We know that teachers are often the reason young people submit to The Orwell Youth Prize and we’re so grateful for the work you do.
We want to support you to help your students through the process of writing and submitting an entry for the Prize, in the simplest way possible, to integrate into busy school days.
We use the Orwell Youth Prize as a way of engaging our students’ interest and engagement in the wider world. Like all teenagers, they have an opinion and want to express it… From a pedagogical point of view we have found the feedback students receive on their first drafts to be highly valuable.”
Matt Elgin, Aylesbury High School
Lesson plans and resources
Our five step pathway through the Prize is intended to help you to support your students through the process of creating an entry, with lesson plans and resources for each stage.
Please use the pathway in whatever ways, and in whichever order, is most useful to you as you guide your young people through initial inspiration, on to research, finding a form, planning and drafting, responding to feedback and finally submitting their finished piece.
Take a look at our lesson plans for this year’s resources. You can also access our lesson plans and resources from previous years below.
The Orwell Youth Prize and the curriculum
Some schools also use the Orwell Youth Prize when working on GCSE English Language, supporting students to draft a speech, article or letter on the Orwell Youth Prize theme, which they can then submit to the Prize for feedback from our network of experienced writers.
We also have GCSE Practice Papers for AQA English Language Paper 1 and 2, using the writings of George Orwell as the extracts.
In-person workshops and events
In 2023, the Orwell Youth Prize piloted a new programme, to deliver Regional Hub events for outreach schools in Sunderland and Coventry, through a day of creative writing workshops responding to the Orwell Youth Prize theme ‘Who’s In Control?’ We will be continuing this programme in 2024 and in future years. Find more information about our workshops and Regional Hub events here.
We will also be hosting our Celebration Day at University College London, scheduled for Saturday 6th July 2024.
This is what Matt Elgin, an English teacher at Aylesbury High School, had to say about how his school uses the Orwell Youth Prize:
“The Orwell Youth Prize has been nothing but a joyous gift for our students. Each year, as part of their focus on the skills associated with GCSE English Language, we use the Orwell Youth Prize as a way of engaging our students’ interest and engagement in the wider world. Like all teenagers, they have an opinion and want to express it. The Orwell Youth Prize enables this. We have found the themes are always relevant, that the research and reading that goes alongside investigating the topic becomes one that students actively want to engage in, and that the debates prompted by the Orwell Youth Prize are invariably passionate.
We have also found that it is a perfect opportunity to apply and develop the skills students require for their GCSE English Language. Teaching transactional writing can sometimes feel laborious. The specific audience, together with a “real world” hot topic that fosters strong opinions, by using the Orwell Youth Prize we have found that our students are genuinely interested in the components to what makes effective transactional writing as they are keen to strengthen their argument. We have seen a shift in what they produce in exam responses. The competitive element to the prize only goes to focus our students’ output even further!
From a pedagogical point of view we have found the feedback students receive on their first drafts to be highly valuable. To be able to have your voice listened to, and from someone outside of your immediate circle – beyond the friend, teacher or parent – leads students to see that what they say does matter, really can mean something, and that writing is a process and that’s part of the fun (and frustration!). Because of this, we always see a visible step in the quality of their final piece.
We cannot recommend enough the degree to which all schools and English departments should utilize the opportunity to engage with what the Orwell Youth Prize affords. As we say, it has been nothing but a joyous gift!”
Are you a teacher or workshop leader using The Orwell Youth Prize? We would love to hear from you! You can contact Tabby Hayward, the Youth Prize coordinator directly at email@example.com.
- 2023 lesson plans and activities: Who’s in Control?
- 2022 lesson plans and activities: Coming Up for Air: Writing the Climate Crisis
- 2021 lesson plans and activities: A New Direction: Starting Small
- Creative conversations about the news – in partnership with The Economist Foundation
We’re delighted to be featured on the Twinkl blog, alongside lots of other great competitions, challenges and resources for teachers to get young people reading and writing creatively!