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Tell Millennium Watch;Briefing

Aleks Sierz visits pupils at school in the shadow of the Dome, exploring what it means tolive in Greenwich.

THE 210 children at Annandale primary are in a good position to take on millennium projects - they can see the Dome from school. "We need to help them understand what the Dome is and what it's doing," says headteacher Dave Edwards.

His deputy, Amanda Dennison, and another teacher, Andrea Nott, have both been involved - with other Greenwich teachers - in writing the "Time to make a difference" pack. It offers ideas about how children can use the Dome, and has been sent to every school in the area.

The pack, all about the significance of the year 2000, is full of curriculum ideas for key stage 1 and KS2.

Also included are ideas for KS3 and KS4, and a useful teachers' resource pack which explores the geography of the Dome. Dennison and Nott have also worked on Greenwich's "Our town story" pack.

"In September, we start our own town story project," says Edwards. "We are going to follow a Greenwich primary-age child through the periods of history during the last millennium."

Annandale teachers have also devised a trail to guide children through the New Millennium visitors' centre, next to the Cutty Sark tea clipper, which has a model and lots of pictures about what's going to be in the Dome's various zones.

The children have also been busy. Last year, the 30-strong Year 6 performed a five-minute leaving show called "Time to make a difference", which looked at the past and the future, using acting, music, dance and rap.

Four pupils from Year 6 were interviewed for television when Peter Mandelson, the former trade and industry secretary, opened the millennium exhibition and Year 5 children have written words and music for the Marks and Spencer "Song for the Millennium" competition.

Last year, "Year 5 also did a study of structures," says Edwards, "and then went up to meet the architects of the Dome".

Later this year, Year 5 will do a project called "The peopling of Greenwich" about migration to Greenwich through the ages, which will include material on how the millennium celebrations are bringing more people into the area."

Originally, the project was devised to help children understand why we live in a mixed community, says Edwards. This was especially relevant after recent race murders - "we felt we needed to heighten awareness about why people come here".

Pupils come from a wide social mix, with 25 per cent from ethnic minorities, plus occasional refugee children. Often, migrants have been victims of war - in Somalia, Angola and Kosovo.

"The sad thing about refugees is that even when they come to Greenwich they often have short-term housing and soon have to move on again - and the ones that suffer most are the children," says Edwards.

Tell Millennium Watch about your school's project for the new century. Fax Heather Neill on 0171 782 3200 or e-mail her at

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