Well, first things first. We didn’t win! But read on and you will find out about an incredible presentation by Oscar & Imogen who were a credit to themselves and both Liss Junior and Kafuro Primary Schools.
The day started early with a 7.15am meet at school. After messages of good luck from parents we set off for London in Mr Burford’s car. The plan was to drive up to Tolworth and then to take the train and then the tube to Kings Cross where The Guardian’s offices were located. The drive up to Tolworth was smooth apart from a bizarre one way system just by the station, but we got on the train without any problems.
Once we reached Vauxhall and had to change to the tube the problems really began. It was almost impossible to buy a child’s ticket on the tube and there were no staff to ask or ticket booths open. After fifteen minutes of frustration we finally reached the platform and Mr Burford stepped onto the train only for the doors to begin shutting. Heroically, Mr Burford managed to wrench the doors open so Oscar, Imogen and myself could get on. However, the train driver announced that he now couldn’t close the doors and publicly told off Mr Burford over the tannoy system. Poor Mr Burford! Eventually the train started moving.
We reached Kings Cross without further incident and entered The Guardian’s offices. Everybody was very friendly. There were croissants on arrival which really pleased Oscar as he hadn’t eaten for at least an hour! Immediately after we went to the education room where we had to design the front page of a newspaper with information about the bees project. Although we had submitted copy earlier in the week, there was still some editing to do, but Imogen and Oscar were more than up to the task and the staff were very helpful. We finished the front page of ‘The Buzz’ in good time and the results can be seen below.
After a quick cookie break we all went into the main event room where the presentations began. Imogen immediately became very excited when she realised that Helen Skelton was one of the judges (for those of you reading in Uganda, Helen Skelton is a big television personality in the UK, who is seen as a particularly good role model for children due to some of the amazing challenges she has undertaken) and entered a heated debate with Oscar about who was going to present her with a cupcake as part of their presentation.
We had a long wait until it was our turn to present. Fortunately for the children, there was lunch served with all sorts of chips, goujons and burgers. They also soon discovered a big candy bar located towards the back of the room with tons of sweets, lollipops and other nice things. At one point Helen Skelton said that if the children didn’t eat everything then she would; they needed no such invitation.
At long last it was our turn to present and Imogen and Oscar put on their bee suits and went onto the stage. They presented brilliantly and showed no sign of nerves unlike their teacher, who was shaking at the back of the room. They answered the questions that the judges asked with some comfort and then sat down to a big round of applause. Next, we watched the other primary school presentations. One was for an art space and observatory, the second was for an outdoor teepee library and the final one was for an art shed called the splat shed. All the other presentations were of an extremely high standard as well.
There was quite a wait while the judges made their final decisions as to who should win, but Helen Skelton came back into the room and posed for photos with all the children who presented during the day. She had her photo taken with Oscar and Imogen. Imogen revealed that she had written about Helen as her hero in Year 4 and when the photo had been taken said, “This is the best day of my life!”
Finally, the judges made their announcements and the winning primary school was Great Sankey Primary School in Warrington with their splat shed. In their closing comments the judges mentioned our bees project several times so my guess is that we came extremely close to winning. However, it wasn’t to bee (sorry folks!) and our congratulations go to Great Sankey Primary School.
Oscar and Imogen received a framed copy of their newspaper front page and also a trophy for winning the regional final. They also stocked up with enough candy to feed an army for the return home. As is to be expected, there were inevitable train delays, but we eventually got back to school at 7.20pm – two very tired children and two very tired adults.
So all in all it was an amazing day and although we didn’t win the whole school community should be really proud of Oscar and Imogen. A big thank you to all the children staff, governors and parents who posted messages of support and to all the teachers who have been developing the curriculum to include bees. Many thanks to Mrs Moore who helped the children with baking and to Morag Crawley and everyone at Petersfield Beekeepers who have been so supportive of the school throughout the process.
Massive thanks to Yowasi and all the children and staff at Kafuro Primary School for all the hard work they have put into the process.
Finally massive thanks to The Guardian newspaper for organising a brilliant competition. We may not have won this year, but we’re already hatching our next project to hopefully go one better next year.