I have been struggling to write this post for a while - it is a somewhat bittersweet moment, as I start my second year as the First Story Teacher at Oxford Spires (though my third year lucky enough to be working with First Story). There will be fewer and fewer 'firsts' this year, though I know the pupils and First Story staff will continue to wow me, so I have been searching for a new way to take this blog forward and continue sharing my experiences with you.
Baring that in mind, Kate and I have been tirelessly working for the last six months to find some additional financial support for our poetry program at Oxford Spires. We have been plotting to fully establish OSA as the centre for poetry in the city of Oxford, by creating stronger links with local state schools, renovating part of the library into a Poetry Hub with soft seating and fresh resources, and to run a more extensive range of events and opportunities throughout the school.
It was hard to keep going with all the rejections we received, until the brilliant Susannah Herbert from the Forward Arts Foundation got in touch with a proposal. And I am very excited to continue and reinforce the position of OSA as a centre for poetry with the support of the Forward Foundation, which is enabling us to fun a more extensive range of poetry events and publicise broader national poetry schemes in school.
(For the record, we are still continuing with these effort, and any advice / pointers / support would be hugely appreciated!)
I am going to stick with this webpage and URL, for the sake of continuity, but I apologise if the posts are no longer 'firsts'.
So first up, Kate and I are relaunching First Story at OSA for the new academic year, with the brilliant First Story Festival and drawing on the enthusiasm surrounding National Poetry Day. In just a few weeks, we will have a strong, established group of young creative writers attending our sessions, and I cannot wait to see what comes of their work!