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The Young Curators


Our much-loved Grade II listed Town Hall in Hugh Town, St Mary’s, has always been a place for the community to gather and to welcome visitors. Now, supported by the Council of the Isles of Scilly, there are plans to rejuvenate that legacy, by creating a new Museum and Cultural Centre: a place for people of all ages to get involved in activities, entertainment, skills development, learning, or just the chance to relax with friends and family over a cuppa. The Town Hall will house new museum exhibits to tell our Scillonian story, for residents and visitors fascinated with our island home, supported by archival research facilities. There will be a performance space for live events and presentations, spaces for community use and a café overlooking Porthcressa beach. The building will celebrate our beautiful natural landscape, distinctive architecture and meet the highest standards of environmental sustainability.


An enthusiastic group of Five Islands Academy students have been working with the Museum team to contribute to the design and planning of this exciting new project. In this video, the Young Curators share why Scilly's heritage, and a new Museum and Cultural Centre, matters to them. These Young Voices have been active in campaigning for and feeding into plans and proposals, championing their community and Scillonian story every step of the way.

Scilly Young Curators - Young Voices for a new Museum and Cultural Centre

Sustainable Scilly: October Project Week 2022


Our latest Project Week Prospectus has just been launched! Please click below to read all about the incredible opportunities on offer for our students this week. The Project Week has a coherent mission and purpose, educating our young people about sustainability both locally and globally. It has grown out of July 2021’s fantastic Eco-Conference at Five Islands Academy which saw students and businesses make pledges about how to be sustainable on Scilly. As a school, we made a series of commitments to become more sustainable and now, a year on, we are revisiting these with our community partners. 

Four areas of development
In Sustainable Scilly, we are going to focus on four key areas. These have been chosen in collaboration between FIA, the Eco-team, AONB, IoS Council, Wildlife Trust, the Museum, and other local stakeholders. They are:

  • Farming
  • Energy
  • Biodiversity 
  • Tourism


FIA Values

The value underpinning the whole of Project Week is ‘Equity’. This is based on the understanding that sustainability is about equity to future generations, equitable use of resources, equity for nature, and acknowledging how our privilege is a responsibility to be intentional about sustainability. 


Click here to find out what is on offer in our Sustainable Scilly Project Week, October 2022

Saving Lives at Sea: Project Week February 2020


Project Week 2 focused on a REAL (Rigorous, Engaging, Authentic Learning) approach to safety - particularly safety at sea. Students worked with a range of external partners: Brook, Sleepwise and the Police - all of whom helped students think about their own personal safety as part of their PSHE learning; the RNLI and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency - who connected students with their islands community, both past and present; and visiting artists from ARTiculate, who inspired both Primary and Secondary students with their 'Life Lights' workshops, creating willow models of lighthouses and ships that will be paraded through the night-time islands in a community event on 21st February.


Tutor groups from Years 7 to 10 were challenged to create a range of authentic outcomes to be presented to an audience on the final day of the week, all of which would need a collaborative, creative, curious approach. They had to write and perform their own sea shanty for a live 'shanty battle', research the history of their tutor group pilot gig and create a model large enough for at least one rower out of recycled materials, and research the history and heritage of saving lives at sea in Scilly, ready for a whole class presentation in which everyone would speak confidently to the audience.


You can click on this link to see a short movie trailer showcasing some of these outcomes:


Let's not F.A.I.L. the Planet! Project Week, November 2019


Over the past year, students from Five Islands Academy have been making their voices heard, along with the voices of young people all over the planet, to raise awareness of the urgency of tackling Climate Change. Project Week 1 aimed to translate the talking into action: what could we as an academy do to make a real difference, on a school level, a community level and a global level?


Our F.A.I.L. projects this week focused on:

F: Future Plans

A: Action

I: Information

L: Learning


Each tutor group had a different challenge, culminating in a whole school Exhibition on Friday to present our outcomes and launch our new Eco Team.


  • Year 10 visited the Isles of Scilly Council, SMART Islands and worked with Abi Wrigley to create an Eco-school online newspaper reporting on the week's activities and presenting interviews about sustainability.
  • Year 9 focused their research on waste and water, working with Darren Hart and Matt Thompson to reduce and monitor single-use plastic, make plans for more eco-friendly ways of managing food and water waste and educate younger years on water saving action.
  • Year 8 targeted energy use, taking energy walks round St Mary's and Tresco, auditing energy use in  school, working on the Porthcressa garden and presenting plans for a switch-off fortnight.
  • Year 7 researched recycling and transport, visiting the dump and its recycling centre, exploring the EV project and future transport on the islands and making plans for new recycling schemes in school.


Through this Project Week, we are taking action on our Green Charter:


We have decided as a school to do our bit to help address climate change. In collaboration with all the other secondary schools across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly we have drawn up a Green Charter for Schools.


The charter has two over-arching aims:


●As educators, we are committed to teach our young people to be environmentally literate and to develop their knowledge, skills, motivation and confidence to practice and promote sustainability in their community.

●As organisations, we are committed to ensure any decisions we make about our working practice take into account the impact on the environment, with the aim of adopting sustainable practices wherever possible.


To achieve our aims, we have all agreed to do the following:

1. Collectively declare a climate emergency in September 2019.

2. Attend the 2019 Cornwall Schools’ Eco-Conference and any subsequent conferences.

3. Gain Eco-School status within two years, then maintain it thereafter.

4. Significantly reduce the use of single-use plastic with the aim of becoming ‘plastic free’.

5. Create a garden, pond, orchard, vegetable plot, bee hive and/or farm on site.

6. Promote the benefits of eating less meat and aim to have a regular meat-free day.

7. Engage with parents & the local community to promote sustainable action in the home.

8. Engage with another school (nationally or internationally) about action in schools.

9. Support Isles of Scilly Council’s aim to become carbon neutral by:

●reducing energy consumption by at least 10%

●using some form of renewable energy source on site, where possible

●buying energy from renewable suppliers, where possible

10. Explore ways to lessen the impact of petrol and diesel vehicles on the environment.


On Friday 20th September we declared a climate emergency collectively with other schools. This was the same day of the second climate March. It's now time as a school for positive action.

Year 7 Museum Project September 2019


Our 2019-20 Museum Project is all about using artefacts from the Isles of Scilly Museum to introduce the Year 7 history curriculum to students at Five Islands School on St Mary’s. We have created a Pop Up Museum at the school, curated and presented by students with support from teachers, Museum staff and volunteers.


The project was set up in the wake of the enforced closure of the Isles of Scilly Museum building, which meant that the islands' precious history was no longer accessible to students or visitors. Could we rescue some of the artefacts and exhibit them at school? We began by selecting 50 artefacts which could tell the story of Scilly’s history, and working with Kate Hale, the Curator of the Museum, to exhibit them in Conference Room 1.


This was followed by Museum staff being involved in history lessons where pupils were helped to handle, analyse, identify and in some cases date, five different artefacts as a way of introducing four different periods of history which students would be studying. Students then selected specific objects that interested them and wrote presentations based on their interpretations and the artefacts' significance to Scilly history. These presentations where then given alongside a display of the artefacts to their peers, teachers and 30 visiting parents, museum staff, volunteers and trustees as part of the school’s Project Week.  


This Museum Project has been hugely exciting for our school, as it has given a new opportunity for local history to run like a golden thread through our children’s learning about the world. Being able to explore the history of real artefacts from the islands has brought different periods of history to life, particularly through structured artefact-handling sessions with the IOS Museum Curator.


We also linked our programme of study with the students’ Year 7 introduction to narrative scheme in English – using the artefacts as inspiration for carefully constructed narratives, which the children published in a leaflet and performed as storytellers for the community on our Pop Up Museum Open Day – helping us to see Museums as a place of story and imagination as well as history and conservation.


The Pop Up Museum is now being built into learning across all year groups: for example, Year 6 historians are learning about World War 2 this term, and asking questions about the ARP whistle and helmet in the exhibition, while Year 5 children studying the Victorians can explore a 19th century school log book, construction diagrams of the Bishop Rock lighthouse, smuggling posters and many more artefacts. Year 11 artists who have just been given their GCSE topic of ‘Sign of the Times’, are sketching artefacts to inspire their finished artwork.


We are delighted that staff from the Museum are giving up their time to come into school and work with student volunteers to help them become real ‘Young Curators’.

'Being Scilly' Magazine for Sale


Students at the Five Islands’ Academy have created a special souvenir magazine aimed at visiting families highlighting the rich heritage and unique character of their island home. The magazine was designed and edited by three committed Year 8 students: Tia, Harrison and Henry - with contributions from many others.


“A young person’s guide to Being Scilly” was launched at the Academy’s St Mary’s base on Tuesday 23rd July.


'Being Scilly' has been produced by the Islands’ Partnership (the official Destination Management Organisation for the Isles of Scilly) alongside staff and students at the Academy and is available through the Tourist Information Centre and the local newsagents with plans for wider distribution.


The project started with Year 7 and 8 students using the local museum as a catalyst for exploring the history of the islands, investigating significant events on Scilly and themes linked to the local economy. Their written work, along with a range of activities and suggestions for families, is combined in this full colour magazine which will be on sale throughout the summer holidays.

History teacher Rachel Lewin who coordinated work in school explains: “This is a student led project which has really captured their imagination. They have worked for almost a year to produce something really special; their commitment and creativity has impressed everyone involved and the end result is something they should be proud of.”


The 56-page magazine includes a Museum Treasure Hunt, a Wildlife Challenge, suggestions for places to go and things to do, and creative writing inspired by Scilly. There are also competitions and quizzes about island life.


The publication has been made possible through support from Arts Council England and FEAST as part of a two-year Cultural Destinations programme on Scilly which aims to develop new opportunities to link local culture to the visitor economy.

“We are very proud to have supported this Bright Sparks project which has resulted in a fantastic publication using History, Art and Community engagement to frame the students’ future,” says Jack Morrison, Manager at FEAST. “Our organisation invests in community and artist led projects, and events that break new ground. We champion inventive thinking about how to involve different and new people, which leads to high quality outcomes.  ‘A Young Person’s Guide to Being Scilly’ is a shining example of this.”