When a school or organisation enquires about booking a poet to run a workshop or performance, our Education Team matches them with a suitable local poet. From our list of Poets in Schools, we will contact a poet who has experience working with young people of that age, with their needs, and who can deliver work on the themes the school would like to explore.
Our poet educators tend to be freelancers or part-time workers who combine leading paid poetry workshops with other projects and part-time jobs; because Poets in Schools work is sporadic, it will never make up the majority of a poet’s income. We send poets into schools across the UK, but because many regional literature development agencies offer their own writers in schools programmes, most of our enquiries come from London and the South East of England, where The Poetry Society is based.
We are always keen to widen our roster of Poets in Schools, but because of the nature of this programme, we are looking for confident facilitators with recent experience of working with a range of young people.
We would expect a Poet in School to:
- Have led at least three poetry workshops with young people in the past two years, and has at least two references to hand – if there’s a good reason why you haven’t been able to run workshops recently, let us know
- Have had some poems published in magazines, anthologies or books in the past two years
- Have performed or read their poems at some events in the past two years
- Have had an Enhanced DBS check in the past year, be on the DBS update service, or be willing to undergo an Enhanced DBS check through The Poetry Society, costing around £63.40
- Be enthusiastic, adaptable and reliable
- Be a good communicator over email and in person
- Above all, enjoy working with young people
If you are interested in becoming a Poet in School and you meet these criteria, email us at [email protected] and we’ll ask for your writer’s CV, references, and for you to complete a survey with more information about you. We will usually schedule an informal interview either in-person or over Zoom.
If you don’t have the experience yet but are interested in developing your facilitation experience, feel free to get in touch with us at [email protected], and we can let you know the next time we are able to offer training. You may also be interested in becoming a member of The Poetry Society or joining a Stanza, to embed yourself further in the poetry community and gain the chance to enter members’ and Stanza poetry competitions. Do also check out the National Association of Writers in Education (NAWE) website for more information and training opportunities. And if you are a children’s writer of colour, consider joining the BookTrust Represents network for further opportunities.