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Consilium Academies is a multi-academy Trust working across the North of England. It has nine academy schools located in Yorkshire, the North West, and the North East. Consilium is dedicated to enriching lives and inspiring ambitions for both students and colleagues.

Thornhill Academy Students Excel at Orwell Youth Prize Regional Hub Event

Thornhill Academy is proud to announce the outstanding participation and achievement of a  group of Year 10 students at the recent Orwell Youth Prize regional hub event held at Sunderland University. The Orwell Youth Prize, a social-justice based writing competition honouring the legacy of George Orwell, was attended by 43 students from Thornhill Academy.


The event featured a series of creative writing and critical thinking workshops centred around the theme of 'Home'. Guided by Orwell's writing and inspired by discussions on social justice and political activism, the students had the unique opportunity to develop their creative writing skills and join in lively debates.


Highlighting the significance of the occasion, students were privileged to meet George Orwell's son, Richard Blair, further deepening their connection to the renowned author's legacy. Each student was gifted a copy of Orwell's ‘Some Thoughts on the Common Toad’ with the opportunity to have it signed by Mr Blair himself.


The day's activities challenged and inspired the students, who enthusiastically participated in various creative writing tasks. Several students from Thornhill Academy, including Arshad, Harrison, Maaz, Daniella, and Oluwaseunfunmi, volunteered to present their work.


Nicola Anderson, Lead Practitioner for English at Thornhill, expressed how proud she felt of the group: “Just to emphasise the scale of the achievement of the students: they volunteered to present on behalf of their groups in a lecture theatre, in front of university lecturers and students, along with other secondary schools, MPs and George Orwell's son. They were confident, articulate and knowledgeable in their delivery making me so incredibly proud.”


Sue Hamilton, Headteacher at Thornhill, remarked on their achievement: “All of the Thornhill students who attended were true ambassadors for the school and I’ve had nothing but positive feedback about their visit and the high quality of their work. One guest in attendance, who happens to be a governor at our school, wrote to me to say how eloquent the pupils’ presentation was and how they ‘spoke with great clarity and confidence about the diversity of their school and how all the various cultures have different experiences regarding home’.”


This event marked a significant milestone for many students, for whom it was their first visit to a university. Based on the high calibre of their work, the students have been encouraged by Sunderland University to enter the Orwell creative writing competition.


As Thornhill Academy continues to foster opportunities for growth and learning, the next venture, led by the history department, promises to further enrich students' understanding of local history and social activism through collaboration with the Rebel Women of Sunderland project.