Schools, Families 11 June 2024

ISEB Announces Winners of ‘Time to Write’ Creative Writing Competition

ISEB’s Time to Write creative writing competition for schools has crowned its first winners across four categories. Launched in the spring, the competition received thousands of entries from pupils all over the world. Pupils aged 7-16 submitted stories based on a time-travelling theme in celebration of the exam board’s 120th anniversary. 

The winning writers of the four categories came from Cumnor House Girl’s School in Croydon, Solefield School in Sevenoaks, Trinity School in Newbury, and The Cathedral School in Llandaff. 

The winning entry in the Years 10 & 11 category was ‘The Tale of the Time-Travelling Schoolboy’, written by a pupil from Trinity School. The judges praised this story for its “gripping start and great use of descriptive language throughout” and thought it was a “very funny and compelling piece”.  

First place in the Years 7, 8 & 9 category went to ‘1904: The Sole Survivor’, written by a pupil from The Cathedral School Llandaff. The judging panel was impressed with the “wonderful character development, authentic perspective and great historical setting”.  

In the Years 5 & 6 category, ‘Seed of Life’, written by a pupil from Solefield School, was awarded first place. The judges praised this story for its “sophisticated introduction and beautifully built mystery”. 

And ‘Never Forget the Elephants’ written by a pupil from Cumnor House Girl’s School was the winning entry in the Years 3 & 4 category. The judges thought the writer explored the theme of conservation with “empathy and compassion” and were impressed with the original idea and “neatly shaped narrative which produced a well-structured story with a surprise ending”. 

Runners-up and highly commended stories in each category came from schools in England, Belgium, China, Nigeria, and Thailand. 

The judging panel, made up of representatives from Eton College, St Catherine’s Bramley, St Swithun’s, the University of Winchester and Oxford University Press, as well as a children’s book author, reviewed the top ten entries in each category together in Winchester. 

The thousands of entries were shortlisted by more than 150 people, including teachers from schools that entered pupils, using adaptive comparative judgement technology on the RM Compare platform. The platform presented pairs of stories to judges and asked them to decide which entry was the most creative. Each entry was shown multiple times to different judges alongside different stories, and over time, the platform’s algorithm created a reliable, fair, and accurate ranking of entries produced by the collective wisdom of the judging pool. 

The four winners will see themselves in print, as their stories will be turned into illustrated books. The winning authors and their schools in each category have also won a selection of prizes generously donated by the Time to Write competition sponsors. Prizes include Bluetooth speakers and headphones from Altec Lansing, an Amazon Fire tablet and book vouchers sponsored by Amazon Web Services/Ingram Micro, a selection of books from Oxford University Press, a portable pen scanner from Scanning Pens and £1000 to spend on school equipment with the TTS Group. The runners-up in each category have also won a set of prizes. 

Julia Martin, ISEB CEO, said: “Reading the creative writing of such a talented pool of pupils from around the world was pure enjoyment. The quality of the work was so high that we found ourselves talking about the shortlisted entries in the same way we might analyse the work of graduates and professionals. For all of us on the panel, it was a privilege to read your work and be inspired by your talent.” 

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