Primary school in Norfolk awarded prestigious arts award

Nelson Academy in Downham Market awarded artsmark award at trip to see Wicked at the West End

Nelson Academy in Downham Market awarded artsmark award at trip to see Wicked at the West End - Credit: Archant

A primary school in Norfolk has been recognised for a prestigious arts prize.

Pupils at the Nelson Academy in Downham Market were surprised by the news at a recent trip to see the play Wicked in London's West End.

The children from the theatre club at the school have been awarded the Silver Artsmark Award.

The Arts Council England's award - which was a two year process - recognises the school's work and its emphasis on music, arts and drama.

Arts leader Gill Sekatawa said: "The children were delighted to be invited onto the stage, it was spectacular. Whilst having their group photo taken, the two lead characters appeared from the wings with our Silver Artsmark tucked in the Wicked Witch Elphaba's bag.

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"Sophie Evans who plays Glinda in the show explained to the children why they had received such a special award, it was an experience the children and staff will never forget.

"To be recognised for this award is amazing as it is very rare. We made the arts a priority and recognised that every subject, including the creative ones are just as important."

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Mrs Sekatawa said the award had given confidence to students who may struggle with the more traditional subjects like maths and english, making learning more enjoyable for them.

She added: "The children have been inspired by the award and the production of Wicked and will be channeling their excitement in a performance of the Wizard of Oz next week at the school."

A plaque was given to the school and will be displayed for two years.

Sarah Wilson, the academy's principal, said: "We're extremely proud of achieving our Artsmark Silver Award. We are committed to delivering a high-quality arts and cultural education and we look forward to continuing to grow with Artsmark."

Darren Henley, chief executive of Arts Council England, said: "I would like to congratulate Nelson Academy on their Artsmark Award. "As an Artsmark school, Nelson Academy exemplifies how the Award can help schools to achieve a broad and balanced curriculum, ensuring that each of its pupils is given the opportunity to explore and build a love of the arts that will remain with them as they go through adult life."

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