Preparing for your poet visit

Before the visit:

Make sure you have agreed the schedule for the day with the poet. It can be tempting to try and squeeze in as many workshops as possible but it is important to make sure pupils have enough time to work meaningfully with the poet. One reading (perhaps in assembly) and two or three workshops with small groups is a realistic maximum.  

To get the most from the visit, be clear about what you want well in advance. The poets will also have experience of what has worked for them in the past so feel free to ask them.

Make sure you are aware of the poet’s published work. Make the poet’s collections available to pupils, possibly on display, and/or share performances of the poet’s work before the visit.

Let pupils prepare some questions they would like to ask.

Ask the poet:

How they would like to be introduced and how they would like the children to address them.

If they have any dietary or special needs.   

Send the poet:

Details on how to find you and what lunch arrangements have been made.

A timetable for the day, showing break times, assemblies, workshops and readings. Include information about group sizes and ages.

Information on what kind of texts students have been reading and writing recently.

The name of the key teacher who is organising the day, and who they can turn to if they need any further information or support.   

During the visit:

Ensure that there is a member of staff in the room at all times who is aware of this guidance and the terms of agreement. Where possible, we recommend that teachers and teaching assistants take part in the writing activities themselves.

Following up on the visit:

Make sure the pupils have time to finish off writing tasks they began with the writer.

If your students are between ages 11-17, submit their poems for the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award, the UK’s leading competition for young poets. Your students can enter as many poems as they like, of any length, on any theme. 

Join the Poetry Society. Your whole school will benefit from Poetry Society school membership, which includes free access to our Poets in Schools placement service, books, posters and more.

Display the students’ finished work, make a school anthology, or prepare a reading for parents or governors.

Writers of all ages are motivated by the possibility of publication. Perhaps your local paper would feature a story?