Hairdressing students show Festival youngsters how to cut it

Hairdressing students from City College Norwich became the teachers this week when they taught local primary school pupils some of the basics of hairdressing.  The students were imparting their skills to a group of 9 and 10 year olds from Catton Grove Primary School as they prepare for the “Haircuts by Children” event, part of this year’s Norfolk and Norwich Festival.

City College Norwich’s Solutions Hair Salon hosted the youngsters for three training sessions covering the basic principles of sectioning, cutting and styling, with all of the tuition provided by the College’s own students. The 26 youngsters are set to put their new skills into practice on members of the public on May 7th and 8th, when volunteers will have their hair cut by a “mini barber” at Flint Hair Salon in Norwich.  The children will need to remember all they have learnt during their training sessions, as they will be providing these haircuts without help from the College’s students or the salon’s staff.
The College’s hairdressing students have really enjoyed mentoring their younger counterparts for this exciting Norfolk and Norwich Festival event. They started by teaching the pupils about safety in the salon and how to greet clients and find out what kind of haircut they want. The children then practised spritzing, combing, parting, sectioning, and clipping, before having a go at techniques such as layering, cutting short hair and fringes and styling the finished cut.
Joanne Hobbs, Head of the College’s School of Hair and Beauty Therapy Industries said: “This has been a fantastic experience for the school children and also for our students who have been teaching them. Taking part in this event has given our students the chance to pass on their enthusiasm for hairdressing to the younger generation and give them a glimpse of some of the skills they would learn in a real hairdressing salon.  We are delighted to have supported this fun and inspiring Norfolk and Norwich Festival event and can’t wait to see what the pupils come up with on the day.”
The aim of the project is not to train the youngsters to execute perfect haircuts, which would be unrealistic considering that cutting to the standard of a professional requires several years of training in college or in a salon, and continuous skills development throughout their career.  The event in fact aims to provide the children with an opportunity to be creative, bold and imaginative in undertaking a challenge they would not normally have the chance to do. 
Haircuts by Children is the brainchild of Canadian art collective Mammalian Diving Reflex, who have created this performance over 50 times around the world, providing over 3,000 haircuts for the show.  This is the first time the project has been run with the support of a college. The Catton Grove pupils will be completely taking over the Flint Hair Salon for the event, from managing the reception, cutting and styling, to taking money on their lemonade stand. 
More information about this year’s Norfolk and Norwich Festival events can be found at