GIRLS from a leading independent school are to become published poets, as part of a scheme recognising talented youngsters.

Sixteen pupils from Polam Hall School, in Darlington, are having their sonnets - which were written during English lessons last term - published in a new book, The Great Minds of County Durham.

The Young Writers organisation is producing the regional anthology, and the girls have been picked out from more than 35,000 submitted entries.

The year nine pupils will also be entered in a national poetry competition later in the year.

Marie Green, the headteacher at Polam Hall, said: "I am thrilled that 16 of our pupils were chosen and know that they are all proud of their achievements."

The girls who had poems selected were Lucy Watson, Jade Clark, Abby Glass, Jessica Crawford, Lucinda Thompson, Rebecca Harrison, Lucy Downes, Polly Enevoldson, Lydia Burnside-Hughes, Kate Sayer, Vicki Pugh, Emma Shakeshaft, Dominique Forrest, Hannah Dent -Noble, Harriet Bradshaw and Sophie Villiers.