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Staff and students at Thomas Gainsborough School are celebrating after becoming the first in Suffolk to achieve the prestigious Heritage Schools Award.

The award, given out by Heritage England, recognises schools which have engaged with and made significant contribution to preserving and recording their local heritage.

Year 9 students at Thomas Gainsborough School were praised for working with partners on the development of the ‘Sudbury Silk Stories’ project, a Heritage Lottery-funded multimedia project led by Babergh District Council.

Ed Clark, assistant headteacher and project lead at TGS, said: “The way the students engaged with this exciting project, and the way they conducted themselves throughout, was highly impressive and emblematic of why we are so proud of the students at Thomas Gainsborough School.

“To be the first school to achieve the heritage award in Suffolk is a great recognition of the work the students and teachers have put into this important heritage project.”
Wayne Lloyd, headteacher, added: “Thomas Gainsborough School are delighted and honoured to be the first school in Suffolk to be accredited as a Heritage School.

“At the core of our work in school is the belief that we have a duty to ensure that young people understand their place and position within their local community.”
As part of the project, students conducted interviews with members of the silk industry, both past and present, recorded and edited footage in coordination with a media company and even became qualified oral historians in order to formally enter their interviews and findings into the historical record.

Kate Argyle, local heritage education manager at Historic England, said: “The silk industry in Sudbury has a proud and long tradition and Thomas Gainsborough School pupils have played a key part in bringing this fascinating heritage to life as part of the Sudbury Silk Stories project.

Those pupils who worked as oral historians and interviewers met people who share a real passion for their work and they impressed everyone with their insightful questions.

I also want this award to recognise the willingness and enthusiasm of all the teachers who supported the project.”
You can view the Sudbury Silk Stories project at https://www.sudburysilkstories.com/.