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Schools join together to deliver creative arts project

Two Monmouthshire primary schools combined to present an end of term musical extravaganza before an appreciative audience of 120 parents at King Henry VIII School.

The concert was a culmination of a partnership between Gilwern Primary School and Abergavenny’s Our Lady’s & St Michael RC Primary to create an arts project benefitting literacy and promoting knowledge of the wider world.

Over 100 children from Years Two and Four took part, making use of dance moves and percussion instruments under the guidance of the Upbeat Music and Arts Service which had overseen the project since the beginning of spring term.  The children had just five sessions to produce the show but it was performed professionally, enthusiastically and with spirit, drawing warm applause throughout.

Children created their own costumes, dance sequences and compositions on drums, drawing on influences from South Africa, India and Japan.  They had researched the culture of these countries in the approach to the show with pupils from both schools sharing experiences and working closely together.

The concert and its rehearsals were funded by the Arts Council of Wales under its Lead Creative Schools Scheme.  Gilwern Primary School became an accredited Lead Creative School in 2015 which recognises staff can nurture and develop the creativity of learners to achieve their potential and grow as well-rounded individuals.  Two years later, the school was successful in its application to become a Lead Creative Schools Champion, allowing it to work in partnership with the nearby Our Lady’s and St Michael RC Primary.  Both agreed to incorporate an arts project linking literacy and international relations within their school development plans.

Deputy Headteacher Sue Marles of Gilwern Primary School who led the project said: “The Lead Creative Scheme has provided an exceptional opportunity to embrace the expressive arts.  The pupils, staff and parents have become engaged, motivated and hooked in leading their learning and we are delighted with the collaboration”.

Monmouthshire’s cabinet member for Children and Young People, Councillor Richard John added: “This show celebrates the talent of our young people with guidance and encouragement provided by staff at both schools.  I’m very pleased that the teamwork to bring about this project has yielded such great results.”