Words That Burn: a free education resource for secondary schools

Oct 5, 2018

Words that Burn is a national project for young people, facilitated through Amnesty International UK, to explore and express human rights through poetry.  Literature Works, the South West’s literature development agency, has entered a partnership with Amnesty to bring the programme to Plymouth secondary schools.

This free education resource is aimed at reaching schoolchildren and young people at Key Stage 3 and above.  Materials have been written for use by Lower Secondary (Year 7 to 9); Key Stage 4: Upper Secondary (Year 10 to 11) and Key Stage 5: Further education (Year 12 to 13).  It fits easily into 10 x one hour lessons and can be completed in three weeks.

Amnesty International sets a theme each term – which schools are free to choose to follow or not.  The theme for 2019 is ‘Power’.

Full teaching resources are provided.  Each session is accompanied by poems, film and PowerPoint, supporting students to explore work from different poets and to develop their own writing style.

Teachers are empowered to lead the sessions towards an end goal of inviting those young people whose work achieves particular merit to submit their contributions for publication on both Amnesty and Literature Works’ websites, both as text or video.

Additionally the partners are planning to celebrate the work of Plymouth students at the 2019 Plymouth Festival of Words as part of a ‘youth platform’ element of the Festival.  Here students will be invited to perform their poetry in public. Students will discover the impact their voice and their poetry can have.  Cheltenham Festivals has already established an important platform for such work from schoolchildren in Gloucestershire and will stage a further such platform in October this year.

“It is important because it gives us an idea of the world’s problems and how young voices can be heard all around the world. It doesn’t matter what religion or race you are or what language you speak, everyone has a voice that should be heard.”

Year 8 Student

Severn Vale School

Invitation to a presentation on Words that Burn

As a first step, Literature Works would like to invite all school teachers who are interested in the project to attend an introductory presentation on the benefits of participating.

WEDNESDAY, 31 OCTOBER 2018 4.15-5.15 pm

University of Plymouth, Rolle Building, Room 601 (6th floor), Drake Circus, PLYMOUTH PL4 4AA

You will benefit from hearing from Sarah Cooksley, Head of English at Severn Vale School in Gloucestershire.  She piloted Words that Burn with Year 9 children successfully last year alongside other Gloucestershire schools which ran the programme with Years 7 and 10 across a mixed ability range.

Amnesty International will also present at the session and share with you a number of well-known names and voice from their ‘Amnesty Collective’ of artists who support Words that Burn. Literature Works intends to invite one or more of these artists to join the students performing at The Plymouth Festival of Words platform in October 2019.



If you are interested in attending the initial presentation, please email Literature Works at info@literatureworks.org.uk or phone us on 01752 585073 by Monday 15th October 2018.  We look forward to welcoming you there.