The Newest School Makar 2018/19

Back in June, Comely Park School held their annual Leavers’ Assembly, and as ever it was full of brilliant acting, singing and celebration of the final year pupils. I was invited to announce the new School Makar, who had been specially chosen by unanimous acclaim.

I arrived at school a little early, and was asked to wait near the entrance until everyone had filed into the assembly hall. While I was waiting, a couple arrived, having been told that their daughter was to receive an award. Their presence was meant to be top secret, as their daughter didn’t know they were coming. We had a nice chat, and wondered if perhaps we were all gathered for the same reason…

Once the couple had been snuck into the back of the hall and were hidden behind other guests, I was able to take my seat and wait for the Big Moment. We watched the Leavers’ excellent show, and then came the time for awards. When I announced that this year’s Comely Park School Makar would be Susie Hoggan, her parents leapt out of their hiding place to surprise her! They were thrilled that she had been chosen, and she was equally surprised and delighted.

She now has her own page in this section, called Susie’s poems. I look forward to adding more of her work as the year goes by. Congratulations, Susie!


The Big Announcement

At last, I can share the big secret of who will be Comely Park Primary’s Wee Makar this coming year. After much deliberation over the very impressive entries by our six finalists, I decided that the winner should be Olivia!

Wee Makar Olivia2

After making the announcement, I presented Olivia with a special Wee Makar notebook and pen, and the school gave her the plaque you can see above. I’m sure she will be a great Wee Makar and I look forward to setting up an Olivia’s Poems page right here on the Patron of Reading section of the blog.

Congratulations to all the finalists, and many thanks to Comely Park Primary for inviting me to the Leavers’ Assembly. It was a brilliant event!

Comely Park Wee Makar Competition 2017

It’s that time of year again – time to choose a new School Makar to chronicle in verse all the exciting and important events happening at the school throughout the coming year. As Patron of Reading, I have been given the challenging task of choosing a winner from the six very talented finalists. The competition involved writing a Poem, a Report and/or a Big Idea for encouraging reading and writing. Several of the finalists did all three, which was very impressive!

The winner of this year’s competition will be announced at the Leavers’ Assembly on 29 June, but in the meantime I would like to share the six finalists’ poems to show you just how difficult my decision was! The poems were inspired by exciting author visits and school trips, thoughts about school life and ideas for encouraging a love of reading. So, without further ado, I present them to you here:

Lari Don poem

Life at School poem

Inspiration poem

Our Dynamic Earth poem

Comely Park poem

The Quest poem


The New School Makar 2015/16

And the winner is... Melissa Russell!

And the winner is… Melissa Russell!

As Melissa’s time as School Makar draws to a close, you can visit her own dedicated page on this blog to read all the poems she has written for the school. Click HERE or go to Melissa’s poems on the Patron of Reading pages above.

At last I am able to announce that the new School Makar of Comely Park Primary is Melissa Russell, whose poem about the Kelpies most impressed the judges. As you can see it was a very difficult decision because Comely Park has so many talented poets! I am sure Melissa will do the school proud with her poems, and these will feature on this blog and also in the school newsletter. Congratulations to all who entered the competition, and good luck in your new role, Melissa!

Comely Park Primary’s first School Makar, Ruby Martyn, will soon be moving on to senior school, so a new poetry competition has been held among the Primary 5s to find the next pupil to hold this prestigious role. There were lots of excellent entries, and these were whittled down to four finalists. On my recent visit to Comely Park, Ruby and I sat down to consider the final four and decide who should become the next School Makar. The decision was a tough one, but we made our final choice. The winner will be announced at the P7 Leavers’ Assembly on 25 June. Watch this space for the big announcement (with photos)!

Just to whet your appetite, I will post the top four entries in the competition. The pupils were asked to write a poem about a striking landmark or significant feature in Falkirk. Two of the most popular subjects were the Falkirk Wheel, an impressive piece of Scots engineering, and the towering Kelpies, a sculpture of two horses’ heads by Andy  Scott. Here are the four outstanding poems in the School Makar competition:

©Alex Susan Feighan 2015

©Alex Susan Feighan 2015

©Jay Russell 2015

©Jay Russell 2015

©Melissa Russell 2015

©Melissa Russell 2015

©Zoe Campbell 2015

©Zoe Campbell 2015

As you can see, the four finalists are very accomplished poets, so the decision was a difficult one! The winner will be announced very soon, but all the pupils who entered the competition deserve congratulations for their excellent work!

One of my first duties as Patron of Reading for Comely Park Primary in Falkirk will be to announce the name of the new school Makar for the coming year. This is an honorary post given to an outstanding poet in the school, and it was first established last year by Scotland’s national Makar Liz Lochhead.

Liz Lochhead with primary pupils at a Scottish Book Trust author event celebrating the work of Robert Burns. Photo ©Chris James 2012

Liz Lochhead with primary pupils at a Scottish Book Trust author event celebrating the work of Robert Burns. Photo ©Chris James 2012

The winning pupil will write poetry to highlight various school events and activities throughout the coming year, and his or her work will be published in the school newsletter and on the school website.

I am really looking forward to presenting the new School Makar with this important honour! I will make the announcement on 27 June right here on this blog, and I plan to publish all the new Makar’s poems as well, so watch this space!

Thursday, 27 June 2013


Announcing the results of this year’s competition to become Comely Park School Makar! There were lots of great entries, all using my own poem about Sports Day as a model, and two in particular stood out from the rest. I would like to share two poems with you: the winner and the runner-up. First, an acrostic poem by Willow in P6/8, deserves special commendation:

Willow's poem

I thought this very cleverly took the letters in SPORTS DAY and created an exciting account of the competition and the feelings of all those pupils working hard to win! Congratulations to Willow on this excellent effort!

And now to the winner! I was very impressed by the talents of our winning poet, whose Sports Day poem really captured the atmosphere of the event and also included great rhythm, imagery and rhyme. Congratulations to Ruby in P5/1 whose winning poem makes her next year’s School Makar!

Ruby's poem

It was a great pleasure to make the big announcement at Assembly today, and to present Ruby with a purple notebook and pen with which she can create special poems to commemorate school events. I look forward to publishing more of Ruby’s poems here once the new term begins in August. This was a brilliant start to my role as Patron of Reading for Comely Park School. Thanks again for such a lovely welcome today, and I look forward to lots of great book-related fun we will have in future!

Ruby accepts her purple notebook and pen as the new School Makar. Her engraved medal will follow soon!

Ruby accepts her purple notebook and pen as the new School Makar.
Her engraved medal will follow soon!