'Dreams and Aspirations: a vision for SEND inclusion'

Through the theme of 'Dreams and Aspirations: a vision for SEND inclusion', the Poetry Competition invited teachers to promote group conversation around SEND, how children and young people experience inclusion and what they think it should look like. Pupils were encouraged to put pen to paper and transform their thoughts, experiences and aspirations into a poem. The aim was to encourage the development of dreams and aspirations amongst all children and young people, especially those with SEND.


We are delighted to announce the poems which have made the final shortlist of the Tes SEN Show 2021 Poetry Competition!

The entries we received for the competition across all the categories were outstanding and it made the judge's job a difficult one to decide on the finalists. But, the deliberation is over and the final shortlist, as decided by our esteemed panel, is below.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to create and submit their work to us - we very much enjoyed reading every single one of them.

Primary - Individual (Ages 5-11)
  • 'Searching for a Horton' by Benjamin Graham (age 10)
    School: Homeschooled
  • 'I Am Me' by Will Lodge (age 9)
    School: EOTAS
  • 'Chasing a Rainbow' by Tayla Sims-Beswick (age 10)
    School: Gretton Primary School

Primary and Secondary - Group
  • 'Learning' by Neptune Class - Asher, Okwabi Noah Yusuf, Hannah Peasey, David Bombanis and Nabil Rahman (age 12)
    School: JFK Special School
  • 'Together Now, Together Forever' by Neptune Class - Asher, Okwabi Noah Yusuf, Hannah Peasey, David Bombanis and Nabil Rahman (age 12)
    School: JFK Special School
  • 'Egg and Cake' by Abbie, Becky, Zara, Zahra, Millie, Tyler, Yousuf, McKenzie, Tommy and Parker (age 16)
    School: Crosshill School

Secondary - Individual (Ages 11-19)

  • 'Thrill' by Edwin Hui (age 13)
    School: Cartmel Priory School
  • 'Is it my problem?' by Matthew Bailey (age 13)
    School: Cartmel Priory School
  • 'Inpatient' by Sky McClure (age 15)
    School: Manor Green School - The Link
  • 'Muted' by Abbey Docherty (age 15)
    School: Good Shepherd Centre
  • 'Better' by Abigail Cowie (age 12)
    School: Formby High

A big congratulations to our shortlisted finalists who, along with their teachers, will be invited to attend the prizegiving ceremony being held at 1pm at the Tes SEN Show on Friday 8 October where the winners will be revealed!

The ceremony will be presided over by Cressida Cowell, the number one bestselling author-illustrator of the How to Train Your Dragon and The Wizards of Once book series, and the Waterstones Children’s Laureate 2019-2022. The winning poems will be displayed for two days around the Tes SEN Show for all attendees to view, then published along with the commended poems into the digital Tes SEN Show Poetry Anthology.

Key dates:

Competition opens: Tuesday 23rd March
Competition closes: Saturday 31st July
Shortlist announced: Friday 17th September
Prizegiving ceremony: Friday 8th October at the Tes SEN Show


  • Primary - Individual (Ages 5-11)
  • Primary - Group (Ages 5-11)
  • Secondary - Individual (Ages 11-19)
  • Secondary - Group (Ages 11-19)


Download two free lesson plans for Primary and Secondary to help you get started. Just click on the images below to download your free lesson plan.

Additional resources

You can also download lesson plans and worksheets from The Poetry Society and National Literacy Trust here:

If you have any questions about the Tes SEN Show Poetry Competition please contact Helen Longhurst at helen.longhurst@markallengroup.com.

Terms and conditions

  1. All entries must be entirely the entrant’s own work and must not have been published in print or online before the closing date of the competition.
  2. All entries must be in written English or recognised sign language, e.g. BSL alphabet; makaton, and no translations are permitted unless the poet has translated their own original poem.
  3. Poems must be no longer than 200 words.
  4. For the Primary (group) and Secondary (group) categories, groups must be no larger than one class size.
  5. To maintain anonymous judging, there must be no identifying marks on any poem or title. The competition administrator will match your entry title to your email address after anonymous judging is complete.
  6. Work will not be returned, so please keep a copy.
  7. Feedback will not be given on individual entries or on the results of the competition — the judges’ decisions are final.
  8. By submitting your entry(ies) you are agreeing to allow Mark Allen Group copyright to allow publication of work submitted in future materials created for the use of marketing and other purposes.
  9. The competition is open to residents of the United Kingdom aged between 5 and 19 except employees of Mark Allen Group Ltd, including its affiliated companies, organisers, speakers, exhibitors, sponsors and their close relatives and anyone otherwise connected with the organisation or judging of the competition.
  10. There is no entry fee and no purchase necessary to enter this competition.
  11. By entering this competition, an entrant is indicating his/her agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions.
  12. The closing date for entry will be 31st July 2021. After this date, no further entries to the competition will be permitted.
  13. No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for whatever reason.
  14. MA Exhibitions Ltd reserves the right to change the event timings, date and/or venue.
  15. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND CONSENTS. By entering this Competition, you are consenting to our use of your entry both to publicise this Competition, The Tes SEN Show or any other educational show we own or control. This means that we may use all names, images, descriptions, and other information, which you’ve submitted on entry, in any media, without paying you and without any time restriction. You will also have waived any moral rights or right to payment that you may have had.

Information and Support:
Sometimes we all need someone to talk to. If you, or someone you know, would benefit from further information or support on a range of mental health issues, the following organisations may be able to help:

  • ChildLine - a free, 24 hour confidential helpline for children and young people who need to talk.
    Phone: 0800 1111
  • Mind - provides advice and support on a range of topics including types of mental health problems, self-harm, legislation and details of local help and support in England and Wales.
    Phone: 0300 123 3393 (weekdays 9am - 6pm)
  • YoungMinds - offers information, support and advice for children and young people on mental health, wellbeing, racism and self-harm. Help for concerned parents of those under 25 is offered by phone. YoungMinds Crisis Messenger: text YM to 85258.
    Phone: 0808 802 5544 (Mon-Fri 9.30am-4pm)
  • Rethink Mental Illness - offers practical help and information on a wide range of topics such as The Mental Health Act, living with mental illness, medication and care.
    Phone: 0808 801 0525 (Mon-Fri 9.30am-4pm)
  • SANE - provides confidential emotional support and information to anyone affected by mental illness. It also provides a resource for anyone affected by suicide.
    Phone: 0300 304 7000 (4.30-10.30pm daily)
  • The Mix - provide non-judgmental support and information for young people under 25 on a variety of issues including mental wellbeing, sex & relationships, exam stress, money, drugs and self-harm.
    Phone: 0808 808 4994
  • Community Advice & Listening Line - offers emotional support and information on mental health and related matters to people in Wales.
    Phone: 0800 132 737 (24/7) or text "help" to 81066
  • Inspire (Northern Ireland Association for Mental Health) - provides local services to support the mental health and wellbeing of people across Northern Ireland.
    Phone: 028 9032 8474
  • SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) - can provide general mental health information and signpost you to your local services.
    Phone: 0344 800 0550 (Mon-Fri 9am-6pm)
  • Place2Be - providing mental health support to pupils, families and staff in UK schools.
    Phone: 020 7923 5500
  • National Autistic Society - providing support, guidance and advice for those on the autism spectrum and their families.
    Phone: 020 7833 2299 (Monday to Friday 9am-12pm and 1pm-3pm)
  • Child Bereavement UK - helping children and young people, parents and families, to rebuild their lives when a child grieves or a child dies.
    Phone: 0800 02 888 40
  • Information from the NHS on mental health
  • Information from the NHS on self-harm
  • Mental Health Foundation - provides a guide to mental health problems, topical issues and treatment options via their website.
  • LifeSIGNS (Self-Injury Guidance & Network Support) - an online, user-led voluntary organisation, founded to create understanding about self-injury and provide information and support to people of all ages affected by self-injury.