'Mony klyf he ouerclambe in contrayez straunge' - Tom Burke, Year 9

Poetry by Heart is a national competition designed to encourage pupils to develop a critical understanding of poems through reciting them. This year, 11 students competed, each tasked with the challenge of reading both a pre-1914 and post-1914 poem.

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Invictus by William Ernest Henley and Kubla Khan by Samuel T. Coleridge were just two of the numerous poems performed throughout the competition. Jamie Payne in Year 10 was the standout of the initial competition. Jamie’s performances were described as ‘lively’ by the judges, with his performance of A Verandah Ceremony being labelled ‘dramatic’.

Towards the end of the competition, performances by Year 12s Troy Fielder and Nathan Leach impressed the judges. In the more intimate setting of the library, Nathan’s ‘powerful’ rendition of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight hooked the audience and left the judges awe-struck, and not just because the poem was written in Middle English!

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Nathan’s interpretation of Musée des Beaux Artes was deemed ‘a pleasure to listen to’ and it was enough for him to secure 1st place. Jamie Payne and Troy Fielder were 2nd and 3rd respectively. Nathan will go on to represent Challoner’s at the Buckinghamshire county contest next February in Wycombe.

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