On May 24th and 26th this year an annual music festival took place across Halton Borough Council for over 45 schools and 1,700 students.
The theme for this year’s festival, co-ordinated by Janet Whittingham, Performing Arts Manager of Palace Fields Academy was ‘Marvellous Maths’. Each school from across the borough has an opportunity to create their own costume and song based on a key area from the curriculum.
The first phase of the festival took place at The Heath School in Runcorn, with Wade Deacon High School in Widnes hosting the second phase a couple of days later.
Catherine Whitlow from Beechwood Primary School in Runcorn explained the importance of the festival to her pupils to New Directions colleagues Sam Pilling and Lauran Collins “We enjoy taking part every year and learning the songs to go along with the theme. Our school have also developed a reputation of dressing up to match the themes for example last year’s Literacy theme meant we all just had to turn up (after walking across Runcorn!) dressed up as our favourite book characters…and yes that included the adults…how many Dalmatians are there?!
As a school that greatly acknowledges what a fantastic tool music and singing is to aid children’s learning, the annual singing festival fits right in with us. The children who last year learnt how to spell through a song still sing it to themselves today to help them to spell words such as because. How can that be a bad thing…although hearing how Big Elephants Can’t Add Up Sums Easily several times a day does take its toll!!!
Again, this year’s Maths theme has been a valuable asset as my class have just taken their Y2 SATs and happily sung songs to themselves about odd numbers and features of shapes to help them. I smiled. We use song regularly through our Curriculum anyway so this is nothing new to our children as we start preparations. Initially the songs are played in the classroom as the children work…they easily begin to pick the words up themselves. We then hold a few singing practice sessions where we have fun learning actions and moves to go with them. The children love the creativity of learning.
On top of all this is the fact that it is arranged and organised largely by Janet Whittingham whose passionate nature towards music and song is infectious…I have invited her into Beechwood many times to share her knowledge and skills…I have learnt a great deal from her. So all in all we are really enjoyed joining with other schools and having a good sing sing…although this year we were not in costume…the maths theme was a bit tricky for us!”
The New Directions Wirral team sponsored the event, Sam Pilling, Branch Manager for the team said “We are proud to sponsor such an innovative, creative event. This is the type of event that will impact the children in these schools and their wider communities in an extremely positive manner. This is the second year we have worked to support the event and we look forward to hearing more about the plans for 2017”.