Amelia has the write stuff

Amelia Cliff
Amelia Cliff

The fight to save her school from closure provided the inspiration for Birkenshaw pupil Amelia Cliff when she entered a national writing competition.

And her thoughts on freedom of speech so impressed the judges, that she has been long-listed for the title Young Human Rights Reporter of the Year.

Amelia Cliff

Amelia Cliff

Eleven-year-old Amelia’s entry will now be judged by a panel of editors, authors and industry professionals including editor of Sec-Ed magazine Pete Henshaw, award winning author Bali Rai and Guardian journalist Maya Wolfe-Robinson.

Around 2,500 children took part in the competition, run by Amnesty International UK, the Guardian Teacher Network and SecEd.

Only 10 entries from each category have been selected to go to the judging panel.

Amelia, who chose freedom of speech for her topic, said: “I am astonished to find out that I have been chosen and included in the long list, and I am so proud to be representing my school, BBG Academy.”

Her father, Lee Cliff, added: “Amelia, her mother and I were absolutely thrilled when we heard the news that she had been picked to be put forward for this competition; then to be told she was in the last 10 in the country we were so proud of her, what an achievement!

“Not only is this a proud day for BBG Academy but also a chance to put Birkenshaw on the map, we are keeping everything crossed for Amelia, but recognise she is already a winner in our eyes.”

Amelia’s teacher, Gary Lambert, said: “I am very proud of Amelia’s efforts. Roughly 100 of our year six pupils entered the competition and I applaud all of their achievements as well.”

Emily Drabble, contributing editor for the Guardian Teacher Network, was involved in the longlisting process.

She said: “Amelia used her own experience of fighting against the closure of her school as an example of the vital freedom of speech.

“I liked the way she put her experience in a world context. She obviously really valued the right to express her opinions and battle for a cause and realised that other people in the world were not given this freedom.”

The top three in each category will be unveiled on Wednesday April 3. They will then be invited to an awards ceremony, at Amnesty International UK’s headquarters on April 30, where the winner will be announced.

The winner’s work will be showcased at the organisation’s annual Media Awards in central London in front of an audience of over 400, including the nation’s top media figures, on June 11.

The children were asked to write an article or report of up to 500 words in length on a human rights-related issue or submit a photograph.