Premier League Writing Stars judge Rio Ferdinand returns to former school in Peckham to surprise budding poets

Former Premier League footballer and BT Sport presenter Rio Ferdinand took a trip down memory lane when he returned to his former school, Camelot Primary in Peckham. Rio surprised a class with an unforgettable poetry lesson on diversity - the theme for this year’s Premier League Writing Stars competition.

Rio is a member of the competition’s Judging Panel alongside singer and songwriter Olly Murs, Children’s Laureate Lauren Child and poet Joseph Coelho. He helped inspire the class to write their own poems, talking to pupils about what he was like when he was at school and how hard work saw him achieve his dream of becoming a Premier League footballer.

The class impressed Rio with their poems on diversity and spent time discussing respect, tolerance and how our differences and similarities should be celebrated. Two lucky pupils also had the chance to interview the BT Sport presenter on the topic before he joined a whole school assembly to discuss his role as a judge in this year’s competition.

The lesson Rio attended at Camelot Primary is like many being delivered across England and Wales by the 101 professional football clubs across the Premier League, EFL and National League, who provide in-school support to teachers as part of the Premier League Primary Stars education programme.

Former Premier League footballer and BT Sport presenter, Rio Ferdinand said: “It was great to be back at my old primary school for Premier League Writing Stars. Using children’s passion for football to inspire them to write creatively about the theme of diversity is really important and I’ve been very impressed by the poems I’ve heard.”

“I came from the estate opposite Camelot Primary School and as a Premier League footballer I have been lucky enough to travel around the world, meeting people from different backgrounds and who have different beliefs. I hope that by sharing my experiences with the children today it can have a positive impact on helping them to understand the importance of diversity and that although we are all different, we are very much the same.”

The Premier League Writing Stars poetry competition is open to all primary school pupils across England and Wales and is supported by the National Literacy Trust. The initiative aims to get young people writing poetry in different creative forms, with last year’s inaugural Writing Stars competition encouraging more than 25,000 primary school pupils to write a poem.

Entries will be considered against a range of criteria including creativity, tone and originality and any form of poetic writing, including a rap or music lyrics, can be entered. Teachers and parents can register or nominate their child’s school to take part at PLPrimaryStars.com.

The winning Premier League Writing Stars poems will be published in a limited-edition book. Other prizes include author-led writing workshops and Premier League trophy school visits, as well as the overall winning poems being read aloud by some of the competition judges. The first 1,000 primary schools to enter will receive a free poetry book bag containing 12 different titles.

Teachers have until Friday 21 December to submit their pupils’ poems either online or by post. Winners will be announced in March 2019.

#PLPrimaryStars @PLCommunities

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