The fourth and final Never Such Innocence Poetry and Art Competition is now open – play your part in The Final Push!

To sign your school up for the 2017/18 competition please email or sign up to our newsletter here .

We hope that our final competition in 2017/18 will be the widest reaching, most inclusive, and best yet! Our final competition welcomes poetry in all languages. Existing categories include English, Gaelic and Welsh. We want to ensure as many children as is possible are able to play their part in the centenary, to have a significant voice, and to create their own centenary legacy.

Our competition invites all 9-16 year olds to send us poems or artwork inspired by the events of the First World War. On our journey to 2018, we will continue to engage with children and young people across the British Isles, and the wider world. Full competition rules may be found here.

We have published our fourth edition resource to help inspire your entry to the competition, it is available as a free download, and you may request free copies for your school by emailing

In partnership with The Royal British Legion, Never Such Innocence is encouraging young people to pay tribute to the generation of the First World War, a creative expression of appreciation and gratitude.

To mark 100 years since the formation of the world’s first independent air force, in partnership with RAF100, our roadshows will travel to RAF bases across the British Isles, where we shall be asking children to consider the war in the skies as a particular theme.  

Our partnership with the Royal Canadian Legion will engage more children and young people across Canada, and we are embarking on a new partnership with the British Council and Commonwealth War Graves Commission on a project called Salonika Remembers. We are inviting schools to visit and explore the CWGC cemeteries in Thessaloniki, Greece, and respond creatively to this experience through poetry, art and song. We are pleased to be working with the Royal Navy and British Army in addition to the RAF. 

The 2017/18 Never Such Innocence competition is being supported by The Royal British Legion, the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund, and RAF100.

For more information on our songs competition, Songs of the Centenary - see here 

"This competition was focused on a subject students are interested in, and allowed them to express this in a variety of media. It really allowed students to get involved in the topic without being made to write an essay! I also really liked having past winners to show as examples and a really good resource pack available." - Sarah Penny, a teacher at Alton Convent School

PRIZES for 2017/18 Competition:

1st £400 per competition
£200-pupil / £200-school

2nd £200 per competition
£100-pupil / £100-school

3rd £100 per competition
£50-pupil / £50-school

Additional prizes for runners up in each competition.

Winner of Years 5-6 £200 per (Gaelic/Welsh) language category
£100-pupil / £100-school

Winner of Years 7-9 £200 per language category
£100-pupil / £100-school

Winner of Years 10-11 £200 per language category
£100-pupil / £100-school

Every entrant receives a personalised Certificate of Commendation signed by our President, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, and Founder and Chief Executive, Lady Lucy French, and all winning entries will be published in a special Winners Booklet. See the 2014 Winners Booklet2015/16 Winners Booklet and 2016/17 Winners Booklet

We publish a resource to stimulate responses to the competition - it provides an overview of the Great War and is split into sections. The resource is free to download and we will post copies to your school free of charge! The fourth edition resource includes country profiles on Belgium , the USA and New Zealand as well as other topics such as Music, Sport and Refugees. This final edition was published in September 2017 to coincide with the 2017/18 Competition launch. 

Email to request two free hardcopies of the fourth edition resource for your school.

You can test your knowledge on the First World War with our quiz - use the fourth edition resource to help find the answers! 

The winning entries from all four competitions will be published alongside the content from fourth edition resource in a special legacy book in 2018!

Why not apply for an Arts Award? You’ll end up with a portfolio or arts log that shows off your creativity and gives you a recognised national qualification or award to put on your CV.

“This is the second time that I have joined a panel of judges and the first time that I kept a poem [Waking Nightmare’ by Robyn Beckett] by my bedside for so long. I represent the Combat Veteran Players which is made up of ex-service men and women who had suffered from PTSD. This poem has given a clear account of what we are. It has been an honour to be amongst you and a real privilege to be able to learn so much from our young and future generation.” Androcles Scicluna from the Combat Veteran Players, Poetry Judge

“It was deeply moving to find, in so many of those young people, such an understanding of the pain, the bleakness, the unrelenting sacrifice that came with the Great War. In that respect, having members of our jury who had actually seen combat was illuminating.” Nathalie Trouveroy, Art Historian, Art Judge