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Charles Darwin School

50th Anniversary Courtyard Renovation and Mural Painting: A Community in Action

To commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the school, we decided to renovate the courtyard area outside the canteen which had become rather run-down so that students can have another pleasant place to sit at break and lunch and so that it looks as smart as the recently renovated canteen.

Students and staff have been involved throughout the process, starting with a competition to design a mural for the wall. The design brief was to create a mural design for the large wall that celebrated the work of Charles Darwin and had a tropical botanical garden vibe.

Students from several year groups entered the competition and the winning design was created by Leo Currier in 8HBu, who, as usual with all of his homework, put lots of thought and effort into producing a creative and thoughtful design. Well done Leo and thanks to the other students who sent in entries: Maggie McCarthy, Daine-Louise Iaonnou, Sam Young, Jack Rice, Edie Plinston and Charlotte Duncombe. Thanks also to Miss Doughty, Miss Stroud and Mrs Doig for their help with the planning, judging and organising of materials for the mural.

The next step in the renovation was to redecorate the whole area so we enlisted the help of some year 10 students who had some decorating experience - Presley Burns, Vinnie Edwards, Lucas Rutledge, Ruby Baker, Kendall Henry and Tyrell Fulton. They did a great job painting all the walls a pale grey colour to match the canteen. Thanks to Mrs Newall for helping to collect the paint and to Oliver Molsher for cleaning the roof of the canopy.

On the 2 enrichment days at the end of term, we started phase 2 of the project, which was the creation and painting of wooden planters to go in the corners of the courtyard. The was led by Mr Baker with support from Adam Iles, Oliver King, Billy Green, Liam Stacey, Sky Goksal, Blake Taylor and Brooke Taylor. Thanks to Mr Dunn for his assistance with collecting materials and helping to complete the final planter and to Mr Baker for his support throughout all the stages of the project. Thanks to Aston Fay-Abrehart for his help painting the planters.

At the same time as the planters were being created, Mr Chubb started the mural painting off with planning how to turn Leo’s idea into a mural we could execute and then supervising day 1 of painting. On the second day, Mrs Doig led the year 10 students in completing the painting and making it look beautiful - what talented artists our teachers are! Thanks to the year 10 (mostly) Art students who did the painting- Tillie Bansel, Neve Ladd-Talbot, Olivia James, Georgia Robinson, Matilda Hewitt, Mia Cazalet-Smith, Millie Walker and Sonny Roberts as well as Charlotte Molsher. They did an amazing job really showcasing their artistic skills and creating something to be proud of and thanks to Tillie for coming in on the last day of term to get the painting finished.

Throughout the project, Shay Royle, Peter Moseling, John Cowburn, Dean Lovatt and Roy Smith have been really helpful in providing equipment, moving furniture, collecting materials and generally being supportive. Thanks also to Mrs Stimson in finance and Mr Smith for helping to find the money for the project and his enthusiasm and encouragement thoughout all the stages.

The final stages were helped tremendously by the donation of soil through a link by ex-student and parent James Bamber who put me in touch with Dawn Wales at DWP Recycling, a local business (and another ex-pupil), who very generously donated soil to fill the planters. Caiden and Jake Thwaites in year 11 were incredibly helpful moving the tonne of soil from the back of the school into the planters and we were really grateful to Miss Edwards who kindly gave up part of her time off to jetwash the courtyard.

Thanks to Alfie Rapley, Nehemiah Mensah and Freddie Burns for helping to complete the final planter in time for Open Day.

It has been lovely to be able to complete this project commemorating 50 years of Charles Darwin School by involving so many different members of our community- students, teachers, support staff, parents and former pupils. Charles Darwin School is very much a community school and we are so grateful to all the people who helped to transform this space into somewhere that students are already enjoying during their social time and hopefully will do for many years to come.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to this amazing project.

Ms Kelly, Assistant Headteacher