Hartlepool teachers going head-to-head in Strictly Come Dancing-style event

Throston Primary headteacher Mark Atkinson dances with his partner Ruth Nicholson.
Throston Primary headteacher Mark Atkinson dances with his partner Ruth Nicholson.

TWO senior teachers will be using their feet as they go ‘head-to-head’ in a Strictly Come Dancing-style charity contest.

Mark Atkinson, who is the headteacher at Throston Primary School, and Jo Heaton, headteacher at Elwick and Hart Primary Schools, are both taking part in the Let’s Dance competition to raise money for the Hartlepool branch of the NSPCC.

Throston Primary headteacher Mark Atkinson dances with his partner Ruth Nicholson.

Throston Primary headteacher Mark Atkinson dances with his partner Ruth Nicholson.

Mark, 42, will be dancing with his partner Ruth Nicholson, 33, who is a kitchen assistant at his school.

Jo will be sharing the floor with her husband Paul Heaton.

Mark told the Mail: “I always try to do something to raise money for the NSPCC because I think it’s such a good cause, as does Jo.

“We were basically asked if we were willing to do this and crazily we said yes!”

We were basically asked if we were willing to do this and crazily we said yes!

Mark Atkinson, head at Throston Primary School

Mark, a dad-of-two, from Durham, and Ruth, a mum-of-one, from Hartlepool, are getting in about five hours of practice every week, in a bid to beat the toe-tapping skills of their friendly rivals, Jo and Paul.

But the two heads decided that they wanted to show their pupils what the challenge was all about, so invited them all to take part in a dance challenge across two Fridays.

Carol Hammond, from Carol Hammond school of Dance, in Hartlepool, went along to Throston Primary School, off Wiltshire Way, where 500 pupils from the three primary schools took part in half-hour dancing sessions.

“We wanted to give the children a chance to have a go,” said Mark. “I think they got a lot out of it actually. We were a bit sceptical as to whether the boys would want to dance with the girls but they really did go for it.

“We’ve never had any dancing experience before so it’s a challenge for us all.”

The glitzy sell-out event is being held at The Borough Hall, on The Headland, in Hartlepool, on Friday, March 13.

The contest will see three finalists, voted for by a panel of judges and the audience will then perform in a dance off, before the winning couple are crowned.