Education & Family

Teachers reward pupils with Gangnam Style performance

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Media captionGetting good results Gangnam Style

A head and 50 teachers rewarded their pupils' hard work with a shot-by-shot re-creation of the YouTube hit video Gangnam Style.

Penketh High School head teacher Jeff Hughes had promised to perform the dance at his school leavers' assembly if the pupils hit their targets.

The Warrington school is poised for its most successful round of GCSE results.

Mr Hughes said he had wanted to motivate pupils to work hard, but also to have fun and be part of something.

The 58-year-old head, who is due to retire at the end of the school year, said the promise to perform Psy's hit dance came very much on the spur of the moment.

"It was just before Christmas and we were trying to put together a motivational message for the pupils, and there were a lot of people saying, 'Work hard and do this and do that'. I said if you hit your targets I would stand up and do a Gangnam Style dance in the school leavers' assembly.

"And with us being a specialist media school the media team said, 'Why don't we re-create the whole music video?' "

'Strong relationships'

He added that what began with a throwaway comment took on a life of its own with the teachers practising secretly after school so the pupils did not find out.

When it came to the leavers' assembly last Friday, Mr Hughes came on to the stage dressed as the Korean star doing the dance, to the great amusement of his pupils.

Then he stopped suddenly and said: "And that's not all." The media team quickly flicked on the full version of the music video.

Image caption Head teacher Jeff Hughes took to the Psy role with relish

Mr Hughes said schools, especially ones such as his own - which is labelled as requiring improvement by Ofsted - were under a great deal of pressure to improve.

He added: "I think sometimes it's important that we develop strong relationships with young people.

"It's not just about authority. We have to get them to see that we are human, and I think a bit of fun can help relieve the stresses and the strains."

'Out with a bang'

The pupils' targets included high levels of attendance, taking part in extra revision sessions after school and at half-term, and efforts to have high numbers of pupils achieving more than the average progress during their school careers.

Mr Hughes said he had been astonished by the reaction to the film, which received 110,000 hits on You Tube in the first week after it was posted.

Jonathon Kay, head of media development at the school, said the school had received messages from parents, prospective parents, pupils whom Mr Hughes had taught 25 years ago and from people all over the world.

He said of Mr Hughes: "This man has been in education for about 35 years but he has been moving with the times and now he is going out with a bang because he is retiring this summer. The kids think it's absolutely fantastic."

Mr Hughes added: "Never in a million years did I expect so much attention! It is fantastic for the school and it's a great memory for me on a personal level too."

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