Poetry for recovery at Minchinhampton School

Published: Tuesday June 16, 2020

Children who returned to Minchinhampton Church of England Primary Academy last week have been processing their feelings about the coronavirus pandemic by writing poetry.

They are supported through a new ‘recovery curriculum’, as staff receive specialist training in emotional resilience and recovery.

11 year old Tess took inspiration from Simon Armitage, after meeting the Poet Laureate on his visit to Stroud shortly before the UK went into lockdown. She said, “I gave him a book of my poems and he joked ‘Don’t get too good, I don’t want any competition!’. He was really nice and humble.”

Tess wrote a poem about NHS frontline staff and Austin, who is also 11 and in year 6, has written a poem inviting people through a magic door to a healthier, happier world.

A reimagined Minchinhampton C of E Primary Academy opened its doors last week to Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 students, having remained open throughout lockdown for key workers’ and vulnerable children. A lot of learning is now happening outside, and a new ‘recovery curriculum’ has been put in place focusing on reconnection, emotional literacy and mental wellbeing, stability and responsiveness. Staff have received specialised training in restoration, recovery and resilience, ensuring they are well equipped to emotionally support young people through the impact this crisis has undoubtedly taken.

“Talking, expressive arts and creativity are vital ways for children to explore their relationship to these immensely challenging and confusing events” said Headteacher Nick Moss. “The poems our students are writing are incredibly moving and an invaluable reminder of how much our young people are absorbing and processing at the moment. Children now back in school have been decorating thank you cards containing Tess’ brilliant poem to send out to our local hospitals, as well as talking and playing a lot, creating art, climbing trees, digging, planting, telling stories, doing yoga and mindfulness and being given plenty of autonomy to draw upon their individual interests and strengths. Austin’s poem is visionary and full of sensitive insight about a brighter future, one that ultimately lies in the hands of our young people. Perhaps we’ll send a copy to 10 Downing St.”


Did you see it going past?
Lights a blaring, sirens blast,
Superheroes work within,
To save somebody else’s kin,
Working through the day and night,
Speeding through the traffic light,
Going out to save the life
Of someone’s daughter, someone’s wife.

Stay home stay safe;

To help the heroes in the van,
To do the best work that they can,
It’s the least you can do
To help the heroes see it through,
For all the brilliant work they’ve done
To save someone’s brother, father, son.
To the superheroes in the van,
Doing the best work that they can:

Thank you.

Superheroes wear a cape?
And they help you to escape –
From baddies big and strong?
That is where you’ve got it wrong.
No – they help you to escape,
From your ever-nearing fate,
They aren’t extremely big or tall;
Superheroes wearing scrubs are the very best kind of all.

I opened the magic door

I opened the magic door… …and saw a child turning the page of the world.
I opened the magic door… … to see the rainbow colours of hope constructed for the N.H.S.
I opened the magic door… …and felt freedom escaping capture.
I opened the magic door… …and saw the world ripped apart by climate change, but being re-built.
I opened the magic door… …to find nature wrapped in plastic, but unfolding slowly for freedom.
I opened the magic door… … and touched blue sky brightening up the world from the darkness of industrialisation.
I opened the magic door… …and found people not in the room, but more together in frames.
I opened the magic door… …and saw the world getting healthier. It was smiling back at me.
I opened the magic door… …and felt our lives finally on the ground, not below or above.


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