This Morning viewers were left in tears after watching a fundraising appeal from students and staff at a school for young people with special needs.
Presenter Dr Ranj visited Catcote School in Hartlepool today to learn more about the school’s ‘lip-dub’ videos, which sees pupils performing over popular songs to help raise funds to support their end of term musicals.
All of the children at the school have learning difficulties or disabilities, which mean they struggle to communicate. Teachers have found that performing arts are really beneficial to their development, but funding for the department is essentially non-existent.
Staff and students at the academy were left in tears as This Morning promised to double their fundraising total with a donation of £9,000, including a personal £5K contribution from Holly and Phil.
While staff and students described how performing arts at the school changed their lives, viewers at home were left reaching for the tissues as they welled up over the programme.
Staff and students at the school in Hartlepool were overwhelmed as This Morning promised to double their fundraising total with a donation of £9,000
Viewers at home were left in tears over the emotional segment, with one saying that performing arts could ‘work wonders’ for children with learning difficulties
One tweeted: ‘Fair play Holly and Phil, that made me cry!’
Another wrote:’ My little cousin was non-verbal also and something like this would have worked wonders for him. Honestly I’d back this in a heartbeat.’
The school caters for children with a variety of different needs, including learning difficulties, autism, social, emotional, mental health difficulties, communicative difficulties and/or life limiting conditions.
And Dr Ranj explained that the idea to create the ‘lip dub videos’ to help fundraise for the department was dreamed up by head of performing arts at the Catcote Academy, teacher Rick Kitson.
Teacher Rick Kitson organised ‘lip dub videos’ to help raise attention to their fundraising efforts
He said that performing musicals made a huge difference for students at the school, but that they struggled with funding to buy essential equipment like microphones and sets.
The school have since created two of the videos to empowering songs This is Me from the musical The Greatest Showman, and Roar by Katy Perry.
In the videos staff and students don colourful costumes as they walk through the college grounds, mouthing the words and dancing along to the pop hits.
Rick explained: ‘It’s quite popular in schools in America and stumbled across it online and thought we could make an amazing job of it and we did.’
Rick explained that the performing arts department could help to make a massive change to children with special needs
Mother Julie said her son Sam, who is non-verbal, loved being involved in the performing arts at the school
He added:’The songs represent us and the students so well.
‘A lot of people who might not know might think special schools are a sad place to work but really they’re so happy and joyous and they’re empowering, and the kids are so resilient.’
‘We love putting shows on, but we need equipment, microphones, sets hired.’
Meanwhile headteacher Alan Chapman explained: ‘Like every school we’re facing huge government cuts so we have to think of creative ways to make these special events to raise money to achieve happy memories for the children.’
Headteacher Alan Chapman explained that staff had been inspired to think of creative ways to raise money for the department after they faced government cuts
Student Liam could barely contain his excitement on the programme, and said the performing arts department ‘meant a lot’ to him
Dr Ranj went on to speak to Sam and his mother Julie, with the emotional mum revealing her non-verbal son loved the performing arts lessons at the academy.
She said: ‘He absolutely love coming to school. No matter what their ability, they’re all involved in the performing arts. And they focus on what the children can do and not what they can’t do.’
Meanwhile excited student Liam added: ‘It means a lot to me, from when I first started at the school. It’s the second year we’ve done this now and I’ve got so much of it.’
Teacher Rick explained to Dr Ranj that the school was still seeking an additional £3,500 to reach their fundraising goal to put on next year’s school musical.
Staff and students at the school could barely contain their emotion as Holly and Phil revealed they would donate £9,000 to the department
And the staff and students were amazed to hear that This Morning would donate thousands of pounds to ensure they met their fundraising target.
Meanwhile in the studio, a touched Holly and Phil revealed they would donate an additional £5,000 to the school, ensuring the performing arts department would be able to put on a musical for the next two years.
While teacher Rick burst into tears, viewers could hardly contain their emotion over the segment and took to Twitter to share their emotional thoughts.
One wrote: ‘Omg the people on #thismorning raising money for their performing school are soooooo cute & absolutely love what they do! They must be so proud!
Viewers were left in tears over the emotional segment, with one writing they had ‘goosebumps’ watching it
Another commented:’Omg my heart is so overwhelmed at #thismorning. These kids have brightened my day.’
‘Aww that’s fab,’ another added.
Meanwhile one wrote: ‘Just saw the clip of Catcote school on This Morning, how amazing are they! Gave me goosebumps watching it.’