Students get creative to tackle prejudice and promote diversity


“What’s the problem?” A provocative and thought-provoking photograph has won the top prize in this year’s NASUWT Arts and Minds Awards.

“What’s the problem?” A provocative and thought-provoking photograph has won the top prize in this year’s Arts and Minds Awards.

With the above title, the image (shown above) was created and taken by a group of eight year 12 students and explores the issue of faith in the community.

The winning students are from Dawn House School in Nottinghamshire, which specialises in providing education for young people with severe or complex communication difficulties.

Arts and Minds is organised by the NASUWT and encourages students to tackle issues of diversity and race equality using creative writing or artwork. 

It is supported by a range of organisations including SecEd, our sister title Primary Teacher Update, the Anne Frank Trust, Love Music Hate Racism and others.

A total of 13 national winners have been chosen this year from primary, secondary and special schools and they were unveiled at a ceremony last week in central London. 

Two Dawn House students, Alex Kendrick-Allen and Thomas Hitchen (pictured above, left to right), represented their peers at the ceremony. Thomas said: “We wanted to show it doesn’t matter what kind of person you are, what you look like or how you dress because it doesn’t change who you are. I feel privileged to win.”

The winning entry was chosen by the television presenter Gok Wan, who said: “It is really relevant to today. The message behind the picture is about unity, community spirit, forgiveness and acceptance, regardless of where you are in the world. That is why I think it is absolutely beautiful and brilliant.”

Dawn House teacher, Andrew Metcalfe, added: “Our school is big on diversity and difference and we all celebrate it. These pupils are really good at photography and I am really glad that has been recognised.” 

Elsewhere in the competition, the winner of the Anne Frank Poetry Award, which the NASUWT runs with the Anne Frank Trust, is Maitri Pindolia, a year 10 student from Watford Grammar School for Girls, for her poem One Ordinary Child in Extraordinary Circumstances, published below.

Gillian Walnes, co-founder of the Anne Frank Trust, who presented Maitri with her prize (pictured above), said: “Maitri’s description of Anne Frank as a budding flower cut down and blossoming through the publication of her diary is so powerful and thought-provoking and also very emotive.”

Of the winning entry, Chris Keates, NASUWT general secretary, said: “Their powerful artwork perfectly captures the competition’s message of celebrating equality and diversity.”

She added: “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.”

A full list of secondary winners is below and for information about the competition, visit

The Anne Frank Award Winner

One Ordinary Child in Extra Ordinary Circumstances
By Maitri Pindolia, year 10, Watford Grammar School for Girls
One bright flower – in six million – begins to bloom
Her roots; her lionhearted helpers
Her stem; her nurturing family
Her leaves; her principled personality
The bud; a child named Anne Frank
And the flower; their immortal inspiration


One ordinary girl, like any other
Dreads, dreams, desires
School, home, family
A diary, a desk, an imagination
The bud starts to peep out, like a shy child behind their mother


The girl’s circumstances changed, her dreams did not
Her school friends, her neighbours, her kind are being captured
Stuck in an annex, the silence engulfs her
She must stay inside in the dark at times, to stay alive, to survive
This bud closes up slightly
Even though it is stuck in a storm, the bud remains strong, optimistic, wise
She writes in a diary to shake off everything


For Anne a cycle repeats itself: She wakes, she eats, she writes, she sleeps
As she writes, the time slips by like a silent mouse
She says: “I am too positive to be doubtful, too optimistic to be fearful, and too determined to be defeated.”
The bud blooms rapidly.

Arts and Minds 2014: Secondary-age winners

Overall Winner: What’s the Problem? Artwork by Alex Kendrick-Allen, Daniel Hatfield, Declan Ward, Hannah Jackson, James Gilhooly, Joseph Kirk, Joshua Shephard, Thomas Hitchen, year 12, Dawn House School, Nottinghamshire

Creative Writing: Why You? by Amy Foote, year 7, South Wilts Grammar School for Girls (pictured below)

Creative Writing: A Welsh Irish Lad by Kieron Rodgers, year 8, Ysgol Brynrefail, North Wales (pictured below)

Creative Writing: Acting Activist by Natalie Goldson, year 11, St Pius Catholics High School, Rotherham (pictured below)

Creative Writing: You Will Never Be Safe by Tajsharn Cummings, year 10, Oakhill Secure Training Centre, Milton Keynes (pictured below)

Artwork: Unmask Yourself by Ashmita Gookorluk, year 8, Harris Academy, Surrey (pictured below)

Artwork: As Others See Us by 26 students from year 9 at Thornhill School Business and Enterprise College, Sunderland (pictured below are students Alex, Shorifa, and Georgia, top to bottom, who represented their peers at the ceremony)

Artwork: Portrait by Will, Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre, Rugby (No photo)


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