Heidi Ashton, aged 11, from Wells, has been crowned the winner of the Explore Learning Writers’ Awards (ELWAs), which saw thousands of entries submitted from across the country.

Heidi’s 500-word entry, entitled ‘No Longer Hidden’, told from the point of view of an old musical instrument found in the garden shed, was selected by celebrity guest judge radio DJ Greg James as the overall winner of the 2020 ELWAs.

Heidi was surprised by James at her school, Wells Cathedral School’s assembly on Friday, when he appeared as special guest on a video call to crown her winner of the awards.

The theme for this year’s long-running competition, open for children aged 4-14, was ‘Hidden Talents’, and James was seen to be a fitting choice for judge, himself having authored the ‘Kid Normal’ book series about finding out your secret passion.

Winners were chosen based on creativity, rather than spelling, grammar or technical factors, giving children the chance to let their imaginations run wild.  Every child who submitted a story received a certificate celebrating their efforts, signed by Greg James.

James selected a winner each from Key Stages 1, 2 and 3. Heidi was crowned winner of Key Stage 2 and the overall winner of the competition. As overall winner Heidi has won a 13” MacBook Pro, an iPad, Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil, £1000 in experience vouchers to spend on her passion, and £500 worth of books for her school. 

Greg James said:  

"A huge thank you to all the brilliant young writers who took part in the Explore Learning Writers’ Awards for 2020. Congratulations to all of you for setting aside some time to explore your imaginations. More than anything, I hope you enjoyed creating something anew from your brain. In this terrible excuse for a year I got a lot of joy from reading the stories submitted. The decision to pick one overall winner was tough but I’m delighted to announce Heidi Ashton as the champion of this year’s awards. "Heidi’s piece is written from the perspective of an old musical instrument that had been abandoned in a dusty shed. I loved how imaginative it was and clearly Heidi has a flair for telling interesting and hopeful stories. I absolutely loved reading it. It was unique and I was hooked throughout, desperate to learn the fate of the discarded guitar."

Bill Mills, CEO of Explore Learning, said:

“Heidi has done a fantastic job in winning the award for their Key Stage and making it into the top three finalists. Fighting off competition from thousands of other entries across the country is a huge achievement – if writing was a hidden talent for Heidi, it’s certainly not anymore! 

We started the competition to inspire the next generation of young writers, and we have been blown away by the imagination shown in the entries this year. To have your work read and selected by Greg James as one of the finalist entries, is surely the icing on the cake for a budding young author.”

No Longer Hidden

The dust, the dust! I can not take it anymore. Why do I, as innocent as I am, have to be dumped in the back of the shed?  I can't believe it. I am supposed to be used by someone, that’s what I do but yet no one has picked me up for at least a couple of years. I just sit, in my spot, collecting dust and all the debris around me. I should be used. I have a talent. 

My fellow brothers and sisters are the same. Yet I am the only one who cares. The darkness creeps me out. As for the cobwebs, oh the cobwebs! My long neck is aching badly, slumped as I am against cold wooden planks. It’s not good for my body and as for my beautiful varnish - it  is chipping away! I still reminisce about all my success in the past; the sea of hands waving, joyful faces swaying and joining in for the chorus, children on shoulders and music filling the air.  I can’t take it, I just can’t. But I have to. For the sake of my family, I must keep going. All I need is a human to walk in and use me. I know it won’t be long.

Then, to my great joy, daylight approaches! A human is there. I see it! It’s my chance; my time to shine. So I scuttle over a bit, trying to make myself visible. There he is, he is approaching, he is coming! Come on, closer………. YES! I am being picked up! YES! This is my time to show the human’s what I have got, my unbelievable talent! One pluck, just one.

I am being taken up a flight of winding steps which is making my stomach churn. I am already nervous and now this! I need to show the humans what I can do; what I sound like when they strum me. This could reignite my promising career! I need to make a good impression on the humans. Ok, deep breath and……. STRUM!

The sound of myself in the right pair of hands triumphantly echoes through the room we are in and I feel better again, I feel alive again! I am no longer hidden, no longer voiceless. He strums me again and again. He is brilliant!  We sound unbeatable, what a team we will make. A drawn out pause, a heaving chest and loud sigh and then I hear him say, ‘this is it! This is my talent!’ 

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

Jo Moriani added a new event 4 hours

Secure a new non-devolved AEB contract

Overview The last national tender round was in 2017 – all contract extensions have now been activated, so it is now time for re-procurement....

  • Thursday, 11 February 2021 10:00 AM
  • Online

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page