The winners of the House Writing competition have been announced, and from a wide field of outstanding entries the overall winner is Bemrose House.

The competition, which is split in to two categories for Lower School (Years 7 to 9) and Upper School (Years 10 to 13), showcases the creative writing talents of our pupils. Entrants are required to base their writing upon a particular task.

This year, Lower School were asked to write a persuasive piece to explain why, with limited spaces for the Tanzania trip, they should be chosen. The winner was Year 8 pupil Matthew Jackson of Bemrose House.

The Upper School task was to write an imaginative account of being homeless in Derby. The winner was Year 11 pupil Daniel Diaz-Blanco of Blackton House.

The entries were judged by two of Derby Grammar School’s retired English teachers, Carol Bramall and Jane Rowe.

Carol judged the Upper School competition and said: “Daniel’s winning entry used a wide range of really inventive imagery that effectively conveyed the misery of homelessness without resorting to cliché. He showed a sensitivity well beyond his years and personal experience.”

Jane judged the Lower School competition. She said: “Matthew’s entry was chosen as the winner because it was an outstanding piece of writing that was interesting, thought provoking and very enjoyable to read.”

As well as the winners in each category, points were awarded for second and third place, and a number of highly commended places. This means the final standings for the four Houses were:

1st – Bemrose
2nd – Blackton
3rd – Derby
4th – Atkinson

Individual placings

Category Place Pupil
Lower School First Matthew Jackson (Bemrose)
Second James H (Atkinson)
Third Adam Gentles (Derby)
Highly Commended Alfie Carter (Atkinson)
Matthew Thompson (Atkinson)
Noah O’Connell (Atkinson)
Andreas Serghi (Bemrose)
William Lim (Bemrose)
William Flear (Bemrose)
Sebastian Reed (Blackton)
Sajid Oleolo (Blackton)
Laurie Kirk (Blackton)
Adrian Diaz-Blanco (Blackton)
Aatamvir Atwal (Derby)
Amrit Rangi (Derby)
Caleb Greer (Derby)
Upper School First Daniel Diaz-Blanco (Blackton)
Second Georgina Millband (Bemrose)
Third Jack Austin (Derby)
Highly Commended Jonathan Hilliam (Atkinson)
Huzzy Muhammad (Atkinson)
Ellie Weaver (Bemrose)
Saevuk Atwal (Bemrose)
Tom Cochrane (Bemrose)
Arvin Suddhi (Blackton)
Ben Lawley (Blackton)
Amogha Ramasharan (Blackton)
William Dunning (Blackton)
Freya Lockley (Derby)
Teja Saladi (Derby)
Sam C (Derby)


The winning entries

Daniel Diaz-Blanco – Upper School winner: “Write an imaginative account of being homeless in Derby”

The unsettling, derelict building lurks eerily behind me, peering over my shoulder to catch a glimpse of my scraps of sustenance. I curl further into myself, cradling my sole protector from starvation, the stale leftovers of someone’s sandwich thrown at me in spite.

I have become a stranger to cleanliness and disgust, in order to obtain the energy. To live I have scrounged Derby like a rodent. Unwanted, shamed and ignored I trek through each and every incessant day, yet cannot catch up with the rest of society.

This ancient building and I have been left to rot in a forgotten corner of the city, comfort and happiness a distant memory. A harsh whistling of the wind through the shattered windows startles me and I look up from my crumbs to the street ahead. The warm glow of shops taunt and lure me out of the courtyard of the building, deceivingly inviting me to take refuge from the razor like forces of nature.

However, a person like me is not welcome anywhere and entrance always leads to a swift expulsion. Defeated, I slump down onto the wet pavement and begin begging. The rich man, elevated by wealth, refuses to spare a glance at us idle creatures, while the poor man looks up at the polluted sky, searching for opportunity, too preoccupied and frightened to look down at what he may become.

I lay out my decaying mat, lie down, close my eyes and hope I awake to another morning.


Matthew Jackson – Lower School winner: “There are limited spaces for the Tanzania trip and you would really like to go. Explain why you should be chosen”.

I believe that I should be chosen for the Tanzania trip because I think I can make a difference and improve my understanding of how lucky we are.

It isn’t every day that you can make a real difference. This trip provides an incredible opportunity to prove that I am capable and willing to instigate change for good. So why me?

Firstly, I have the right mentality to get something out of this trip. This trip will impact the way I think about myself and others less fortunate than ourselves. Secondly, this trip will provide an insight in to the cultural aspect of Tanzania, which is invaluable, being used to living in such a commercialised and developed society.

Furthermore, the opportunity to climb Mount Kilimanjaro or go on safari only comes once in a lifetime. These experiences will improve my understanding of self-achievement and co-operation with others.

Finally, a visit to Tanzania will allow me to gain teaching and construction skills when we are teaching pupils or building a new block at Gedeli B. Most of all however, the experience of connecting with other children will be extremely rewarding because it allows me to understand how our work in Tanzania is making a real difference to the way people there live their lives.

I hope that you consider me for a place on the trip as it will benefit myself and others immensely.

Derby Grammar School - House Writing Competition Winners 2019
Daniel Diaz-Blanco and Matthew Jackson, winners of House Writing competition for Upper and Lower School.