The three Maidstone cluster primary academies came together on 12th July 2016 to celebrate the spirit of the Rio Olympics and personify the Olympic Values through a joint “Rio Inspire” event. The inspiration came from senior leaders across the three academies and tied in well with the Kent County Council Inspire project, which serves to deliver the London 2012 Olympic legacy through schools.
The project started with visits in the spring term from esteemed athletes such as Tim Prendergast and Chris Cook to the three primary academies. This served as a platform for writing opportunities, as well as art work. In addition, two of the schools were lucky enough to attend workshops with the dance company ‘Tall Tales, Big Moves’, which gave pupils the opportunity to explore experimental dance based on the theme of ‘Message to the World.’
As summer beckoned, leaders across the three academies were very keen to have an event that would bring pupils from all three communities together. Rishi Boyjoonauth, Director of Improvement for Teaching and Learning, led the musical aspect of the project by organising three choirs at the academies, who would then come together to perform at the joint Rio Inspire event. PE leaders from the academies, including Julie Palmer from Oaks Primary Academy and Sam Hurley-Gale from Molehill Primary Academy led on the sporting events and organised competitive athletic races, which would involve participants from the three academies.
Prayers were answered when glorious sun shone in true Rio-style upon Maidstone on the morning of the 12th July! Proceedings started with a performance by the 3 choirs, conducted by Sarah Bennoson from Oaks and Clare Butchers from Molehill. The choir sang in perfect harmony, and there were certainly a few tears in the house as the three joint choirs performed in public for the first time. Repertoire included ‘Sing’ by Gary Barlow and ‘Believe’ by Lyn Marsh.
Pupils and staff were then led out to the wonderful grounds at Molehill Primary Academy to commence the athletic events. To kick off, each academy paraded around the grounds in true carnival style, accompanied by banners, flags, whistles and the odd feather boa! The atmosphere was lively, good humoured and entertaining! Everybody was then in for a sporting treat as the finest athletes from across the academies participated in various track events including 100m and a relay. The stakes were high and the pace was electric! However, in true Olympic style, great sportsmanship was demonstrated by all pupils involved and there was a tremendous sense of community spirit.
Events culminated in dance performances by students from the three academies. Each school presented an energetic and fun act which definitely brought the spirit of carnival to mind. Closing speeches were led by Debbie Biggenden, Executive Principal of the Maidstone Cluster, who thanked all involved.
Such an event gives an opportunity to all to reflect upon the true talent that exists amongst our pupils, as well seeing what can be accomplished through collaboration and team work. The Maidstone cluster remains strong and with the arrival of Langley Park in September, we hope that the cluster goes from strength to strength.