Frequently Asked Questions

Looking for some help? You've come to the right place. If your question isn't answered below, you can get in touch via the email address


When will 500 WORDS return?

500 WORDS returns in 2015 - keep an eye on our website at for the latest news!

500 WORDS is a story writing competition for children.

You need to be between 5 and 13 years-old on the 29th May 2015 and full time residents of the UK.

To enter you need to write an original story that is no more than 500 words long.

Once you're written your story, then you can enter your story using the entry form on the 500 WORDS website.

Entry opens on Monday 19th January 2015 at 06:30. Entry closes on Thursday 26th February 2015 at 19:00. Submissions received outside of this timeframe will not be considered, so please do not wait until the last minute to upload your entry.

Prizes will be awarded to the 3 finalists in each age category: the 2 Gold winners will win Chris Evans' height in books (6.2") and 500 books each for their school. The 2 Silver winners will win Alex Jones' height in books (5.6"). The 2 Bronze winners will win their own height in books.

There are two age groups in the 500 WORDS 2015 competition - one for children aged 10-13, and another for children aged 5-9.

Entry opens on Monday 19th January 2015 at 06:30. Entry closes on Thursday 26th February 2015 at 19:00. Submissions received outside of this timeframe will not be considered, so please do not wait until the last minute to upload your entry.

The first round of judging will be done by volunteer teachers and librarians across the UK.

The highest scoring entries will be collated and a judging panel will to produce a shortlist of the top 50 entries comprising the top 25 entries from each of the two age categories.

The Top 50 stories will be announced on 9th May 2015.

You can only enter one story - and it has to be all your own work.

If you enter more than one story then we'll only consider the first submission as part of the competition.

All stories should be submitted in English.

No we need an adult to approve the entry and agree to these Terms and Conditions (including the BBC’s use of the story submitted and the fictional nature of the story) on behalf of the entrant, by way of a check-box in the online form.

The adult could be the child’s parent, guardian or teacher. The adult must provide their own contact details (not the child’s) and the region in which the child lives.

The personal data provided will be used for the purposes of administering the competition and in accordance with the BBC’s Privacy and Cookies Policy. The BBC will use the contact details provided by the adult to send general updates as to the progress of the competition by email. For further information please see the BBC’s Privacy and Cookies Policy

Your story must be all your own original work - you must not copy someone else's story. Any entry deemed to be a copy by our judges will be disqualified.

Your story must be an original piece of fiction and not an account of real events – either historical or current. However, stories can feature well known public figures from present day or from history (e.g. Wayne Rooney or Charles Darwin) take place in historical eras (e.g. the English Civil War) or use real-life experiences as a creative springboard as long as the story is fictional.

Entries will be judged on the following criteria:

- Originality

- Plot

- Characterisation

- Language

- Enjoyment

For more information about the judging process please see the Terms and Conditions.

You will not be able to change any details or edit your story after it has been successfully submitted to us.

We’re sorry but we can't return stories. This was made clear on the submission form because, with the huge number of entries to this competition, it would not be possible to cope with the extra administration required.

Once your story has been submitted you will only be contacted if you're successful in getting through to the next round - being shortlisted as part of the Top 50.

The parents or guardians of the top 50 successful entrants will be contacted by a member of the production team at the beginning of May 2015.

The Top 50 shortlisted entrants (25 in each age category) will be invited to attend the final at St James's Palace, London on Friday 29th May 2015 for the live broadcast of the BBC Radio 2 Chris Evans Breakfast Show.

The full names of the 6 finalists and the overall winners will be announced during this live broadcast, subject to parental consent.

Help for Judges

Anyone who is a teacher or librarian (or a retired teacher or librarian) and a full time residents of the UK (including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man can apply to be a volunteer judge as part of 500 Words.

You will be asked to supply contact details of someone who can validate your application.

This should be a manager (e.g. Head Teacher, Deputy, or Head of Department) who can vouch for your professional eligibility and confirm they are happy for you to volunteer your time. (If you are retired or on a career break, please use your last boss or someone you deem qualified to vouch for you.)

Yes please!

If you opted in to be involved in future years then we've kept your details on record and will be in touch about the judging for 500 WORDS 2015.

If you've got any questions please get in touch with the 500 WORDS administrators

The judging period starts in early March 2015, and as a volunteer judge you'll need to read and score the stories by Thursday 19th March 2015

Volunteer judgess will be asked to read a batch of about 30 stories, each one will be no more than one A4 side.

All teachers and librarians taking part in the judging will automatically be entered into a draw, the winners of which will be randomly selected, to receive a pair of tickets to attend the broadcast of The Chris Evans Breakfast Show on Friday 29th May 2015. Further proof of identity may be required at this stage.


Get in touch

If you have a question that we haven't answered above, you can contact the 500 WORDS team on

Please read the full Terms & Conditions before submitting a story as part of 500 WORDS.