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Bristol - Excluded pupils in animation triumph

Excluded pupils have beaten off rivals from large schools as part of a competition to stop knife crime and drug and alcohol abuse.

Despite having little hi-tech equipment or tuition, children at the Whitehouse Centre pupil referral unit, in a tough estate in Hartcliffe, have won this year's Sharp Shotz animation contest, a collaboration between Aardman Animation, the Bristol company that makes Wallace and Gromit (pictured), the University of West of England and the BBC. Their short story will now be made into an animation and sent to all secondary schools in the South West.

The four Year 10 pupils, who chose the subject, are working with senior staff at Aardman and UWE students. The film and a soundtrack, made by children who won another competition, will be put together at Peter Gabriel's studios near Bath.

Marian McMeechan, the centre's headteacher, said the children were thrilled by their achievement.

"It's provided them with so many opportunities to get out of the pupil referral unit and experience higher education for the first time," she said.

The Whitehouse Centre pupils will pick their music later this month and the film will be premiered in early July. km.

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