"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
"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
"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
"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
“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
"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)
“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
“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 Never Such Innocence 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
“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
"Thank you for your part in helping our kids to stop, think, and remember, and really become a part of this centenary... Both of my children have thought deeply about this, and will wear their poppies with extra pride this year."
- Robyn Lovewell from Wellington, New Zealand, mother of competition entrants
“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