Canal literacy competition - the winners!

A group of schoolchildren from Walsall have enjoyed a special boat trip on Birmingham’s world famous canals after winning the experience in a Canal Literacy Competition run by the Canal & River Trust.

Canal literacy competition
Canal literacy competition - winners

Year 5 from St Joseph’s RC Primary School were taken on a boat trip around the canals in central Birmingham after 10 year old Tiana's poem ‘I can see the canal rushing along’ was chosen as one of the joint winners in the competition.

The other winners were Freya and Cassie from Year 6 at Millfield Primary School. Their poem ‘A Canal’ was chosen as a joint winner and won their school some vouchers to fill their new learning boat with books.

The Canal Literacy Competition, run by the Canal & River Trust’s ‘Explorers’ education programme with funding from the Walsall Active Citizens Fund, was aimed at engaging the children with their local environment and bringing them together to explore their local canals.

As part of the competition the children visited their local stretch of the Walsall Canal and compiled a list of words describing what they could see, hear and touch. They were then set the challenge of writing a poem or short story using these words.

Sarah Bicknell, education coordinator for the Canal & River Trust, said; “We had some amazing entries in our Canal Literacy Competition and it was fascinating to see the way the children saw their local canals differently.

“For many of the children from St Joseph’s it was the first time that they had stepped on board a boat so hopefully the trip will last long in their memories. We also hope the children from Millfield Primary School enjoy the books in their fantastic new learning boat.

“Our waterways have a really important part to play in daily life, particularly here in the West Midlands where they’re on everyone’s doorsteps, and so it’s vital that we engage children with their local canals. We hope they’ll be inspired by taking part in the competition and see their local canal in a whole new light."

I can see the canal rushing along – Tiana, St Joseph’s RC Primary School

I can see the canal rushing along, leaves are as excited as a song,

Trees are cooling down,

And rocks are drowning in the canal,

Frogs are frowning,

But, not birds, birds are as happy as a fern.

I can see the canal all upset,

Antique shops are boring,

Like a fish,

Children are having a dish,

Butterflies are swings

Also, caterpillars go boom,

Ready to cocoon,

Finally we are out of that room.

I can see the canal all full,

Bright blue eyes watching us from far away,

The locks are getting tired,

Too much stretching,

Meanwhile, pinecones were complaining that there skin itches,

Clouds are as white as snow.

I can see the canal full of colour,

I can see a barge,

Which was so large,

Squirrels flew from tree to tree,

And there orange eyes shone like the furthest star in the galaxy,

Moss were upset by there boss.

I can see the canal bursting with laughter,

The tree is a dancer,


The last drop of water came down.


A Canal – by Freya and Cassie from Millfield Primary School

As tadpole is to frog, as

Camera is to photographer, as oar is to kayaker, as

Animal is to nature, as mother is to family, as dog is to dog walker, as

Noise is to children, as grass is to bank, as petal is to lily, as feather is to moorhen, as

Artist is to landscape, as ripple is to water, as sandwich is to picnic, as cygnet is to swan, as birds are to twitchers, as

Line is to fisherman, as brother is to sister, as silence is to tranquillity, as buzz is to bee, as wheel is to bike, so peace is to our canal.