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'A complete honour': Poet Joseph Coelho meets the Coelho Class

PUBLISHED: 12:37 21 November 2019 | UPDATED: 13:15 21 November 2019

Poet and author Joseph Coelho signing his books for pupils at Gunton Primary Academy. Pictures: Mick Howes

Poet and author Joseph Coelho signing his books for pupils at Gunton Primary Academy. Pictures: Mick Howes

Archant

As an award-winning performance poet his talks and workshops are in great demand across the country.

Poet and author Joseph Coelho with pupils at Gunton Primary Academy. Pictures: Mick HowesPoet and author Joseph Coelho with pupils at Gunton Primary Academy. Pictures: Mick Howes

But children's author, poet and playwright Joseph Coelho had an extra special reason to visit Lowestoft this week.

For he was "finally" able to meet youngsters at Gunton Primary Academy - which has a class named in his honour.

Poet and author Joseph Coelho at Gunton Primary Academy with LKS2 leader Mrs Smith. Pictures: Mick Howes Poet and author Joseph Coelho at Gunton Primary Academy with LKS2 leader Mrs Smith. Pictures: Mick Howes

Excited pupils at the academy in Gainsborough Drive were inspired by Mr Coelho as workshops were held on Wednesday with all of the Key Stage 2 children.

After a whole school assembly was held first thing, the Coelho Class and Shaftesbury Class had the chance to meet the winner of the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) Children's poetry award 2015 - for his first solo collection Werewolf Club Rules - and be part of the workshops.

Poet and author Joseph Coelho with pupils at Gunton Primary Academy. Pictures: Mick HowesPoet and author Joseph Coelho with pupils at Gunton Primary Academy. Pictures: Mick Howes

There was even time to ask questions and have books and his published poems signed during "an amazing day," according to staff.

During the workshops, Mr Coelho engaged the children through performance poetry and introduced them to different poetry forms - with onomatopoeia, similes, metaphors and homophones among those featuring,

Poet and author Joseph Coelho with some of the pupils at Gunton Primary Academy. Pictures: Mick HowesPoet and author Joseph Coelho with some of the pupils at Gunton Primary Academy. Pictures: Mick Howes

LKS2 Leader and Coelho Class teacher Mrs Smith said: "Joseph's visit has provided our children with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity which hopefully will further inspire them to write for the love of it.

"He was able to capture children's attention with his clever use of wordplay.

"The children have, without doubt, been truly inspired by a much admired and successful poet."

With the children keen to quiz Mr Coelho on all aspects of the writing process, giving them good insight into editing and publishing, Literacy Leader Miss Sherlock said: "It's been an amazing day full of enthusiasm, so much so, a lunchtime poetry zone was inundated as children flocked to put their creativity into written words."

In 2016 Mr Coelho was commissioned by FlipSide to write a poem about Olympic/Paralympic values, which he performed on the seafront at the Lowestoft Summer Festival.

Having previously been sent poetry from the Coelho Class, Mr Coelho thanked the children with a special surprise video message,

And of the visit this week, he said: "Its been incredible.

"It all started with a few tweets and it was so lovely to hear that a class at Gunton had been named Coelho Class.

"I have been visiting and working in schools 17 years and this is only one I know - it is a complete honour."

Admitting the youngsters had asked some "great questions," and they had all showed "real enthusiasm" during the workshops, after an "inspirational" day, Mr Coelho Tweeted: "Thank you for having me @GuntonPrimary so lovely to finally meet Coelho Class."

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