Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival’s Spring Weekend is set to inspire hundreds of students and schoolchildren from across Devon.

The festival, a charitable organisation, focuses its community outreach work on its education programme, taking authors and illustrators into schools around East Devon.

Simon Armitage, currently holding the title of Poet Laureate, is one of the authors heading to Budleigh for the festival's spring weekend on March 1 and 2.

The organisers are planning a unique event with Mr Armitage, reserved specifically for students from nine local schools and colleges.

David Marston, a member of the festival’s education and outreach team, said, "This is an exciting event which we are providing free to students as part of our education and outreach work.

"They will have the opportunity to experience and engage with a brilliant writer who is also on the GCSE and A Level Literature syllabus."

Around 250 students from numerous schools across the area, including Exeter College, Exmouth Community College, Sidmouth College, The Kings School, and Ottery St Mary's Queen Elizabeth’s School, are set to attend.

Mr Marston added: "An important part of our outreach work is providing opportunities for young people who may not be able to otherwise access these amazing experiences.

"Our aims are to inspire children and help them to grow a love of books and reading which will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

"Good literacy and wellbeing go hand in hand.

"It is our ambition to make sure children have the best possible access to great books and writing."

Helen Millman Jones, lead practitioner (English) at Exmouth Community College, said, "A Level English Language and English Literature students from Exmouth Community College are incredibly excited about their forthcoming visit to hear Simon Armitage read from his latest collection."

Jess Chatfield from The Kings School, Ottery St Mary, added: "We are thrilled that Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival has organised this exciting opportunity for our A Level English students to hear Simon Armitage read and talk about his work.

"To hear, first hand, how writers use poetry to speak to young people about serious world issues, is an incredibly enriching experience."

The festival’s outreach activities also include visits by Winnie the Witch illustrator Korky Paul to Brixington Primary School in Exmouth and St Peter’s Primary in Budleigh Salterton, and workshops with Adventure Mice creators Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre in local primary schools.

More workshops featuring award-winning writer Katya Balen are planned for local primary school pupils in the early summer.

Other authors heading for the festival include BBC broadcaster Clive Myrie, whose appearance has already been fully booked, mathematician Professor Marcus du Sautoy, international affairs expert Sir Robin Niblett, and investigative journalists Sam Peters and Hannah Barnes.

Those interested in finding out more or booking tickets can visit the festival's website or call 0333 666 3366.