James Hawthorn is Deputy Headteacher at Sacred Heart Primary School in Tipton. In January he kept a daily blog for parents - diary style - to record his most recent visit to Ingestre Arts. He has kindly allowed us to reproduce it as a step-by-step insight in to a full week with Key Stage 2 pupils. 
You can see the diary in full with pictures at 


Hello from Ingestre! All the children have settled in and had a go at making their beds. There were some interesting results, but with a bit of guidance and support, they all now have a bed to sleep in, that looks like a bed! 
Following a tour of the building with their tutors, we all had a very hearty dinner of sausage & mash with several children going up for seconds. This was followed by discussion about the wide variety of arts and then the children had their introductory session with their specialist tutors, getting to know them and starting to generate ideas and basic skills for their week's projects. 
Tea was baked potatoes, beans, cheese and tuna toppings, followed by Sam's birthday treat and some chocolate crispie cakes. In the evening after tuck shop the children enjoyed watching The Lion King in the centre's cinema, before retiring to bed. 


Your children have been amazing. the amount of creative work they have produced in dance, music, drama and art is incredible. they have worked so hard, learnt new skills, and really supported each other well. they have been a credit to you, Thank you for sending them along.  
After a busy days work and having been well-fed, we went on a night hike in the snow. The sounds of the countryside at night are so different from living in town, and when our eyes had adjusted to the darkness, we could actually see so much. 
We are now looking forward to an exciting day tomorrow. the children have a full day of creative workshops, where they will continue to develop their work, and I'm sure grow in confidence. 
Quote of the day -  
"Watching each others presentations and seeing what others had done" 


Another wonderful day. We woke to a clear blue sky and winter sunshine glistening off the light blanket of snow that covered the countryside. The children have settled in to their routines and are even competing for the tidiest bedroom award with children working as a team to make sure they are chosen. You never know, these skills might transfer in to their own bedrooms at home as they help you with all those household chores! 
At lunchtime some of the children ventured in to the snow for a good old-fashioned play with much laughter and giggles, especially when Mr Hawthorn got snowballed! 
The Music group - Began recording their music and lyrics using professional mixing software and keyboards. the quality was amazing. 
The Drama group - the children developed further scenes within their performance. We can see the confidence and focus really developing. 
The Dance group - The children continued with their high level of creativity, piecing together the next sections of their production. 
The Art group - The children continued with their high level of creativity, assing to the work they started yesterday. You will be amazed at the quality of art they have been able to produce by having such a focussed week.  


our last full day at Ingestre Hall dawned; children stirred in their beds and tired teachers stretched their limbs. This was the big day - The Sharing Day. It was what the Ingestre experience was all about. The children woke very excited as they prepared for their final workshops and presentations. The art group were still producing yet more new ideas; the music group were learning the art of live performance; the drama group were piecing together all their scenes and the dance group were polishing their routines. 
We have been incredibly well fed, and today was no different. Lunch was a wonderful chicken pie with lashings of lush gravy. It was eagerly devoured by children and staff after a busy session of workshops. 
The children should be so proud of the work they have created. After final preparations we went to look at the artwork. They have clearly gained so much from working with a professional artist and their confidence has grown throughout the week.  

    Take a tour of Ingestre's fully interactive WWI exhibition 

Next we were treated to a moving performance from the drama group. Goodness gracious me - they have made such progress from Monday! All the ideas were their own and told the story of life during The First World War. By the end there was a tear in my eye as they finished with a Rememberance Day poem.  
Then came the work of the dance group - energy, control and superb storytelling through the medium of dance. They really have worked so well and all that effort paid off in a powerful and emotional piece of creative dance, finishing with a section to the war poem 'In Flanders Fields'. 
Finally, we had the excitement of music produced by two new bands. Having created their own lyrics and melodies, they added drums, keyboard and guitar accompaniments. their live performances had the whole group clapping along, whilst their lyrics told an important story, 
We must say a huge thank you to the whole team at Ingestre Hall for giving our children such a memorable and worthwhile leaarning experience. They are a highly talented team and know how to bring out the very best in children. All the children have shown our 4 values - Respect, Responsibility, Resilience, and Resourcefulness and they should be extremely proud of themselves. 
"They are a highly talented team and know how to bring out the very best in children." 
James Hwthorn is Deputy Headteacher at Sacred Heart Primary School in Tipton, Sandwell. 
The WWI exhibition at Ingestre Hall is a fully interactive recreation of a WWI clearing hospital.  
The 3D imaging was created by ScanTech Digital. 
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