Schools and arts award

On 15 July Astor College hosted 4 local primary schools (St Mary’s CEP, Barton Junior School, Priory Fields School, St Martins School)  for the INSPIRED ‘Ways to Rio’ Carnival event. The children arrived in their costumes, inspired by the colours of the flags from different countries, in the spirit of the Olympics.

The day started with rehearsals led by Sophie Arstall and joined by Maria Demichele and Nozomi Watanabe who had led the upcycling costume workshops earlier in the year. Over the year, the children and young people refined their costumes, with students at Astor creating very colourful outfits with help from Victoria Pasquino.

All the children, young people and adults involved joined the VIPs in the theatre for a presentation about the project and to watch a screening of the animation introduced by the young people involved, about Olympic rower Tom Ransley’s Olympiad, leading up to Tom qualifying for this Summer’s Rio Olympics. Tom has also narrated the animation which is based entirely on his own words. Year 8 Young Leaders worked tirelessly with St Mary’s Young Leaders to create this charming, short animation and they also shared their skills with students from Priory Fields – guided through the process under the watchful eye of John Dargan, Lens Based Media tutor from UCA, Canterbury. (Petra Matthews-Crow)

The VIPs included Arts Consultant Michele Gregson and Olympic swimmer Chris Cooke, who ended the presentations with a motivational speech encouraging the young people to follow their dreams.

Then it was back to the gym for final preparations and the start of the procession around the school grounds, involving noise, colour, flamboyance, Olympic and Paralympic values.

The Road to Rio film was great fun and beautifully realised and the procession seemed to me to be answering a fundamental human need – that to make costumes, dance and make noise to a shared beat. (Helen Lindon)

Thank you for a wonderful end to an incredible programme. To see children coming together from different schools to celebrate and embrace the spirit of the Olympic games was humbling to be part of. The schools, teachers and the children involved should be immensely proud of the contribution they all made to mark the end of the INSPIRE programme in Kent. It has been a wonderful 4 year educational programme that will have inspired thousands of children across the county. The carnival at Astor college was a fitting tribute to the start of the lead up to the games and will stay with me for a long time’ (Chris Cook)

The event was one of a series of events taking place across the County as part of a programme conceived and managed by Kent County Council and funded by the Kent Schools’ Funding Forum and Kent County Council. Using the framework of Public Health England’s ‘Ways to Wellbeing’, this programme has worked with schools to Be Active, Keep Learning, Give, Connect, Take Notice, and Take Care of the Planet, with each school supported to create a bespoke programme of activity since the school year started last September.