Page last updated at 23:04 GMT, Sunday, 29 June 2008 00:04 UK

Young people to shine at festival

Students from Denbigh High School, Luton, spell out the word shine to help celebrate the launch of the Shine festival.
The Shine festival will take place in schools across England

Nearly 2,500 schools are set to take part in England's first national schools festival designed to showcase talent in young people.

Thousands of events will take place across the country as part of Shine week, in which almost 350 different talents will be celebrated.

Schools secretary Ed Balls said he hoped the festival would "unlock young people's potential".

The festival will take place in schools from 30 June to 4 July.

About one million students are expected to participate in the festival, and almost 350 different skills in dance, music, film, sport and science have been identified by the young people themselves.

Talents being celebrated range from the invention of a recyclable orchestra and the creation of the next generation of Wallace and Gromit animation, to caring and leadership.

Celebrity support

Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, said he had witnessed many activities in schools which were designed to "unlock young people's potential".

Former Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq explains the Shine festival

"Every parent will agree with me that all children have a talent and I hope Shine will allow schools to bring every child together in a festival week and join the national campaign," he said.

Celebrity supporters of Shine include singer Alesha Dixon, Dragon's Den entrepreneur Peter Jones, Olympian Dame Kelly Holmes and Olympic diving hopeful Tom Daley.

Last year's Young BBC Sports Personality Tom Daley said: "I'm really proud to be supporting Shine so that schools and young people can have their talents recognised.

"I was spotted at my local swimming pool a year after I started diving, and now I'm preparing to represent my country at the Beijing and London Olympics."




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