Open Day 2018

Penrice Academy Turns Blue for Open Day

On Thursday 27th September 2018, we opened our doors to hundreds of children and parents for an ocean themed Open Day and Evening, with the aim of inspiring the next generation of St Austell to take steps to cut down on single-use plastic.

The theme – Seas Our Future – was thought up by students before the summer break, when they approached staff keen to do their part for their environment.

The students formed Eco Club, an extracurricular club who meet as part of Penrice Plus once a week, and drew up their plans to launch a plastic free initiative.

As they entered the Academy, 374 Year 6 Children from around St Austell were welcomed by a giant whale created by former Penrice Art Teacher Mirjana Roberts, as well as buoys, ropes and lobster pots from Mevagissey, and a sculpture of a week’s worth of plastic brought in by staff and created by our Eco Club.

The whale, made from willow and tissue paper and coated in newspaper, was filled with plastic to symbolise the issue on everybody’s minds; plastic pollution.

Mrs Gurd, Assistant Principal and organiser of the day, said: “It was wonderful to see Year 6 embracing the conversation on Open Day and being visibly excited by the idea that they have the power to make the change.”

“We were so impressed with how they threw themselves into the activities with smiles and a lot of enthusiasm.”

Inspired by the BBC’s ground-breaking series Blue Planet 2 and lead by the Academy’s Eco Club, Open Day saw each visiting Year 6 receive a Seas Our Future water bottle, which marks the beginning of our plastic-free journey.

Year 6 were also treated to bespoke unseen footage from Blue Planet and a message from Sir David Attenborough, put together by Blue Planet 2 Producer and friend to the Academy, Johnathan Smith.

Principal Mr Baker said: “These last few weeks have been incredibly exciting for our students as they embrace an initiative that our Eco Club created. This alongside our fantastic staff, our student helpers and our brand new science rooms, meant the buzz around school was incredible.”

“A special thank you to our Prefects who were truly amazing in showing the students around, answering questions, and helping them get the most out of their day here.”

Deputy Head Girl, Sophie, spent the day with Year 6. She said: “It’s such a great day for the younger students of St Austell and it was wonderful to see their confidence grow throughout the day. They just looked like they had so much fun which is what it’s all about.”

Split into three ocean groups – Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific – Year 6 spent the day at Penrice, trying their hand at Science, English, Sport and Geography. Each lesson was themed on plastic; from using a microscope to investigate how much plastic can be seen in a sample of beach sand in Science, to writing inspiring ‘messages in a bottle’ to the St Austell community.

Open Evening saw the children return with their families to see the Academy in action. Visitors enjoyed music in the square, a whole range of sports in the Sports Hall, a trip back in time to the Tudor period and an Art Department dedicated to thinking about how we can change our environment for the better.

We were also joined by St Austell Mayor Gary King, who is leading the Plastic Free St Austell campaign with Surfers Against Sewage.

Gary said: “The children at Penrice are making a terrific effort to support the ambitions of Plastic Free St Austell by publicising the Surfers Against Sewage message, which challenges everybody to eliminate single use plastics from our seas and make the coastlines and the whole of Cornwall plastic free.”

Tilly, Hallie and Ellie, Eco Club members who first pitched the idea to staff in summer 2018, gave their own presentations to Year 6.

Hallie said: “It’s so important to help inspire people of all ages and it’s time for everyone to ask themselves – what will my plastic pledge be?”

Following the presentations during the day, Year 6 wrote their Plastic Pledges – ideas of how they would personally cut down on plastic – which were displayed in the garden for parents to find.

Mrs Gurd said: “This year’s Open Day was about more than showcasing the school – which our staff and students do spectacularly. It’s also been about the wonderfully bright and caring young people at Penrice inspiring our town to make the small changes that will have an impact worldwide. And we can’t wait to see what’s next.”

See more pictures in our Gallery.