“Entering Never Such Innocence is a great opportunity to creatively express your thoughts about war. And to remember and to honour those people who served.”

— Pieta Bayley from St Andrews College Prep School (Christchurch, New Zealand), 2015/16 Second Place Poetry Winner


“I am very much looking forward to seeing the next chapter in the Never Such Innocence story. There are so many thoughts on what should be covered under conflict and violence, however Ireland / Northern Ireland would be my first suggestion….

…I am confident that Never Such Innocence will deal with the next topics sensitively and in an age-appropriate way, in order that we can help the children to have these important conversations.”  

— Ann Marie, Home Educator from County Donegal, Republic of Ireland

Read more about the development of our next phase here.

Thank you for the fantastic opportunity to share in celebrating the wonderful talents of empathy and communication through word, song and art of students across the world...

… It is wonderful as a teacher to be allowed time to celebrate and reflect on the hope for the future which is what your organisation does so well.
Your competition allows teachers to demonstrate the magic that can occur when students and teachers are given greater freedom and autonomy over their work.”

— Miss Lytton, Teacher of History, Claverham Community College

"I have played my role as a parent to educate and inspire my girl. History must be remembered not only to [cherish] peace, but also serves as a guide for the future. I hope NSI continue to launch this kind of event internationally."

— Hoo Cheng Ee from Ipoh, Malaysia, mother of 2016/17 First Place Art Winner

Leong Tong Yan flew from Malaysia to accept her prize in the 2016/17 Awards Ceremony – read more here

"I...did some research on various war heroes and found three inspiring and brave soldiers... Over the course of this month, I have learned a lot, from new vocabulary to historical facts."

—Amy, aged 15


“Thank you... the organisation that goes into this competition, and the resources to back it up, are really excellent... Marty's workshop and support were brilliant too. We thoroughly enjoyed yesterday's event and can't wait to see the entries being finalised.”

—Mrs Tinnelly, Head of History, Piper's Corner School 

Free songwriting workshops with our brilliant practitioners are available – find out more here

“Thank you so much for the Berlin trip and for your support. Everything was incredibly well organised and that is down to you and the team. My students got so much out of the experience with one even saying he felt he had positively grown within himself and was empowered.”

— Jane Dixon, Ceramics Artist, working with St. Vincent’s School for Sensory Impairment and other needs

Read more about Together: a UK-German Centenary Competition 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, Teacher, Alton Convent School

View our resources for teachers here

“Giving the tree a voice allowed me to write my poem from a first-hand perspective…

My inspiration came from reading ‘A Monster Calls’ by Patrick Ness, the tree in this story has an important message to get across. Giving the tree a voice allowed me to write my poem from a first-hand perspective. This made it more personal and the imagery more powerful and poignant as the tree was actually there living through the pain of war.”

— Rebecca Farnfield from South Farnham School, 2016/17 First Place Poetry Winner  

Rebecca’s poem I Stand Alone can be read in the 2016/17 Winners’ Booklet here


"We loved our day with you all [at RAF Valley] and it was very special for us. We returned feeling high in spirits and proud to have contributed."

— Mr Benbow, Mobility and Orientation Teacher, Shenanigans Creative Writing Group

“We also realised that it was not just British sailors who lost their lives. We made the sky to show that this was truly a World War.”

"Swans class chose to use the Battle of Jutland as a theme for our competition entry because we had been learning about Jack Cornwell. Lots of us have teenage brothers and his story made us realise just how young some of the sailors were in World War One. We also realised that it was not just British sailors who lost their lives. We made the sky to show that this was truly a World War. We used our hands to represent the sea. Swans had lots of ideas for a title, but we chose Sea of Souls because we liked the alliteration and we thought it was quite a sad title. We used collage because it made the subject stick out and we worked on it as a team, just like the sailors in the ships at the battle.”

—Swans Class, Maundene Primary School 

“As a school we have LOVED exploring this topic and are very proud of our work – we hope you feel the same way!”

— Mrs Hayne, Teacher, Branwood Prepatory School


“It was a fantastic experience for the children to work with Marty – and to see him perform City by the Sea too…very special indeed.” 

— Les McAnaney, Headteacher, Grangetown Primary School

Find out about songwriting workshops with Marty and Bethzienna here

"Maeve has worked hard at researching and crafting her poem and she did it with a lot of enthusiasm and enjoyment. "

"In the poetry section [of the NSI First World War resource] Maeve was touched by the poem ‘Home Thoughts’ by Unknown, 1916, as it showed her that even though he was risking his life, this soldier did not expect to receive any honour for it. Also he did not think he would be remembered because of where he had been sent to fight. This prompted her to suppose that a soldier in The Long Patrol might have felt this way as well.
Maeve has worked hard at researching and crafting her poem and she did it with a lot of enthusiasm and enjoyment. This was in large part promoted by your easily accessible and visually appealing resources, which engaged and sustained her interest throughout."

— Liz Dempsey, Literacy Coordinator, St Patrick's College Ballymena 

“Thank you for your part in helping our kids to stop, think, and remember... Both of my children have thought deeply about this"

— Robyn Lovewell from Wellington, New Zealand, mother of competition entrants 

"We do whole-heartedly appreciate you providing this wonderful opportunity for our Canadian students to learn more about World War I and Canada's vital role in that endeavour."

— Mr Thévenot, Teacher, Mountainview Elementary School (Deux-Montagnes, Canada)