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21st May, 2022

Lockdown lines bring double joy for Solihull Sixth Form College

Ross Crawford 26th Mar, 2021

TWO budding poets at Solihull Sixth Form College have come first and second in the Aim Higher Poetry Competition this year.

Responding to the statement ‘Being close while distant’, the students wrote of their reflections of lockdown and social distancing over the past year of the pandemic.

Sharifa Begum, who won first prize, and Arlo Basu who came second, wrote moving poems about the mental health implications of lockdown. Read their poems in full at

A further seven students were commended for their poems – Liam Barron, Emilia Bruckshaw, Hassana Gul, Angathe Kapitao, Tasmiyah Khanum, Adam Mohammed and Erin Norbury will each receive a certificate for their contributions.

The Poet Laureate for Worcester, Leena Batchelor, judged the competition and provided the following feedback: “This was so hard to judge.

“The depth of feeling and awareness of our world through the words of our youngsters is both touching and humbling.

“The interpretations of the theme ‘Being close while distant’ are interesting and show a maturity of understanding, I found it difficult selecting just 3 from each category.

“These poems are stunning and all the entrants deserve to be proud of themselves.”

Assistant principal Sonia Wood added: “This is wonderful news.

“Well done to Sharifa and Arlo and all the students who took part. there is no doubting what a difficult year it has been since lockdown was first announced in March last year.

“Staff at the College are acutely aware of the mental health implications for staff and students and expressing those feelings of fear and loneliness has been really cathartic for these students.

“Wellbeing is a key priority for the College moving forward.”


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