New pottery project gets pupils fired up
POTTERY lessons have gone back on the curriculum at four schools thanks to help from a national scheme.
More than 200 pupils from schools in Stoke-on-Trent have produced their own mugs, tiles and other ceramic pieces after getting involved in Fired Up.
The project was organised by the charity Crafts Council and saw three teachers from each of the schools receive training from Staffordshire University.
They then took the skills back to the classroom to encourage the youngsters to get creative.
Work they created is now on display at the university as part of its Fringe programme of events.
A launch event for the exhibition took place on Saturday.
John Webber, Staffordshire University's Firing Up co-ordinator, said: "I am amazed at the quality of work the children have produced.
"Although the project is over, we are hoping new things will come out of it.
"We have built up some great relationships and want the teachers to come up with new projects and other schools to get involved."
Schools involved in the project were Birches Head High School, Sandon Business and Enterprise College, The Co-operative Academy at Brownhills and Thistley Hough High School.
All of the schools already had kilns, but the project paid for them to be either refurbished or replaced.
Equipment and materials were also provided.
Artists also visited the schools during the project.
Forty-five Year 11 pupils from Sandon Business and Enterprise College, in Meir, created decorated tiles made from Ibstock bricks.
Another 15 pupils from the lower school made their own mugs.
Lynda Davies, the school's head of art and design, said: "The children got a lot of confidence from the project and picked up technical skills.
"We bring the children to the degree show each year and now their work is being exhibited alongside it.
"The children are really made up with that."
She added: "The project was wonderful.
"We have got a brand new school and had kilns fitted already but this gave us the confidence to use them."
Thistley Hough High, in Penkhull, had 16 Year Nine pupils involved in the project.
They created pieces featuring different patterns, textures and words aimed at showing what they are like as an individual.
Julie Rogers, lead teacher for arts and design, said: "It is really important that the children understand their local area and its history with the pottery industry but also to bring it up to date and see how it may impact their lives.
"This was a very personal project based on their cultures.
"We had bits of Urdu and Arabic as well as patterns designed by the pupils, and some of them stamped textures into the clay from things around the school.
"It encouraged the pupils to really explore who they are and the world around them."
The Fired Up exhibition runs alongside the university's art and design degree show.
It can be seen in the Dwight building, on the College Road campus, between 10am and 4pm all this week.
Children from Cheslyn Hay Sport and Community High School, near Cannock, were also involved.