Ground Control to Major Tim... Lowestoft headteacher inspires pupils

Mark Prentice, dressed as his hero David Bowie. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Mark Prentice, dressed as his hero David Bowie. PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Heroes, space and music are helping to inspire the next generation – and at one Lowestoft primary school, it could well be a case of Ground Control to Major Tim...

Woods Loke Primary School headteacher, Mark Prentice in front of the students. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Woods Loke Primary School headteacher, Mark Prentice in front of the students. PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

There was an air of mystery around Woods Loke Primary School, in Butley Drive, Oulton Broad on Monday (January 18) as a special assembly was held about heroes and space – with music legend David Bowie and astronaut Major Tim Peake, who is currently embarking on a space mission, as the inspiration.

About 500 children from reception classes right up to year-six clapped, laughed and listened intently as the mystery guest – who wore a space helmet, a pale blue suit, initially with high heel platform shoes from the 1970s, before then changing to red trainers – took centre stage in the school's sports hall.

With Space Oddity, Let's Dance and Heroes – three of Bowie's top hits – echoing out, the mystery guest danced on the stage with three of the children and pointed to newspaper cuttings about Bowie and Major Peake, as well as globes and images of earth.

After keeping his identity secret from the enthusiastic youngsters, the spaceman eventually took off his helmet to reveal it was in fact headteacher Mark Prentice.

Headteacher, Mark Prentice aimed to inspire his pupils. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Headteacher, Mark Prentice aimed to inspire his pupils. PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Mr Prentice highlighted the importance of how having a hero can help you to aspire to great things.

'The big thing from my point of view is this is inspiring the children about heroes and space,' Mr Prentice said.

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'David Bowie is Tim Peake's favourite musician and Bowie was my hero as a youth. I grew up with David Bowie – the first album I ever bought was Heroes and as well as his music Bowie was a fashion icon.

'It was cool – a real success and the children loved it. I heard a lot of the younger children asking afterwards 'was that Mr Prentice?' – there was that mystery and suspense about it all.'

However as Major Peake is the hero of the moment, Mr Prentice set young people the homework of writing a song or poem using Space Oddity by David Bowie as a framework to send to Major Peake.

The best ones are due to be Tweeted to Major Peake while he is in space after a follow-up assembly on Monday (January 25).

Mr Prentice said: 'By wearing clothes from the 1970s, talking about heroes and space, and setting the homework, next week I will be showing the children how Bowie was a great musician and how he used poetry with his lyrics.

'Hopefully we can come up with a whole school poem or song based on the children's ideas that we can tweet into space.'

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