A SCHOOL'S bid to become Cheshire's first media arts college received a massive boost when influential TV director Phil Redmond made a substantial donation to the cause.
The writer, producer and director behind shows such as Hollyoaks, Grange Hill and Brookside paid a flying visit to the County High School, Leftwich, on Monday to lend his support.
If the bid is successful, the school will receive £500,000 in extra resources.
Bosses need to raise £50,000 in sponsorship to show they have the backing of the community. Half that money has to be raised by the school and the other half must come from businesses.
Headteacher lan Sieber says fundraising is going 'very well', and hoped the donation from Mr Redmond will catapult the school towards its goal.
Mr Redmond's Mersey TV has agreed to work in partnership on the school's bid after he and his wife, Alexis, visited the school and were impressed by what they saw.
Mr Redmond said: 'Mersey TV already has relationships with several schools, but this is the only one in Cheshire.
'Media literacy is becoming such an important and integral part of everyone's life that it is crucial that children form an understanding of, and any relationship with, real practitioners. We look forward to facilitating that process.'
Mr Sieber said the school was delighted to receive the support. He said: 'We are very grateful to the Redmonds for their support and we are delighted to have Mersey TV as partners in this enterprise.
'Already, the producer of Grange Hill has visited the school as part of research for a future series.
'We know that collaborating with Mersey TV will enhance hugely our work in media arts and the support of such a distinguished company will significantly improve the chances of our bid being successful.'
He added: 'We feel sure that this status will also bring significant benefits to businesses in the North West.'
If the school receives the extra funding, the facilities would also be available to members of the public. So far proposals include:
Creating a co-ordinated learning experience for pupils; Creating a multimedia recording and editing studio; Extending the school's work with digital media and technology;
Building closer links with schools, colleges and communities;
Employing more specialist teaching and technical staff; and Further developing the students' media production skills.
The school is still looking for help from companies, particularly those involved in the media.
Any businesses interested in backing the school's bid can call Mr Sieber on 01606 41511.