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Posted on 10th November 2017
On Friday 19th May Burnt Mill Academy hosted a event which will be remembered as one of the highlights of the school’s 50+ years. Following an online entry and on air competition, the school was chosen as the winners of Brekfest, hosted by The Christian O’Connell Breakfast Show on Absolute Radio.
A pitch was submitted by the trust’s Media Officer, Adam Smith resulting in an invitation to talk to the hosts on air and explain the pitch. A week later a phone call was received to inform that the school had been shortlisted. The next stage of the competition was to deliver the pitch again, this time in 30 seconds, going head to head with another contestant. This was for the last spot in the final, and in the morning on Friday 5th May we were informed that we had secured a place and were in the final 4.
For the final the task was to rewrite the lyrics to, and record and version of a song by the band Kasabian. Burnt Mill students Paige Andrews-Ellis, Laura Cook, Alfie Gorman and Georgia Samuels were enlisted and put the pitch to the music. The song was submitted on the Friday afternoon with the winner due to be announced the following Monday morning.
Staff had started to gather early to listen in to the Monday morning show. The 4 entries were played and the show went to song whilst the show hosts and producers decided their winner. At around 08:15 on the morning of Friday 5th May we were announced as the winners.
The prize was the hosting of Brekfest, a live broadcast of the Christian O’Connell Breakfast Show on Absolute Radio with a special live performance from Kasabian, who later that week went to number 1 in the UK album charts. As well as the hosting of the festival, show sponsors Wickes and VIY will work with young people from the school to carry out some renovation works in the main hall.
Our Head Boy Alex and Head Girl Tasfia spoke to host Christian O’Connell on air during the lead up to the event and agreed to take on the responsibility of introducing the band. Head Teacher Mr Blaney also had some air time and was quizzed about the children and his behaviour expectations of Kasabian.
Due to the size of the hall there were limited spaces available for students and staff. First refusal for places was offered to the school’s GCSE music students, who can use their experience of the event in their coursework. For the remaining places students were able to sign up to a lottery.
On Friday 19th May at 6am the live broadcast began, with just the radio hosts and crew present in the hall. The school staff and children started to assemble outside the hall and were welcomed in by show host Christian O’Connell and co-host Richie Firth, in full Burnt Mill uniform.
The show included some on air games involving the teachers - ‘Tool Do You Do’ saw Mr Neale win a Wickes voucher for his impression of a drill and ‘Guess The PE Teacher’ resulted in a listener phoning in and winning tickets for the Isle Of Wight Festival for correctly identifying Mr Dawes.
As a warm up for the live performance from Kasabian, our school Ukulele group had been invited to perform the Kasabian hit ‘Fire’ along with co-host Richie Firth on ukulele and vocals. Head of Performing Arts, Mrs Casey, has been listening in to the show in the week and speaking to the host to check in on Richie’s progress.
Co-host Richie also sat a GCSE Stats exam as part of the show. Marked my maths teacher Mrs Peiris, she was unable to award him one correct mark.
Kasabian were using the head teacher’s office as their green room, and prior to taking the stage were doing a warm up which Mr Blaney has described as one of the most surreal moments of his teacher career. They took to the stage and were introduced by Alex and Tasfia, performing 3 songs as well as engaging in a Q&A session with students, offering advice on songwriting and what it’s like to be in a successful band.
After the band’s performance the broadcast continued with the students in the hall whilst Kasabian joined the rest of the students from the school outside for a group photo. When the broadcast finished the hosts pose for photos with students and staff and every student involved was given a copy of Christian O’Connell’s children’s book ‘Radio Boy.’ He was also kind enough to donate some extra copies for the school library and some to go to our primaries.
A podcast of the broadcast is available on absoluteradio.co.uk
Photos from the event can be seen here.
Our winning entry -