Waterlooville school gears up for Rock Challenge final

Purbrook Park School won the Rock Challenge Southern Open Finals in April and will compete in the National Finals this weekend
Purbrook Park School won the Rock Challenge Southern Open Finals in April and will compete in the National Finals this weekend
Pupils, parents and teachers celebrate the new England manager Gareth Southgate attended Padnell Infant School. Picture: Habibur Rahman

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THE atmosphere is electric at a school in high spirits, as some of its pupils gear up for the finals of a national dance competition.

Out of the 324 schools to enter Rock Challenge this year, Purbrook Park School in Waterlooville made it to the final nine, winning the Southern Open Finals in April with their piece ‘Call of the Crystal’.

Pupils will travel to the Magna Science and Adventure Centre in Rotheram to compete against other schools for the crown at the National Finals on Saturday.

Dance teacher and head of performing arts at the school, Amy Taylor, said: ‘We are the only school in Hampshire to have got through this year and only the third in Hampshire to have ever got through.’

‘The school has entered the competition for 12 years. Three years ago we won the Southern Open Finals but as the National Finals take place every three years, we missed out on competing at the highest level.

‘It's a massive achievement. We are so proud of the students and the team we have behind us.’

In April ‘Call of the Crystal’ won all ten awards of excellence available for the performance criteria, plus awards for stage crew and video performance. 

It is loosely based on the book The Dark Crystal and tells the story of a crystal that goes missing and splits the world into good and evil, and about a mission to restore the world back to peace and harmony.

Amy added: ‘I know we have our work cut out but I believe in the piece. At Purbrook, we like to tell a story and be creative and have something with a happy, upbeat feeling.

‘This is the biggest competition there is.’

The 100-odd pupils, from years 7-11, are dedicating the performance to one of their dance teachers, Becky Smith, who due to undergoing breast cancer treatment will not be present.

Imogen Harrison, from Year 9, said: ‘I love Rock Challenge because I get to meet people in different years and it boosts my confidence dancing in front of a big audience.

‘There is always such an amazing atmosphere on the day too.’

Stage crew member Abs Ahmed, from Year 7, said: ‘I love being able to help people and there is a real sense of team work being involved.’

Rock Challenge is produced by the Be Your Best Foundation.