Westlea Primary is a school absolutely brimming with music and singing in particular. And because of this fantastic enthusiasm, it was selected to become a Platinum Singing School as part of national The Sing Up Awards.
The awards recognise, celebrate and promote schools that put singing at the heart of school life. Platinum status cannot be applied for; it can only be achieved if a school is selected to be recognised as a leader in singing.
Children at a special Platinum Award singing assembly on 20 July, in between songs from the whole school, the school choir and all the teachers singing together, were told they are the only school in Swindon, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire and one of only 40 in England to go platinum.
Amy Higgs, the Sing Up Workforce development strand manager, travelled to Swindon to present the award. She told the children, "this is a fantastic achievement for everybody involved with the school."
LizTerry, Sing Up area leader for Swindon, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire, said, "it is always a thrill to visit you, I really look forward to a visit to Westlea. There is always so much singing everywhere, in the classroom, in the playground, going to music festivals, grandparents day. The choir practice so hard, you all strive for perfection."
John Winterflood, of Swindon Music Service, who nominated the school for the award, said to the children, "singing is central to our being, it’s a really powerful tool and don’t let anybody say singing is uncool as you get older; you’ve discovered here how great it is to sing together.
"Your school is one of the very few who have this award, you’re a champion for singing, setting an example to all the hundreds of schools in this region."
Headteacher Suzanne Seaton told the children how proud she is of everybody who is involved in singing at Westlea. "All the children love singing, the staff have done wonderful work to put singing into everything we do, and parents do a wonderful invaluable job supporting staff when the choir sing in the community and go to festival. And Mrs Sumner has such an amazing commitment; she puts in so many hours to make singing enjoyable for everybody. We could not have received the platinum award without her."
Top, children involved with singing at Westlea Primary School. Above, right, Award winners with back from left, John Winterflood of Swindon Music Service, choir leader Sarah Sumner, councillor David Renard, Swindon cabinet lead member for children services, headteacher Suzanne Seaton, Amy Higgs and Liz Terry of Sing Up
• About Sing Up
Sing Up is the National Singing Programme which aims to put singing at the heart of primary school-aged children’s lives. The programme includes an online resource and magazine to help primary school teachers and parents encourage children to sing everyday.
The initiative, championed by the composer and broadcaster Howard Goodall who is the National Singing Ambassador, was the result of research carried out by the Music Manifesto. It is supported by a £40m government investment over four years and the collaboration of a consortium led by national charity Youth Music with advertising agency Abbott Mead Vickers, music publishers Faber Music and The Sage Gateshead. The combined expertise of these four organisations is bringing Sing Up to schools through a programme of workforce development for teachers, building an accessible singing resource and a public facing media campaign to highlight the role and contribution that singing can play in the school, the home and community.
The Sing Up Awards incorporate three levels – Silver, Gold and Platinum. Whilst schools can enter themselves for the Silver or Gold levels, setting their own criteria for success, The Platinum Award is available by nomination only, enabling schools to become ambassador Schools. Platinum is awarded to schools who have an outward, community focus and sustain their efforts and practice across 4 areas of the Gold Award, so that their pupils can experience being in a Singing School throughout a key stage.
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