Queensbridge is a mixed 11-16 school in every sense, with currently 680 pupils on roll. The pupils are mainly from Kings Heath, Moseley, Balsall Heath and Highgate, but some travel from further a field. They share their site with Fox Hollies School, a completely separate institution, but one they are proud to work closely with.
Poet Coach: Brenda Read-Brown
Brenda Read-Brown has won many slams and is also a prize-winning playwright. She has worked as a practitioner with people of all ages (literally 1 to 101!) and from all backgrounds. She works regularly in schools, and is Writer in Residence in HMP Shrewsbury, in the Oncology Unit at Cheltenham Hospital and in a GP surgery in Tewkesbury.
She has managed a number of projects with The Reading Agency, and is currently co-ordinator of Poetry on Loan, an organisation that promotes contemporary poetry through public libraries in the West Midlands. Brenda is a Trustee / Director of Ledbury Poetry Festival.
Woodrush School aims to celebrate all excellence and achievements and provide a rich and simulating learning environment and a curriculum that meets the needs of all their learners, as well as promote a culture of innovation and development.
Poet Coach: Spoz
Spoz is not his real name. It’s actually Giovanni Esposito. ‘Spoz’ being the bit between the ‘E’ and the ‘ito’ (kind of).
Spoz is a sort of poet. The sort, in fact, that has been published, recorded, been on the radio, won awards, is a member of the renowned New October Poets, taken part in so many festivals, he’s lost count and even had a commission from the BBC. The sort of poet that isn’t quite everybody’s cup of tea, though, could be yours.
Spoz is a singer, songwriter, playwright and musical writer. He has produced and directed self penned musicals in Birmingham and Edinburgh. He’s written and recorded albums with several bands as well as a solo artiste and appeared before the Queen Mum (RIP).
Shadow Artist & Digital Champion: Hayley Frances
Hayley Frances likes to write poetic verses to describe almost everything. Her work is not straight forward, preferring to make people’s minds work and wonder. She was introduced to creative writing in her teens through Shakespeare and now enjoys contemporary lyrics in rap and hip hop, attempting to portray that rhythm in her written work. Hayley loves performance poetry and is working on fusing poetry with music.
Holyhead School believe that there are no limits to the ability to learn from each other. They take, adapt and move forward. They are happy to learn; because they know they shall need all of their intelligence. They are lively; because they know they shall need all of their enthusiasm. They are organised; because they know they shall need all of their power. They are go-givers not go- getters. They are busy making themselves into a key feature of the global community.
Poet Coach: Matt Windle
Matt Windle is a boxer and poet. Formally a sprinter, he was the Birmingham and Midlands champion for both the 100m and 2000m. In 2007/08 he was Birmingham’s Young Poet Laureate and is the face of the new Birmingham library.
Shadow Artist: Laura Yates
Laura Yates is a Birmingham based poetinvolved in several different arts activities. She is a founder member/director of Write down, Speak up!
STOCKLAND GREEN SCHOOL
Stockland Green School is a city technology specialist college that prides itself on hard work and achievement.
Poet Coach: Andy Craven-Griffiths
Andy Craven-Griffiths, born and bred in Leicester, is the middle child of seven and always had to fight for attention. He started writing out of anger and carried on because he loved saying things and liked it when people listened. He has won slams in places such as Glastonbury and Munich, has had some poems published, has performed on BBC television and radio and intends to be an infinite length of string with one end tied to a boomerang.
Shadow Artist: Elisabeth Charis
Elisabeth Charis (AKA Betty Rivers and other aliases) is a thinker, writer, performer and teacher. Her writing explores relationship with time and place, nature, freedom and responsibility, conflict between contemporary expectations and romantic ideals and self realisation. She’s a qualified teacher with over ten years’ experience of teaching young people and adults. Apart from supporting an emerging community enterprise, Elisabeth is currently working on her first novel, a play for schools dealing with.
Poet Coach: Dreadlockalien
Dreadlockalien is one of the hardest working artists in the West Midlands. Touring UK venues with his performance poetry and slam sets as well as penning three plays, Dreadlockalien continues to push the boundaires of live literature.
His urban hip-hop dub flow verse delivery of words and concepts address social issues such as citizenship, identity, immigration and Black British experiences. No steel pan and samosa tokenism here; strictly education before entertainment.
Shadow Artist: Deci4Life
Deci4Life has skills and experience ranging from music, hosting, acting for theatre, poetry slam competitions and teaching young people. He assisted greatly to the uprising of the Dubstep scene in Birmingham. A member of the Decypher Collective; a crew of ‘linguistic gymnasts who pioneered ‘Grime Theatre’ and recently went on national tour. Deci4Life delivers workshops in music production, drama and spoken word, in schools, young offender institutes, theatres, youth clubs and universities.