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Arts competition made us 'raise our game' says winning school's head

Young artists at St Mark’s Primary School, Eccles, made a clean sweep of prizes at the third annual Peters Village Tri-History Arts Competition (2017) and the school’s head teacher said his pupils were inspired to new heights by previous contests.

“This annual competition has changed how we look at art in our school,” said Jonathan Bassett. “We have had to raise our game – today’s result speaks for itself.”

Though specifically aimed at Year 5 pupils this time, Mr Bassett added that the competition’s influence had encouraged his teaching team to extend the challenge internally to Eccles’ Years 4 and 6: “We will be holding presentations back at school for their work as well.”

For Peters Village developer Trenport and its 2017 co-sponsor – housebuilding group Orbit – this vindicated the thinking behind the competition, and Trenport Director Chris Hall responded:

“I’m delighted to hear Jonathan’s comments, because it’s exactly the difference we wanted the competition to make, as well as fostering community spirit between our new Peters Village and the existing villages nearby.”

The results meant that pupils at Eccles Primary shared most of the £800 worth of cash prizes, though ‘Highly Commended’ awards were earned by pupils at the neighbouring Wouldham and Burham schools.

The 2017 theme was ‘Why I Love My Valley: Our Homes, Past, Present and Future’ and in the build-up to announcing the winners on Friday (May 5) at The Old School Community Centre, Burham, Chris Hall told the schoolchildren: “I’m tremendously impressed by the level of imagination and realise that the judges had a very difficult job. I would have found it very hard to choose which of the designs to live in.”

Pippa Ellis, Orbit’s Operations Manager agreed: “I am so impressed with your entries that I might take some ideas away with me. The subject of the competition is very close to our hearts as it's all about homes. Building homes and communities is what we do and Orbit is so pleased to be part of yours. I wish you all the best of luck.”

Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council (TMBC) Deputy Mayor and Mayor elect Cllr Roger Dalton and Tracey Crouch then announced the awards and prizes.

Cllr Dalton said: “This was my third year as a judge, and it gets harder and harder. The winning entries this year were outstanding, but you are all winners; it doesn’t matter if you don’t get an award.”

The winners (all from Eccles school) were:

Gold Prize £250 and certificate (plus a £10 voucher for every one of his 23 classmates) – Lewis Allen, who was unable to attend the prizegiving

Silver winner £100 and certificate – Charlie Briggs