Pupils from a Telford school are celebrating today after their artwork was crowned overall winner of the 2016 Arts & Minds competition organised by the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK.

Arts & Minds is an annual, UK-wide competition aimed at promoting race equality and diversity in schools. Children and young people from primary, secondary and special schools are judged in two categories: art and creative writing.

The winning entry, a captivating collection of artwork entitled ‘Faces of the World’ was produced by a group of Year 9 pupils from Ercall Wood Technology College, Telford. The piece shows a series of individual faces made to look like they are part of a film strip.

The entry had already been selected from hundreds of entries from across the UK as a winner in the secondary school group artwork competition.

It went on to be chosen as the overall winner by TV presenter and Arts & Minds competition judge Gok Wan.

The pupils from the school - Sydney Cattell, Georgia Clarke, Katie Jarvis, Jessica Johnson, Charlotte Jones, Alex Moore, Áine Sweeney, Maria Wills - received their award at a national awards ceremony in London today. The Head of Art at the school is Gemma Hayman.

Gok Wan said of the winning entry:

“I love the way the pictures have become film strips. It’s clever, it’s beautiful, and it’s elegant. You instantly know and identify with it.

“Every single one of these images has been done differently but they all talk to each other, they all marry.

“The construction of the face, the light and shade with the colouring, it is just beautiful. If you look at every one of these faces you are told a story.”

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

“Huge congratulations to the pupils at Ercall Wood Technology College.

“Their powerful artwork perfectly captures the competition’s message of celebrating equality and diversity.

“The effort and level of detail is fantastic in each element of the photo strip, and each section could stand alone. There is clearly a lot of research behind the piece, and you can see the effort that has gone into its creation.

“The judges found it particularly hard to choose the winners, as the standard of entries throughout the competition was very high across all the age groups and categories.

“Pupils and their teachers have obviously worked very hard to produce such highly imaginative entries, and to come up with new and thought-provoking ways to convey the important issues of diversity and equality.”

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