School is in the media of a dream

CLAYDON High School has a dream!Almost echoing the words of Martin Luther King, the enthusiasm of headteacher Beth Soule bubbles over as she and staff today put the finishing touches to the school's draft of a bid for specialist status.

By Tracey Sparling

CLAYDON High School has a dream!

Almost echoing the words of Martin Luther King, the enthusiasm of headteacher Beth Soule bubbles over as she and staff today put the finishing touches to the school's draft of a bid for specialist status.

The ambitious plans could see the village school and sixth form becoming the new area centre for media arts.

The bid, which will be pitted against tough competition from other schools in October, is supported by the Evening Star and other media.

Success would bring a £100,000 capital grant, and then £100,000 a year for four years, enabling the creation of drama studios, a film theatre, recording studio, design suite, video editing suite, and the purchase of digital photography equipment, in the wake of the school's current expansion project.

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High tech media arts facilities could be open by September 2003.

Mrs Soule said media status would tie in with the Mid Suffolk Local Plan, and Eastern Arts' future plan for the area, and provide facilities to be used by the whole community.

She said: "We are ideally placed on the A14 high tech corridor for local initiatives like IP-City as well as Eastern Arts. There is also a long history of printing in the area and a lot of small media businesses, and we are trying to respond to that.

"Media arts is not about us becoming a Fame school. It develops commitment, self expression, creativity, a sense of involvement and confidence. Digital technology is going to change the way we see things in the future, and youngsters get excited about it. Multimedia facilities will affect all subjects.

"And we are also an adult education centre, so media status would enable us to run classes for smaller groups, provide portable media kits, and perhaps run a bus service to collect students - it's about making things possible for a rural community."

She said the school's A-Level media course was 'very successful', and a GCSE version is due to start in September.

A professional fundraiser has been employed, and £6,000 raised already, but Mrs Soule added: "We can't make this dream come true unless we get £50,000 sponsorship from the community.

"We are looking for local heroes who are prepared to support education in the area, because that supports regeneration, and makes this a wonderful place to live. It's about living, not existing and the arts make the difference between living and existing."

To link with the media arts bid, Claydon High is also bidding for Lottery cash to start a community festival on the theme of 'yesterday, today and tomorrow' in four years' time.

New classrooms currently being built at the school will be opened by Sir Michael Lord in October, and pupils from its opening year 1937 are invited.

If you can help, call the school on 01473 836110.

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