Poetry Factor


A dynamic performance poetry programme for clusters of schools working together. Designed for KS2, KS3 and KS4.

At an in-school slam day, pupils learn to express themselves using creative and entertaining language. One or two teams of young people representing each school then further develop their performance skills at an inter-school boot camp. These teams finally perform their pieces at a separate showcase event, with professional judges and an enraptured audience of parents, friends and teachers – an X Factor for poetry!



Poetry Factor provides school partners with a performance showcase opportunity for children that builds pupil confidence and makes literacy exciting and engaging.



1) A representative from each participating school attends a twilight planning meeting with Andy to decide on suitable dates for delivery and a venue for the performance night.


2) Each participating school in the cluster receives a slam poetry workshop day and a same-day, in-school competition. This could be for a whole year group in a high school (maximum 150 pupils) or upper KS2 pupils in a primary school.

The first day follows the same structure as the Poetry Slam Day (click for more details). Designed to engage large groups (delivery can be divided into morning and afternoon sessions for up to 75 participants) pupils are introduced to slam poetry, including a performance by Andy. Working in teams, pupils write, perform and compete against each other in various games. The workshop can be tailored to fit school or cluster priorities such as identity, crime, transition (see bottom of page), black history, or subject topics such as Shakespeare or Volcanoes. Alternatively Andy can apply a broad literacy focus. The day ends with a mutually supportive X-Factor style competition. Teachers will be given materials to support further work in school.


3) Each school then chooses two slam teams (up to 6 pupils per team) to represent their school at an inter-school slam final.

Schools are free to choose which pupils should go through to the next stage. Selection can acknowledge merit and also provides a good opportunity to target individuals with behavioural or engagement issues who can benefit from the esteem-building effects of the process.


4) The slam teams attend a boot camp day to hone their poetry writing and performance skills ready for the slam final showcase, with bonus poet!

The boot camp usually takes place on an agreed school day in a participating high school or other local venue with a large hall, but can alternatively take place on a weekend or during a holiday period. Andy brings in another professional performance poet (and sometimes two extra poets) with years of experience working in schools. Pupils work together with young people from other schools for the first half of the day and return to their school teams for the afternoon. The teams explore performance techniques, beatboxing, timing, action and expression. The emphasis is on team-working and mutual support.


5) The slam final showcase takes place in front of an invited live audience at an agreed local venue.

Andy provides a panel of poetry experts for the evening, and other local judges can be incorporated. The showcase can be filmed and photographed by the school or by Andy and all sound equipment and microphones can be provided.



  • Initial planning meeting
  • Full day poetry workshop in each participating school
  • Full boot camp day for selected pupils from each participating school
  • Poetry slam performance and competition showcase



  • A lead member of staff who will support the programme, including attendance at an initial briefing and planning meeting.
  • A workshop space large enough to seat up to 75 pupils, in groups of 6-8, around tables. A school hall or theatre space is ideal.
  • A flip chart / whiteboard and writing materials for pupils.
  • A list of pupil names at the beginning of the workshop day, for Andy to use in a freestyle poem.
  • 3 members of staff, or 2 if working with less than 60 pupils at a time. These do not need to be English specialists and their focus will be on encouraging student participation.
  • Transport for the school slam teams to the boot camp day and slam final.



  • A minimum of three schools are required to participate. There is no upper limit to the number of schools taking part. With very large numbers, we run multiple boot camp days and showcase events.
  • A lead member of staff working on behalf of the cluster or trust who will coordinate the initial briefing session.



Please get in contact for Poetry Factor costs. For an exact quote please include the number of schools, the preferred date range, location (which LA), and whether there is to be a theme, such as anti-bullying or transition.



Poetry Factor can be run as a transition project for a secondary school and its feeder schools. The bootcamp day and showcase event both then take place at the secondary school:

We recently booked Andy and Dreadlockalien as part of our literacy transition work. We wanted an event that would engage pupils, especially boys, and build their confidence and enthusiasm for literacy, as well as something that would get them excited about September. The work that Andy and Dreadlockalien did with the pupils did just that!

Even year 6 pupils that were very nervous still stood up and presented, and then felt proud of their achievements afterwards. By the end of the day, all pupils had worked on key literacy skills, performance skills and group work, often without realising that they were working because they were enjoying themselves. Our pupils especially enjoyed beat boxing and rhyme wars!

Andy and Richard were very good with the pupils – they learnt names and were very personable, upbeat, positive and warm. They were particularly good with pupils with special needs. They asked the primary staff at the start to point out any pupils with needs and made a special effort to make them feel included. As role models, they were also perfect choices for encouraging boys to engage in literacy. One boy even said on his feedback sheet that he would say to Andy and Dreadlockalien: “you are awesomely sick dudes. Thanks for showing me that poetry is fun. You guys turned this from a 1 star day to a 5 star day.

I wouldn’t hesitate to book them again.”

– Abi White, Crofton Academy, Wakefield