Literature in Lockdown

As part of our ongoing commitment to remote learning and education, we are delighted to announce the launch of our English competition, ‘Literature in Lockdown’.

Current students and September 2020 applicants are encouraged to enter to win one of two Amazon Echo Dots. 

English teacher, Shirley Jenkins-Pandya, explains further:

“Literature and poetry in particular can be a source of strength in difficult times. It reminds us that our fears, anger and joy are shared by other people, past and present. It makes us feel less alone.

I have particularly enjoyed teaching the poetry of Philip Larkin for A Level Language and Literature this year and have been prompted to write a couple of Larkinesque poems, one in philosophical mood and the other more playful. Here is the first, entitled ‘We’:


Days pass

Missing communal cups of coffee

Yet birdsong pierces the white blossom against the blue sky

Creativity swells

The we

Grows in stature

The I

In significance


And my playful one is entitled ‘Lockdown’:

Golf and swimming up the spout

Cos Boris tells us not to go out!

Social distancing is the phrase of the day

And the hand sanitizer shortage may cause a fray.

Missing the cafe, the gym and the pub,

When will it end, this lousy lock up?


I would like to dedicate my offerings to all of my students who I very much miss teaching in this strange, truncated year. I wish them every success for the future. We will come through this!

I would also like to throw out a challenge to them and our up-and-coming students to submit their own short pieces of writing, inspired by our current situation, for potential publication on our website.

Good luck to you all.”

The criteria are that a poem must be submitted, which must not exceed a maximum of 14 lines in any form, which encapsulates the feeling of the current time in well-chosen words, or as Coleridge said "the best words in the best order". 

Entries should be emailed to with the competition closing at 12pm on Friday 22nd May.