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The Olympic Games 2012


Nightingale’s Glorious Games


On 27th July 2012, 25 children from Nightingale Primary School were chosen to perform in front of 80,000 people (and 4 billion people worldwide on TV) in the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.


I love the Olympics, it is great. I am really grateful that I was chosen. The maypole dancing is excellent and I am really enjoying it. Thank you for choosing me!

Marco, Y5


We were chosen as a result of our involvement in the Get Set network. Our school had been the first in the country to apply for Get Set membership almost four years prior to the Games. In our application, we stated that our school’s aim was to be a part of the Olympic opening ceremony.


During the next three years, we entered competitions, were rewarded with athlete visits and visited the developing Olympic sites in Stratford and Greenwich over ten times, meeting Lord Coe, Jonathan Edwards, Tessa Jowell, Dame Tanni Grey Thompson, Beth Tweddle, Alan Curbishley and Archbishop Desmond Tutu in the process. Our greatest honour came in December 2011 when we were told that our school would be performing in the ceremony itself.


Auditions took place in January 2012, but we were not told which 25 of the 50 who had auditioned had been chosen until April. Rehearsals took place most weekends from the end of May to the end of July. There was a lot of sitting around, a lot of rain and a lot of lining up and handing things out in number order!


At first we rehearsed in a huge film studio in Bow, then we moved to a full sized mock-up of the stadium at the old Ford factory in Dagenham, until mid June when we started rehearsing in the stadium itself.


When we got there for the first time, I felt a bit nervous, We saw it as a huge building but then we learnt about it. I thought it was fabulous; a wonderful place to learn in.

Kaitlin, Y4


We found out early on that we would be dancing around the Hampshire maypole, in front of the royal box. Things really got interesting once the set started arriving at the stadium and we had been fitted for our costumes.  Each week we saw more arrive, from the tree on the Tor, to the water wheel, fresh flowers growing on the banks, fields of wheat and a real live scarecrow.


I like getting changed into our costumes because I like the colours, the shoes and seeing everyone else’s outfits.

Jasmine, Y4


Early on, we met and worked with the adult volunteers, four of whom (Julie, Annetta, Alice and Audrey) were assigned to walk onto the Field of Play with us. In the end, Ms Coupe and Ali came too. At one memorable rehearsal, we saw how our ‘Green & Pleasant’ section changed into industrialBritain. The drummers were very friendly and the noise was incredible.


My favourite part of the Olympics is when the tree came up and I liked the part when the chimney towers came up... My third best bit is when the colourful lights come on in the stadium.



We were given earphones and mini radios to hear instructions from our dance captain. Lots of us had to tape the earphones on as they fell out of our ears! Our last week of rehearsal was mainly spent inside an enormous holding pen with hundreds of other children, waiting and waiting…


One thing I don’t like is the fact we have to sit for hours on a row of chairs, sitting and waiting for our cue to get into the vom we stand in. Then we wait 20 minutes to go out to the Field of Play…. (but) it’s a great opportunity for our school to perform in the Olympics and I’m happy we’re in the Green & Pleasant group in the ceremony.

Safiyya, Y5


Our moment in front of the world lasted only about 10 minutes, but they are minutes that will live with us forever.  The Olympic stadium will always feel like home. The children and staff who were involved have produced a photo book about the event itself which you are welcome to peruse and purchase online.


This is a once in a life time opportunity. Thank you for choosing me.

Mahdhi, Y5