Arts competition made us 'raise our game' says winning school's head
  • 10 05 2017

Arts competition made us 'raise our game' says winning school's head

Source: Steve Loader

Young artists at St Mark’s Primary School, Eccles, made a clean sweep of  prizes at the third annual Peters Village Tri-History Arts Competition – the school’s head teacher said his pupils were inspired to new heights by previous contests.

“This annual competition has changed how we look at art in our school,” said Jonathan Bassett. “We have had to raise our game – today’s result speaks for itself.”

Though specifically aimed at Year 5 pupils this time, Mr Bassett added that the competition’s influence had encouraged his teaching team to extend the challenge internally to Eccles’ Years 4 and 6: “We will be holding presentations back at school for their work as well.”

For Peters Village developer Trenport and its co-sponsor this year – housebuilding group Orbit – this vindicated the thinking behind the competition, and Trenport Director Chris Hall (pictured) responded:

“I’m delighted to hear Jonathan’s comments, because it’s exactly the difference we wanted the competition to make, as well as fostering community spirit between our new Peters Village and the existing villages nearby.”

The results meant that pupils at Eccles Primary shared most of the £800 worth of cash prizes, though ‘Highly Commended’ awards were earned by pupils at the neighbouring Wouldham and Burham schools.

This year’s theme was ‘Why I Love My Valley: Our Homes, Past, Present and Future’ and in the build-up to announcing the winners on Friday (May 5) at The Old School Community Centre, Burham, Chris Hall told the schoolchildren: “I’m tremendously impressed by the level of imagination, and realise that the judges had a very difficult job. I would have found it very hard to choose which of the designs to live in.”

Pippa Ellis, Orbit’s Operations Manager (pictured below) agreed: “I am so impressed with your entries that I might take some ideas away with me. The subject of the competition is very close to our hearts as it's all about homes. Building homes and communities is what we do and Orbit is so pleased to be part of yours. I wish you all the best of luck.”

Pippa Ellis - Orbit
Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council (TMBC) Deputy Mayor and Mayor elect Cllr Roger Dalton and Tracey Crouch then announced the awards and prizes.

Cllr Dalton said: “This was my third year as a judge, and it gets harder and harder. The winning entries this year were outstanding, but you are all winners; it doesn’t matter if you don’t get an award.”

The winners (all from Eccles school) were:

Gold Prize £250 and certificate (plus a £10 voucher for every one of his 23 classmates) – Lewis Allen, who was unable to attend the prizegiving

Silver winner £100 and certificate – Charlie Briggs (pictured below, with his prizewinning entry and chatting with Tracey Crouch)

Charlie B with Tracey C

Bronze winner £50 and certificate – Anonymous

There were also 15 ‘Highly Commended’ awards: four for Burham, six for Eccles and five for Wouldham. Each received a £10 voucher (see full list below).

Competition organiser and Trenport Community Liaison Manager Shirley Boards said afterwards: “The competition has achieved exactly what it set out to do, by fostering art and community spirit in local schools.

“When the new combined school for Wouldham and Peters Village opens, the competition will surely move to a new level. Eccles showed what could be achieved; over the past two years it picked up two individual awards overall, but made a clean sweep by, as Jonathan Bassett put it, raising its game. I couldn’t be more pleased.

“I must also thank the visiting art mentors Colleen Dunn and Lou Hodgson from ‘Art And...’ who managed the creative side and workshops for the competition and helped all the schools’ pupils to make the best of their entries.”

The five judges this year were: Cllr Dalton, also Chairman of Burham Parish Council; Tel German, Senior Improvement Advisor, KCC Education; Jo Savage, a former art tutor and Wouldham resident; Steve Humphrey, TMBC Director of Planning, Housing and Environmental Health; and Eccles historian Ray Sturgeon.

Mr Sturgeon presented each of the three winners with a personal prize from him, a collection of postcards showing old scenes from their community and said:

“The competition standard has always been high, but the children take it up another notch each year. I was particularly pleased with the theme this time as they obviously looked at how the buildings of their community have changed – as a historian that is close to my heart – and it’s all quite a bit different to when I was a lad at Eccles school.”

‘HIGHLY COMMENDED’ AWARD WINNERS (15 children each awarded £10 voucher and a certificate):

Burham Primary School - four winners
Lily Beresford
Lexie Brice
Karis Frost
Oliver Wotton

Wouldham Primary School - 5 winners
Erin Church
Jack Colvill
Ellena Giles
Zara Immanuel
Alfie Morrell