Schools Writing Competition 2020



The Society holds a Schools Writing Competition every two years. The theme for the 2020 competition was 'Nature, Environment and Conservation, with entrants to choose one of these titles: ‘The World is Waking Up’ or ‘The Trees are Talking’.


After the delays of Covid-19 and lockdowns, we are delighted to publish at last the winning entries below. It is regretted that the Society is unable to give the actual names of the winners for privacy reasons. In addition to the winner's prize, the school to which they belong is also awarded £500.



2020 Competition Results


Winner, £100

Lady Eleanor Holles School, London

Runner-up, £50

Worth School, Turners Hill, West Sussex

Runner-up, £50

Bancroft's School, Woodford Green, Essex



2020 Winning Essay



Lady Eleanor Holles School, London


'The World is Waking Up'


Amidst this global pandemic, termed COVID-19,

Our cities are deserted, no person can be seen.

Millions have become infected, vast numbers have lost a life,

Whilst others are suddenly breathless, with fever, pain and strife.


Schools are all closed down, every event is now postponed,

Church services are cancelled, people’s businesses dis-owned.

Populations stay at home, in a police-enforced lockdown,

The economy’s in trouble, and world stocks are hurtling down


Travel bans prevent transit across the entire EU,

Country borders are all sealed; people don’t know what to do.

Airports have shut their doors, aeroplanes are on the ground,

Pollution’s at a minimum; climate change does not abound.


Panic-buyers stockpile mountains of supermarket food,

Pasta, tins and cereal, to cope with solitude.

Hand-soap and toilet paper are no longer in the store,

Baked beans and milk are rationed, please don’t order more!


Our loved ones lie deserted, in hospitals far away,

Engulfed with loneliness as their strength fades every day,

Prince Charles and Boris Johnson, our greatest and our good,

Afflicted by this virus; so poorly understood.


NHS staff work hard; short of PPE supplies,

We donate our safety goggles and make visors for their eyes,

We clap and cheer on Thursdays at twenty-hundred hours,

To reward them for their bravery and courageous superpowers.


Milkmen are back in business, Amazon Prime is flying high,

Supermarkets have priority shopping, on digital platforms we rely.

FaceTime, Zoom and Skype, are thriving, each and every day,

Delivering business and exercise in an intriguing, novel way.


Our elderly are anxious, so lonely and depressed,

They do not use technology, so cannot receive a text,

We ensure they have their shopping, a newspaper and a chat,

And a tin of Chum or Felix for their beloved dog or cat.


The grass is green and verdant, serene silence fills the air,

Beneath the shimmering sunshine, blossoming flowers; a Spring fanfare,

Nature flourishes supremely, amidst melodious sweet birdsong,

Oblivious to this nightmare; perhaps there’s nothing wrong?


Families spend time together, play games, paint art, have fun,

Appreciating each other, precious moments, together as one,

No crazy hustle-bustle; unusually, blissfully free,

A chance to indulge in pastimes, to listen, talk or be.


And as people mourn their losses, the errors of their ways,

Their mindless, heartless attitudes, their ignorant malaise,

They appreciate Earth’s beauty as they never did before,

They resolve to make new choices and help others so much more.


They work hard to make a difference, to end this invisible war,

To serve others and do their duty, to help now and evermore,

To care for vulnerable neighbours, at home and far afield,

To be united as one race, long after their world is healed.


Post lockdown, the world is waking up to a bold and brave new state,

Humans will bow down to nature, and accept their subservient fate.

COVID-19 will reside in history, selfless compassion will rise once more,

Mankind will protect its master, Planet Earth; like never before.


The trees will be our masters, the stars our precious guides,

The mountains our stability, the oceans our mood and tides.

The day and night our light and dark, the flowers our joy and pleasure,

The world is waking up to be our most precious, valued treasure.






2020 Runner-up



Worth School, Turners Hill, West Sussex


'The Trees are Talking'


Come into the forest with me 

The majestic trees stand tall and proud.

Listen!  The trees are talking to us.

Can you hear them? 




The trees are waking up, we hear them murmur in the breeze.

Their new leaves wave at us like hundreds of tiny hands

Welcoming us to this natural wonder.

Above us the canopy is an orchestra of birdsong.

At our feet jubilant shoots remind us of the magnificence of nature.

We are surrounded by bursting buds reminding us of new beginnings. 

Listen! The trees are joyfully announcing Spring is here!

Can you hear them?



The spectacular trees are reaching up to the vibrant sky.                                   

Their emerald leaves shine like jewels in the bright sun.

The forest is alive with creatures that the trees nurture.

We hear the birds sing their sweet melody and the woodpeckers busy at work.

We see a carpet of beautiful blue bluebells beneath our feet

We smell a rainbow of fragrance.

Listen! The trees are shouting out, celebrating the beauty of nature.  

Can you hear them?




The trees are crowned with leaves golden in the glowing sun.

They are royal protectors to all that live in the forest.

Above us the canopy is an explosion of fireworks, 

Nature's most spectacular display.

The leaves fall elegantly in the singing wind.

Under our feet a rustling carpet of golden and amber leaves.

Listen! The trees are reminding us of the wonders of nature.

Can you hear them?



The towering trees stand like guardians protecting the natural world.

They are peacefully watching us as we wander beneath them.

In the moonlight frost shimmers and sparkles like precious diamonds.

The trees are enchanting as their branches glisten silver like stardust.

We feel as if we have entered a magical world.

They bring light to the darkness of winter.

Listen! The trees are showing us how precious nature is.

Can you hear them?


The Seasons End


The trees lie lifeless on their sides.

Their roots desperately twisted, bent, dead and decaying

Reaching out to us asking why.

Their withered, brittle branches tangled and rotting.

The lines on their trunks speak of years of happy life and of wisdom destroyed.

All we see are the loud, noisy, polluted trucks of the building site.

Listen!  The trees are talking to us – even through death.

Their eerie silence is a warning.

Can you help them?


(The writer adds: 'I wrote this poem in response to how many woodlands are being destroyed in the UK for building projects. It makes me feel very sad to see these beautiful woodlands vanish from our countryside.')







2020 Runner-up



Bancroft's School, Woodford Green, Essex


'The World is Waking Up'


After years of war and suffering the world is waking up and the end seems to be in sight and yet I know that I will not forget. I know that every time I close my eyes the memories will be there and they will never let me forget what I have seen or what I have heard. Even now, years later, it haunts me.


“Why?” I ask no one in particular, “Why did you leave me?” I wish I could cry but I cannot; instead I am stuck feeling this agonizing pain inside of me. I hear gunshots, screaming and bombs dropping. I see desperate mothers, children crying and the carnage that a war can cause. 


I am here again after many years and I cannot help but lose myself in the memories yet again. But now a hand creeps onto my shoulder and squeezes it comfortingly. “I have a new family now,” I tell myself, staring at the place my mother, father and brother’s blood once stained.


The abominable thing we call war can end the lives of thousands of people and ruin so many more, and all for what? What does it do? Why are people so willing to sacrifice so many lives just to gain more power? If only they knew how it felt to be someone whose entire life is going to be thrown into chaos simply because of someone else’s greed.


I hope that my children will never experience the feeling that I had to, the indescribable pain so many other families in our village did. I wonder if any of my friends managed to survive like I did. Sadly, I know this is just a foolish hope. It was just by pure chance that I survived . . . that I went out early in the morning to get some flowers for my mother’s birthday.


Sometimes I wished that I hadn’t journeyed to the meadow – that I had been there when it happened. Sometimes I wished that I had died alongside what I thought of as my whole world.


Should you ever want to imagine what left me so scarred that I can barely bring myself to come to my former home even now, then think about a child of 8 watching his happy care-free life being torn away from him. Imagine fire burning through the place you called home and, every time it threatened to stop, another bomb dropping. Then imagine running down and seeing the people who raised you and the people who played with you in endless sleep. And imagine having to run, instead of crying and holding them as you so desperately want to.


But now I see the flowers opening themselves up to the sun. They haven’t bloomed in so long I have forgotten what beauty looked like. Maybe there is hope after all. I will never forget; however, I may be able to move on from what has happened and learn to accept it.