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Schools Competition

schools comp

As part of our 150th anniversary celebrations, we have teamed up with children and young people's author Andy Cope for a creative writing competition for primary and secondary schools in Derby and the surrounding areas.

Many years ago Andy adopted a dog called Lara from RSPCA Derby.  She was the inspiration for his best-selling Spy Dog books which have sold a million copies all over the world.  As the UK's first Dr of Happiness, Andy also wrote the best-selling book 'The Art of Being a Brilliant Teenager'.

Our patron, actor, presenter and writer, Sir Tony Robinson, is also getting involved. As well as being very famous as Baldrick in Blackadder and for presenting Time Team, Tony starred in the children's TV series Maid Marian and her Merry Men.  Tony is a multi award winning children’s television writer and, as a children’s author, his books include the history series Tony Robinson’s Weird World of Wonders. 



So, the competition will run in the 2022 Autumn term, and for those of you who like to plan ahead, here's all the information.

Firstly, here's a video in which Andy and Tony tell you all about it: Click here

Secondly, the prizes...

Every school that submits a finalist receives a Thank You video from the animals at RSPCA Derby and gets to name one of our animals

Second placed primary and secondary schools receive a visit and animal welfare session from RSPCA Derby

The winning primary school receives a 1/2 day creative writing workshop with Andy Cope and a separate visit from Derby RSPCA.  Andy is super excited to get the chance to come into the winning primary school and the workshop can be for a year group, a class or all of key stage 2.  It's guaranteed to be a really fun session!

The winning secondary school The winning secondary school will get a half day session based on ‘The Art of Being a Brilliant Teenager’. The workshop is appropriate for any year group from year 7 to 13 and is based on the science of happiness and wellbeing. It’s designed to build confidence, aspiration, resilience and positivity. It also happens to be great fun!

The two winning finalists will have their stories read by our patron, Sir Tony Robinson, and the videos will be shared on our social media and YouTube channel.  The two winning finalists will also be invited to visit RSPCA Derby and learn about our work.


Here's how the competition will work:

  • Sign your school up (link below)
  • You will then have access to all the resources needed to complete the writing challenge, including the challenge itself and a video from Andy Cope setting the challenge...
  • The writing challenges have been created by Andy Cope - there's one for primary schools (max. 150 words) and one for secondary schools (max. 300 words)
  • Complete the writing challenge in school and pick your finalist
  • Submit your finalist and their story online by 4pm on Friday 21st October (details of how to submit your finalist are available once you sign up).

Sign your school up


Can my school take part?
The competition is open to all primary and secondary schools in Derby and the surrounding areas. If you are unsure if your school is within the catchment area, please email us at media@rspcaderby.org.uk

Does it cost to take part?
The competition is completely free of charge but if you want to plan some fun fundraising activities to support us that would be brilliant!

How does each school decide their finalist?
This is up to each school to decide.  The competition can run across the whole school, a year group or however you think works best for your school.

How do I submit our finalist?
You will need to email a scan or photo of your finalist story (including any illustrations), and your chosen name for one of our animals.

How will finalists and winners receive their prizes?
Video links will be emailed to you via the email address you have provided on the signup form. Andy Cope and RSPCA Derby will contact the relevant schools directly to arrange their visits.  All participating schools will receive a photo of the animal they have named.