Top poet to perform for Welsh school support staff

Award-winning poet, John Agard. Photo credit: Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency

All school support staff in Wales are being offered the opportunity to watch a special virtual performance from one of Britain’s best-loved poets, John Agard, this Saturday (27 March).

The former BBC poet in residence, headlines a unique event focused on helping school support staff bring creativity into the classroom through film and poetry and play with building bricks.

The event has been organised by UNISON learning officers backed by the Welsh government-funded, Wales Union Learning Fund.

Officers from the public services trade union, have provided online professional development opportunities – including free Covid-19 training – to thousands of workers across Wales during the pandemic.

UNISON’s event is aimed at teaching assistants who wish to transform classroom activities and engage pupils who find traditional learning more difficult, including autistic children.

Richard Speight, UNISON Cymru Wales learning organiser said,

“School support staff have worked wonders throughout the pandemic, helping run hubs for the children of key workers and organising learning from home.

“School support staff tell UNISON they want more professional development and training and UNISON learning team has been able to design and deliver courses to match their needs.

“Poetry and performance art can really engage young minds and make them think and smile. Saturday’s training event is a fantastic opportunity to share good educational practice and innovation and we’d like to encourage all school staff to participate.”

Notes to editors

  • The live virtual free event for school support staff takes place on Saturday 27 March from 10am.
  • You can sign up to the event here
  • Poet John Agard will headline the event alongside G2G Communities and IntoFilm Cymru
  • The work of John Agard, who has won the Queen’s Gold Medal for poetry and was the BBC’s Poet in Residence, features in the National Curriculum and his performance will be the centrepiece of the event, which will also be live broadcast on the UNISON Cymru Wales Learning Facebook page.
  • G2G Communities, a family learning social enterprise based in Rhyl, Denbighshire, which was the first accredited Lego Innovation Studio in the UK, will demonstrate some of the ways that bricks and other toys can be used across the curriculum to help children to learn in a hands-on way, particularly through stop-motion animation.
  • IntoFilm Cymru supports schools across Wales to shape their lessons around the family movies we all know and love. They will highlight their work with autistic children
  • UNISON Cymru Wales is the largest trade union in Wales, representing almost 100,000 workers delivering public services. UNISON Cymru Wales’ Lifelong Learning work is supported by the Welsh Government’s Wales Union Learning Fund (WULF) and has supported over 2,000 workers to access free webinars and e-learning courses over throughout the pandemic.


Alastair Gittins, UNISON Cymru Wales press officer on 07816 53 83 97