STARS of national children’s television will head for Alton later this year to meet the kind pupils and staff of The Butts Primary School.
Year 3 teacher Gemma Venn, head of ICT and computing, said: “My class and I entered a competition as part of a nationwide campaign raising awareness of anti-bullying in November, and won the first prize – a visit from CBBC band Andy and The Odd Socks!”
CBBC is the BBC’s channel for junior school children and the Anti-Bullying Week competition was set by presenter Andy Day, leader of Andy and The Odd Socks, on the band’s social media pages.
Mrs Venn, 40, made a film called One Kind Word – inspired by Andy and The Odd Socks’ video of the same name used to raise awareness of Anti-Bullying Week – as a “fantastic finish” to two difficult weeks for Year 3 and a way to promote the campaign’s kindness message.
The film saw pupils sign using Makaton, sing, dance, leap, share ‘kind’ words, create a chain reaction and display kindness towards their peers as they spread kindness in an attempt to end bullying.
Year 3 pupil Juliet Cook, seven, said: “In lockdown we couldn’t have fun together because we couldn’t see each other. When we made our video, I thought it was a nice chance for everyone from Fox Class and Badger Class to all make something together. Mrs Venn made sure everyone could be included. It was really fun to make the video.”
Mrs Venn said the film owed much to the “unconditional support and kindness” of Year 3 teaching assistants Donna Cogdell, Mary-Anne Adeyemi, Ian Devon and Clare Newell.
She has made videos with her pupils since the first lockdown, for parents kept out of school by Covid guidelines, and initially overlooked the competitive element of the task.
She said: “It was at the end of the week when the film was all edited and ready to share that I went back to the original post by Andy and The Odd Socks to check who I could tag in my social media posts.
“I just thought to myself ‘how great would it be to get a like or share or retweet from one of the team’ – which we got in a matter of hours, as well as a like from Hugh Bonneville – not giving much thought to actually winning a visit from Andy and The Odd Socks.
“I posted the film, was hugely grateful to our incredibly supportive parents and local community for all their encouraging and kind comments, and then thought nothing more of it until today, when I saw our entry had come first!”
One Kind Word can be seen at https://fb.watch/aGsIajhTAQ/