STAR of stage and screen Sir Ian McKellen spent the day at Hanley Castle High School on Wednesday (November 18).

The visit by the actor, famous as Gandalf in Lord Of The Rings, was organised by Worcestershire County Council and gay rights charity Stonewall. The county has signed up to Stonewall's Education Champions programme, which aims to tackle homophobic bullying in schools.

During the visit, theatre studies pupils performed a work in progress in front of Sir Ian, who gave advice on how to develop the piece. Literature students took part in a workshop introduction to Shakespeare's Othello during which Sir Ian read an extract. And Sir Ian spoke about his work with Stonewall and experiences to Key Stage 4 and 5 pupils.

Assistant head Annie Picthall, said: "It was a tremendous privilege for pupils at Hanley Castle to welcome Sir Ian to our school. His insight and experience into issues relating to acceptance and equality for gay people were warmly received as Sir Ian worked alongside pupils in practical exercises, participated in lively discussion and delivered two inspiring assemblies."