Opinion Former Article

NASUWT: West Midlands pupils seal national Arts & Minds prize

School children from the West Midlands are celebrating today after their artwork was crowned overall winner of the 2011 Arts & Minds competition organised by the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union.

Arts and Minds is an annual, UK-wide competition aimed at promoting race equality and diversity in schools. Children and young people from primary, secondary and special schools are judged in two categories: art and creative writing.

The group of Year 8-10 pupils from Perryfields High School in Oldbury were already winners in the Group Artwork (Secondary) category for their entry, called ‘Our Arts and Minds’.

However they went on to clinch the overall prize, plus £1,000 for their school, at the national awards ceremony in London today.

John Rimmer, NASUWT President and judge of the overall winner said of the winning entry:

“The use of colour and the attention to detail is particularly impressive. This is a striking piece of work which really encapsulates the spirit of the Arts & Minds Competition to celebrate cultural diversity and equality.”

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

“A huge congratulations must go to the pupils and staff at Perryfields High School.

“Their fantastic entry was colourful and imaginative and really summed up the competition’s message of celebrating equality and diversity.

“The standard of entries was very high and I know the judges had great difficulty in choosing the winner. The quality was strong throughout all of the age groups and categories.

“Bullying, identity and racism, in particular Islamaphobia, were strong themes, with personal experience proving to be a common denominator among the winning entries. Many of the winners used their own experiences to inspire their creativity, with the result that their entries really stood out.

“The category winners all produced highly imaginative entries which came up with new responses to the issues of diversity and equality.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

A photo of the winners with the entry is attached.
The Arts & Minds ceremony was held today at the Crowne Plaza hotel, Buckingham Gate, London.
The Arts & Minds competition is divided into early years, primary, secondary and special school sectors. Within each sector there are separate creative writing and art categories with individual and group prizes being awarded in each.
The 2011 competition is the eighth Arts & Minds competition.
The competition was conceived for the purpose of celebrating teachers’ and pupils’ artistic and creative writing skills as a powerful way of promoting discussion and debate among young people about important social and ethical issues.
The NASUWT has received generous sponsorship and expert judging from SecEd (www.sec-ed.co.uk) as well as the support of the following organisations:

· Love Music Hate Racism (www.lovemusichateracism.com)

· Unite Against Fascism (www.uaf.org.uk)

· Primary Teacher Update (www.primaryteacherupdate.co.uk);

· The Anne Frank Trust (www.annefrank.org.uk).

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