A SCHOOL has received a double delight – being awarded a prestigious arts status and being paid a visit by TV star Alesha Dixon.
Pupils and staff at Manor College of Technology, in Hartlepool, are celebrating after achieving Artsmark Gold status for its work with the arts in the school.
But they were granted yet another boost when their performing arts patron Alesha, the popstar and Britain’s Got Talent judge, visited the school for a second time and spent time hanging out with pupils, some of whom she remembered from the last occasion.
Ellie Hopwood, curriculum leader of creative and performing arts at the Owton Manor Lane School, said: “We were delighted to receive the Artsmark Gold award which isn’t given to that many schools.
“We feel really proud to have been able to achieve that.
“The staff and pupils were really happy about the award and then on top of that, Alesha, who is our performing arts patron, said she was going to come up and visit.
“She was in Whitby visiting friends and she came to see us on Monday for a party for the pupils who have taken part in all the concerts, and we also held an art exhibition.
“They were all delighted to meet her again and she remembered some of the pupils from when she came to visit last year. We took her round the whole school and as you’d expect most of the pupils were in awe at her.
“It’s been a great time for the school with gaining the gold and having Alesha come to visit again.”
Ellie said in 2005 and 2008 the school was awarded the Artsmark Silver award, so it has jumped to the top of its game this time round in achieving the gold.
The award is given every three years and assesses how many extra-curricular opportunities there are for students as well as curriculum time and GCSE success rate.