Judges. Joan,Fallon, Georgina Oliver and Liz Parry. R. H.
Young minds alive with imagination
Schoolwork showcase 2023

Young minds alive with imagination

SUR in English received poems, stories and artwork from 14 international schools for its Education and Learning supplement in March 2023

Rachel Haynes

Thursday, 6 April 2023


Encouraging students to be creative and nurturing their artistic and literary talents are priorities for the numerous international schools on the Costa del Sol. Once again, the SUR in English Education and Learning supplement bears witness to their success in the form of our annual schoolwork showcase.

As in previous years, international schools and colleges across the south of Spain were invited to take part by sending in poems, short stories and artwork produced by their students.

The selection submitted by teachers was then passed on to be analysed by the four members of the SUR in English schoolwork showcase panel of judges.

Chaired by former editor of this newspaper Liz Parry, three specialists enjoyed reading and examining the work created by children of ages ranging between four and 18.

Liz was joined this year by journalist and art critic Georgina Oliver, who offered her expert views of the artwork; British novelist and long-term Costa del Sol resident Joan Fallon, who focused on the short stories; and singer-songwriter and SUR in English columnist Peter Edgerton, who studied the poems.


As will become clear over the pages of this special supplement, the children were given two words that had to be included in their poems: ‘mystery’ and ‘spaghetti’, a challenge that the young poets rose to with skill and imagination.

Similarly the schools were given a theme for the short stories: ‘escape’. Joan Fallon said that in general she was impressed by the young writers’ sense of observation. “I thought they were very imaginative in their approach,” she said. She explained that she used two criteria while she was making her selection: the originality of the theme and the level of language used.

Short stories

The showcase is divided into two categories: primary and secondary, although the judges stressed the big difference in the quality of writing between the older and younger primary children, making their decisions harder.

Joan Fallon said she found all of the secondary stories excellent and “creative in their interpretation of what they could escape, or not escape, from”.

For the artwork, as well as in the other categories, the judges stressed that they were not just looking for technique, but also imagination and creativity in the submissions.

For this 2023 SUR in English schoolwork showcase, the newsroom received submissions from 14 internationals schools, whose teachers had already done the hard work of making a pre-selection of three entries per category.

The judges had words of thanks and congratulations for those teachers who once again encouraged their students to contribute to the supplement.

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