"Creative writing is a wonderful outlet for children to express themselves "
Helen Wilson, A Star Tutor and Founder
A Ramsbottom-based tutoring group is celebrating after three of its pupils made the semi -final of the prestigious BBC 500 Words story writing competition.
Ava Shephard, Lewis Platt and Ava Hughes all attend A Star Tuition Group, founded by Helen Wilson (BSc, PGCE) in 2008. The trio were part of a select group of only 5,000 children whose stories were chosen from over 35,000 entries across the UK.
The stories will now be read by the Reading Agency and if selected for the next round, the finalists are invited to attend a spectacular 500 Words Final at Buckingham Palace (Coronavirus restrictions permitting) where superstar celebrities will read the winning stories live on the radio. Six amazing illustrators: Tony Ross, Fiona Lumbers, David McKee, Sue Cheung, David Roberts, and Margaret Sturton – will each be set the task of illustrating one the winning stories.
The winners in each age category will also receive:
Gold Winners - Chris Evans' height in books and 500 books for their school.
Silver Winners - HRH The Duchess of Cornwall's height in books.
Bronze Winners - Their own height in books.
This is the third year that pupils from A Star Tuition Group have been successful in the competition. In 2019 three pupils made it to the semi-finals and in 2018, ten year old A Star Tuition pupil Meren Hildred made it all the way to the final where, she shared her story, “The Adventures of Lefty the Lonesome Loafer” with HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.
Helen Wilson has also judged the BBC 500 Words, the UK’s largest story writing competition for children, for the third year running. Now in it’s 10th year, the competition is designed to encourage a love of writing and storytelling in school children under the age of 13. After winning regional heats
Helen was selected as a judge after adhering to a strict verification process to confirm her expertise in assessing children’s writing. In 2018 Helen was named a Super-Judge for going above and beyond her judging duties. Helen is only permitted to judge stories from children from other areas of the country, whom she doesn’t know.
Helen Wilson said:
“I’m absolutely delighted that three of our pupils have made it through to the semi-finals of such a tough competition. As an English teacher, I’m absolutely passionate about helping children to discover their inner storyteller. Our little word-smiths should be so proud of themselves!
“Children today are busy and under pressure, with many spending far too much time on screens. Creative writing is a wonderful outlet for them to express themselves and use their imaginations – particularly in these difficult times.”
Ava Shephard wrote ‘Adventure Dog’, inspired by her pet Charlie, keen footballer, Lewis Platt wrote ‘Will He Ever Find His Football?’ and Ava Hughes wrote ‘The Boa Constrictor Who Wanted to Hug’.