Win £500 worth of books for your school with Explore Learning’s exciting children’s story writing competition!

  • Win £500 worth of books for your school with Explore Learning’s exciting children’s story writing competition!

Explore Learning is inviting all schools to take part in its free writing competition for ages 4-14.

It will be judged by Radio DJ, presenter and children’s author Greg James.

While it is currently unable to offer workshops due to Covid restrictions, Explore Learning is continuing to offer the opportunity for one of your pupils to win £500 worth of books for your school, plus a surprise virtual assembly hosted by a very special guest!

Why get involved?

  • A chance to win £500 worth of books for you school
  • Great for inspiring even the most reluctant writers
  • Gives your class an alternate way to express themselves through story writing
  • A chance to share some positives after the challenging year they’ve faced so far

For the 12th year of the competition running, Explore Learning is delighted to announce this year’s theme is ‘Hidden Talents’.

Why ‘Hidden Talents’?

We have all been through a lot this year, but we’ve also all had an opportunity to spend more time together and find out more about ourselves as people; about what makes us magical.

Two thirds (63%) of children uncovered a Hidden Talent since March*

Whether it’s intrinsic or still yet to be discovered, Explore Learning has encouraged belief in the power of possibility for children nationwide for the past 18 years – to discover their creative writing talents and more of what makes them great.

Imagination is exactly what Greg James is keen to see as head judge for this year’s award.

Running from Monday 28 September until the closing date, Wednesday 28 October, entries will be judged based on creativity, rather than spelling, grammar or technical factors, giving children the chance to let their imaginations run wild – whether that’s telling the tale of new talents discovered during lockdown or something completely out of this world.

Greg James said of the awards:

“Hidden Talents is a brilliant theme for this year’s Explore Learning Writers’ Awards. Whenever I meet young readers, I love finding out what secret skills or knowledge they have. Our characters in the Kid Normal series are full of surprises and I’m always amazed at how wild and fearless our reader’s imaginations are too. My advice for this competition is to let your mind run wild, there’s no such thing as an idea that’s too silly or fantastical. Writing is one of the most enjoyable things you can do with your brain, so… have fun!”

How to get involved

Everyone has a talent – anyone can be a writer
All pupils have to do is enter their 500-word story online by the 28 October for a chance to win incredible prizes!

Don’t worry, Explore Learning has got your school covered with all the resources you will need. They’re completely free!

What’s in the pack?

Explore Learning has created this learning resource pack for teachers to go alongside its downloadable ELWA 2020 workshop that you’ll find on our website.

The lesson will cover some fun warmup activities before you focus more on one of the judging criteria – characterisation.

  • Story planning
  • Creating characters
  • Scene setting
  • Creating dilemmas
  • Prerecorded lesson and guide

Download your teacher pack here.

What are the judges looking for?

While spelling, punctuation and grammar are of course important, Explore Learning Writers’ Awards were invented to encourage children from across the UK to be creative.

The ideas is wanting children to hang up those bugbears that come with trying to perfect a piece of writing, and instead let their imagination run wild.

This competition is not looking for the next spelling bee champion, or the most efficient proof-reader, it’s looking for storytelling talent, for a narrative that grips its readers and for an incredible hidden talent to be discovered by your character!

Elements of the story that the competition focuses on:

  • Characterisation
  • Theme
  • Plot
  • Originality
  • Language
  • Enjoyment factor

For more information on the competition visit

*Research was conducted by Opinium on behalf of Explore Learning. This was a poll of 1,000 parents and their children aged 5-15 years. The research was conducted in September 2020.

Pie Corbett