900 pupils and staff members come together for inclusive singing and signing event

By Jessica Durston - 7 July 2022


Pupils and staff members from Red Oaks Primary School and Orchid Vale Primary School joined forces to perform the song 'Power in Me' whilst signing the lyrics in BSL.

900 pupils and staff members joined together for the singing and signing event

This large-scale musical event brought pupils from the two Park Academies Trust schools together for an inclusive performance. 

Over the last two years, Red Oaks and Orchid Vale have not been able to mix or celebrate their union, due to the pandemic. 

This singing and signing event brought 900 pupils and staff members together to perform a rendition of Rebecca Lawrence's 'Power in Me.' 

Rachel Surch Primary Executive Principal of the Park Academies Trust said: “We organised this event because we wanted to do something special and felt that the song we’ve chosen is particularly uplifiting. ‘Power in Me’  is symbolic of the resilience that the children and staff have had to demonstrate over the last couple of years.

“Children in education have suffered greatly and a lot of the fun had disappeared from education during covid and the lockdowns, so we’re here today to get some of that fun back.”

The children practiced their skills with a quick rehearsal, before their final performance was recorded. 

Rachel encouraged the large group of pupils, saying: "We want to hear your big voices. We want all of North Swindon to hear us, and for the windows on the surrounding houses to rattle.”

A backing track was played for the children to sing and sign along to, with Red Oaks' Deaf Provision Manager Hannah Egerton and a selection of pupils standing at the front to lead the BSL actions. 

Hannah said of the event: "It’s been brilliant to see both schools come together, all signing and singing with happy faces, being inclusive to all children.”

Scott, one of Red Oaks' deaf Year 5 students, joined Hannah to demonstrate the BSL actions. 

He said: "I have been nervous and happy today! I was told I will be on the BBC and that made me excited and nervous.

“It’s a different feeling for me because so many of us are here together singing and signing so deaf children like me are included. I'm happy!”

The Red Oaks team said the fun musical event has also provided a great opportunity for the staff and students to celebrate the school's impressive SATS results, that are above the national average across all areas. 

Benedick Ashmore-Short CEO of the Park’s Academy Trust said: “I think this event has been a wonderful way to end a really challenging year where we have finally come out of covid. Events like this would just not have taken place over the last two years, and it has been fantastic to have all our children joined together here singing and signing in unison.

“They’re representing the fact we have a lot of deaf or hard of hearing children within the trust, and particularly at Red Oaks. This performance has been a true celebration of all children, and a chance to end the school year on a real high.”

The Parks Academies Trust is also actively looking for more deaf signing staff members. More information about the Trust's current vacancies can be found on its website at https://www.theparkacademiestrust.com/join-us/current-vacancies

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