Spirited Arts & Poetry

Get involved in the 2020 competition!

COVID-19 UPDATE - June 2020

The 2020 competition is still running, and the deadline for entries to reach us remains the 31 July 2020. We hope to be able judge the competition in August. To enable schools and pupils to still take part, we will be accepting entries sent in by teachers OR individual entries sent by pupils/parents from home.

  • If teachers are able to collate and send in their 10 best entries (as usual), that would be a big help for us!
  • If this isn't possible due to social distancing policies, pupils can submit their own entries but they must include their NAME, AGE, SCHOOL NAME, SCHOOL POSTCODE and have the ARTWORK AND WRITE UP TOGETHER.
  • If pupils are sending their own entries, the limit of 10 per school does not apply.
  • Where possible, teachers OR pupils (whoever is submitting entries) should still complete the online submission form.
  • Entries must reach us before 31st July 2020 to be accepted.
  • Prizes and certificates will be posted to winners in Autumn. All other entrants with valid email addresses provided will be emailed updates and a digital copy of a certificate that can be printed.

Join hundreds of schools from around the world taking part in this year's Spirited Arts competition! We welcome entries in (almost!) any artform your pupils can think of, including:

  • Art (painting, drawing, sketching etc)
  • Poetry
  • Photography
  • Dance
  • Music
  • Drama
  • Sculpture

Winning entries will provide a good response to one of the 5 themes, and judges will be asking is it original? Is it well-crafted? And (most importantly!) is it excellent RE?

Pupils can enter individually, in pairs or groups, or as whole class, year or school entries. We have also been pleased to receive entries from whole community groups on previous years.

The annual competition starts at the beginning of every school year and runs through the spring and summer terms. All entries must be received before 31 July 2020. To enable teachers to incorporate the art competition into their RE lessons, many schools have an ‘Spirited Arts’ unit of work, or a special learning RE/arts week.

Many schools host their own Spirited Arts competition and send their 10 winning entries in to our international competition. What a great way to engage all your teachers and pupils and raise the profile of RE in your school!


We have some exciting new themes for you and your pupils for the 2020 competition! From climate change in RE to holy words and places of worship, there is something for everyone!

God’s good earth?

Are we spoiling God’s good earth? Should we be thankful for it? Can we save it in time from the threats of climate change? The beauty of the earth is celebrated in many religions, but the human spoiling of the earth is a danger and a coming crisis.

In this theme, learners are invited to explore ideas and beliefs about the natural world, human responsibility for the earth and ways of praying about climate justice. Great work will show some originality: the globe in God’s hands won’t win!


What inspired you? A song? A quote? Another person’s life? A place?

Religion offers people inspiration to live. Sometimes an inspirational life, a person’s example, a text or a piece of music crystallizes our inspiration. In this theme, you are invited to identify what inspired you from a religion – it doesn’t have to be your own faith, as inspiration tends to spill over the edges of religions.

Explain through your art and text what connects your inspiration to spiritual or religious life.

Holy Words!

What words are holy for you? Select a saying or story you really love about peace, faith, unity, prayer or some other religious theme. Incorporate your holy words into your design or art and express the value and meaning of the words you have chosen in the images and art that you make.

This theme has a close connection to the study of holy books and teaching from 2 or more different scriptures can be used, so get reading from the Torah and the Gospel, the Qur’an and the Gita, the Dhammapada or the Guru Granth Sahib. And add some words from a non-religious source of wisdom too if you like.

Where is God?

Atheists, agnostics and believers in God might all respond to this by expressing their sense of the search for God or finding God. Where’s God? In your heart, in prayer, in the temple or the universe? Or is she hiding? Is he not there at all? Looking for God, searching for him or her, matters: but how are we doing in finding God? Would you search with google or a ‘God detector’? Is God on Instagram or WhatsApp? Can God be found by prayer or by looking among the world’s suffering people?

This popular Spirited Arts & Poetry theme produces great work where pupils use ideas from religions clearly: The Jewish Psalms 42 and 43 are where it starts.

Picturing Faith (BRAND NEW Photography section)

This is an innovation for our Spirited Arts competition. Pupils are invited to select up to 4 photographs from a visit to a place of worship (or another trip connected to RE) – preferably those taken by themselves, and give a brief commentary on the pictures to say what was great and what they learned from their visits. Comments about the emotions and the purpose of the place, not just ‘labels and captions’ are best. Pupils may like to provide their commentary in the form of a poem.

We suggest they are sent in a PPT presentation (or similar). If you have another way of responding to the theme ‘Picturing Faith’ then that is fine, please do send it in!

Click here to download the list of themes and full competition details.

Who can enter?

We welcome entries from pupils of all abilities and any school type, from age 3 right up to age 19. We can only accept 10 entries per school – so be sure to whittle them down to your 10 best.

Prizes & judging

Judging by RE Today Advisers and students, takes place in August and winners are announced in the new academic year.

We aim to award 5 prizes for each theme (25 in total) but may award more if we have very strong entries for some themes. Entries are split into Key Stages for judging, and we hope to have at least one winner per key stage where possible.

Prizes are typically:

  • Individual pupil winners - £20 Amazon voucher
  • Paired winners - £10 Amazon voucher each
  • Group/Class/Year/School winners – Prizes decided on a case by case basis, but are often a £50-£100 voucher or cheque for the school to choose appropriate prizes.

All schools whose pupil(s) produce winning work will also receive a voucher to spend on NATRE membership or RE Today resources/training.

How to enter

There are lots of ways to run the competition in your school (see the supporting resources and ideas section for inspiration!). You need to select your 10 best entries to send in. You can choose a single theme for pupils to work on, or allow them to respond to any of the 5 themes. Your 10 entries do not all need to be from the same theme.

Entries should consist of a piece of art, be it physical, literal or using technology (almost all mediums are welcome) and a corresponding write up of no more than 400 words. The write up should support the main piece in responding to the theme and showcase the brilliant RE your pupils are doing. The commentary is a large element of judging, and authentic commentaries demonstrating pupil knowledge and interpretation always rank highly.

All entries being sent to us need to be registered through our online submission form. This builds a list of all the school and pupil information we need to run the competition smoothly and send out prizes and certificates.

If your pupils have produced a piece or work larger than A3 (including sculptures) please send us some high-quality photographs of the work, as we are unable to accommodate large entries at our office.

Musical, dance and drama entries can be sent via email, or sent on a USB or CD.

You can send your entries by:

When you complete the online submission form, an address label including your unique reference will be available to print.

Send your entries to:

Spirited Arts – NATRE
5-6 Imperial Court
12 Sovereign Road
B30 3FH

Please make sure your reference number is on the envelope and all pieces of artwork and the supporting commentaries.

Write ups should be attached to the corresponding artwork (ideally stapled or glued to the reverse) as it is very difficult for us to match them up ourselves.

Each piece of work should be labelled with the pupil name, age, theme and school details.

Entries can be sent digitally to competition@natre.org.uk – this is particularly useful for digital work such as videos or pieces of music.

Please ensure all file names have the pupil name, age and theme they are entering. For example:

John Smith – age 7 – Where is God

As we receive 1000’s of entries it is very difficult to work with files that are not named with these details.

Click here to download full competition details, including an entry checklist.

Supporting resources & ideas

Ideas for running the competition in your school:

  • Many schools build the competition into a scheme/unit of work, allowing time to develop knowledge and ideas around a theme before completing the unit by creating their entries
  • Other schools have run a RE week or day in their school that concludes with creating work for the competition
  • The competition can be used as a fun end of term activity, or homework project
  • Use the competition as a great way to raise the profile of RE in your school! Make displays of your pupil’s work, and consider asking other members of teaching staff, SLT or your head teacher to help do the preliminary judging when choosing your best 10 entries to send in
  • Some schools run exhibitions of all their pupils work and open them to parents and the wider community. Some even have attendees select the best 10 entries

Free resources:

Now in its 17th year, Spirited Arts has attracted over 340,000 participants (averaging 20,000 per year!) since 2004, with 2,000 entries being sent in to NATRE each year for judging. Hundreds of UK schools get involved, and we get entries coming from as far a-field as Hong Kong, Australia, Thailand and Bahrain.

We hope you’re excited to be involved this year! We are looking forward to another year of wonderful, inspirational and unique work from your pupils.

Download the full Spirited Arts 2020 themes and competition details.

Please get in contact if you have further questions by emailing competition@natre.org.uk.

Register your best 10 entries using the online form and then send them in to us!

Find out how NATRE's Spirited Arts competition can be used to invigorate creative RE in you classroom. Lat Blaylock provides an hour long session which you can use to inspire your pupils ahead of setting them the task to think deeper and be creative.