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‘I’m nae dain’ that’

Few people would react positively to being told to write their innermost thoughts and then read them aloud on stage in front of an audience. But for pupils who have found school an alienating experience, the prospect can seem excruciating. Kudos, then, for one poetry initiative that is winning over its reluctant participants – and showing the transformative power of the arts, writes Henry Hepburn

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To the untrained eye, there’s not much energy in this S3 class. One boy is examining his fingers, as he pokes them through holes in the back of his chair while he rocks back and forwards on its legs. A girl, tall and self-conscious, wanders aimlessly on her own, passing another boy who didn’t want to come here at all. He sits by the exit door, with his coat pulled up around his face, suspicious of any exhortation to take part and ready to leave at a moment’s notice.

On the stage are four boys who seem distracted from the task in hand, and instead exchange the sort of knowing jibes that pass ...

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