson adds: “I was delighted to help judge and found the entries to be original, inspirational and very moving. Congratulations to all the winners and a huge thankyou to the schools who took part.”

Second and third prizes were awarded to Abigail Bennett, of Birchwood Community High School and Eva Rothwell of Longdendale High School.

More than 100 schools entered the competition, with the winning schools all receiving book tokens as prizes.