PUPILS from Overchurch Junior School were invited to entertain the Prime Minister at Number 10 as part of the Shakespeare Festival.

They delivered a dramatic performance of some of the key scenes from the Bard's Julius Caesar during the event, which took place in the rose garden at Number 10 Downing Street in front of an invited audience.

Wirral Globe:

Pupils and staff from Overchurch Junior School outside Number 10

Teacher Stuart Rathe, said: "Taking part in the Festival is, without doubt, the highlight of my school year.

"I firmly believe that the Shakespeare Schools Festival will stay with these youngsters for the rest of their lives.

"After all, what could be more exciting than standing with your friends on a professional stage, before an audience of hundreds, telling a timeless story with limitless energy and clarity – and knowing that you’ve done an amazing job of it too?

"I was worried the children wouldn’t be able to tackle the Shakespearean language but in my experience, the language doesn't throw them.

Wirral Globe:

Overchurch pupils Louisa, Millie and Mollie with their SSF mascot Shakesbear!

"They're carried along by the brilliance of the storytelling – the truth is, primary age children just seem to 'get' Shakespeare, and it fills me with pride that the Shakespeare Schools Festival gives teachers like me the opportunity to send children to high school with a love and passion for Shakespeare, hopefully keeping his legacy alive for the next 400 years and beyond!

"As one of the Overchurch pupils taking part said to me, 'Now I have the confidence that I can do any Shakespeare play!'

"It's wonderful to see them shine, commanding complex language with confidence and developing a love of theatre and drama.

"The Shakespeare Schools Festival is an amazing learning opportunity for children.

"The Festival undoubtedly improves speaking and listening skills across the curriculum and engenders learning resilience and a willingness to try new challenges.

"As another pupil said to me: 'Before the Shakespeare Schools Festival I wasn't as interested in reading stories.

"'It has made me much more interested in reading books. I love books now!'"

Wirral Globe:

Pupils and staff from Overchurch Junior School in the rose garden with Prime Minister David Cameron

Their performances were praised as 'outstanding' by Wirral West MP Margaret Greenwood. 

She said: "The pupils who took part in this production should be should be very proud of themselves, as should the teachers and parents who have supported them in this venture.

"It was absolutely wonderful to see how they injected passion into their performances.

"As a former English teacher, I was thrilled to be able to be present.

"I hope to be able to see them perform in other roles in the future.

"I was particularly pleased to see that girls were given roles that are usually taken by boys, including the roles of Cassius and Mark Anthony.

"There is a real shortage of strong Shakespearean roles for women, so I was very pleased to see that the teachers are taking the progressive step of casting girls in male roles.

"The girls did a superb job, as did the boys.

"It was wonderful to see children getting involved in great literature at such an early age.

"Their energy and enthusiasm was amazing.

"The teachers and pupils from Overchurch and all the other schools involved deserve huge praise."