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Speak Up North

Our new competition, Speak Up North, inspires young people to unleash their inner storyteller!

Sign up to take part!

Introducing Speak Up North, our creative storytelling competition

As an education charity, we are committed to putting young people at the centre of what we do, amplifying their voices, and celebrating their achievements. That’s why we at Tutor Trust are thrilled to launch Speak Up North in 2024. 

The competition aims to make storytelling fun and accessible for all young people, so they are encouraged to share their creativity, their stories, and what matters most to them through poetry and short stories (including spoken word or music). Our first theme is all about belonging – and we’re inviting all schools and education centres across Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, and Merseyside to encourage pupils to take part.

There’ll be prizes per Key Stage (1-4) for best entries, some familiar faces to judge the entries, a chance to see selected works exhibited in a Manchester venue, and a digital anthology of all this year’s entries available too!

Important dates:

  • Entries open: Monday 8th January 2024
  • Entries close: Friday 8th March 2024
  • Winners announced: mid-March 2024
  • Publication and exhibition of shortlisted entries: early April 2024 (date TBC)

We’re making it as easy and accessible as possible for schools to take part. Find out more below about how your school and young people can get involved. 

A young female tutor with dark hair, tied in a bun, wearing a striped t-shirt, is standing talking to two secondary-aged female pupils who are sat at a desk. The backs of the pupils' heads are facing the camera. Both pupils have long dark hair.

Get involved

Want to spark your pupils' creativity? Register your school's interest in participating today.

How to take part in Speak Up North

  1. School staff, you can register your interest on our website, and we’ll email you the resources you’ll need.
  2. Share the Speak Up North resources with your pupils, school staff, and parents/carers/guardians. Pupils can participate by writing or recording themselves narrating a poem or a short story.
  3. Collect your pupils’ entries (digital and physical), along with the Speak Up North cover letter (which you'll receive by email when you sign up) which helps us to collect your schools' entries easily. For data protection and safeguarding purposes, we ask that you use pupil initials only.*
  4. Contact us when you're ready to share the entries - we'll collect them from your school or for digital entries, send you a secure web link to upload everything. Our email address is: speakupnorth@thetutortrust.org
  5. Sit tight - we'll be reading the entries and will be in touch if any of your pupils are shortlisted for publication or are any of the lucky winners. At this point, we'll send permission forms for pupils to have signed by a parent, carer, or guardian.

* We'll work with your school to ensure safeguarding and data privacy are upheld at every point. You can read more about our Privacy Policy and Safeguarding Policy on our website.

Speak Up North: FAQ

Speak Up North is open to all young people who are in Key Stages 1-4 and attending a school or an Alternative Provision located in Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, or Merseyside. To manage entries and permissions efficiently, we will only accept entries made through a school or Alternative Provision directly.

There will be a separate winner for each Key Stage. 

Speak Up North is all about words and we interpret that as broadly as possible! We'd welcome short stories, poems, songs, raps - anything that showcases your pupils' voices.

To support your pupils, please see our guides on:

  • How to write a short story
  • How to write a poem

The theme of the competition is 'belonging.' This can mean different things to different people and we encourage pupils to take a creative interpretation of the theme.

Whether it's feeling connected to family, friends, a community or a particular place, feeling disconnected and a lack of belonging, or being a passionate member of a fandom, we'd welcome your pupils' own interpretations of what belonging means to them.

We encourage pupils to submit short stories, poems or songs that are no longer than 1,000 words.

There will be a range of prizes on offer from local sponsors. The exact prizes will be confirmed shortly. Winning participants will also have their work exhibited in a location in Manchester City Centre.

Support for pupils

Want some support for your pupils or tutees in writing a great short story or poem? Check out our guides below!
A full-width shop window. In the window is a small blue neon sign that says 'what is your story?' in capital letters.

Writing a short story

Create magic in fewer than 1,000 words with our guide to writing a fantastic short story.

A close up shot of a person's hand above a notebook. The person is wearing a light grey jumper and holding a dark orange pen.

Writing a poem

Channel your inner Keats, Dickinson or Angelou with our guide to how to write a poem.