The Arts

Art

The school values the importance of Art which allows children to express the imaginative, creative and personal sides of their character. The children follow a skills-based Art curriculum, which is planned to ensure a progression of artistic skills as they move through the school. The year begins with drawing skills where children are taught how to use line to describe form and how to apply tone to achieve 3D effects. The children also gain experience of drawing from observation using a wide range of drawing media - including charcoal, graphite stick, pastels and even wire! We then focus on painting skills where children are taught how to mix secondary and tertiary colours and paint using acrylic, watercolour and gouache using contemporary artists' work as inspiration. We also focus on modelling techniques using clay, plasticine and other materials.

Children are encouraged to consider why people create Art and why it is important. The pupils look at the wealth of knowledge and ideas that have gone before us in the world of Art and how they connect to contemporary pieces, including children’s work. The study of artists’ work is often an important starting point for children and broadens and stimulates their own creativity.

Collaboration is encouraged whenever possible and art projects are often linked to other subjects such as History and RS to make the subject more relevant to students.

Drama

The school has a flourishing and stimulating Drama department where the children can express themselves individually or in a group and give vent to the artistic muses which lie within. The combination of Dance, Music and Drama presents a forum where they can demonstrate their own interpretation of movement, mime, singing and acting.

Years 3, 4 and 5 have weekly drama lessons while Drama Club provides an opportunity for Years 6 to 8 to participate and refine their performance skills. Recently we have focused on the experiences of Odysseus and Shakespeare’s soliloquies; the children hark back to the origins of the theatre in Classics working through notable tragedies, comedies and pantomime, while recognising and emulating the qualities of our famous bard.

The Drama department works closely with the English department, especially in encouraging and highlighting aspects of creative-writing or play scenarios. Although there are specific, structured plays where the children are expected to perform to a certain type, there is also the opportunity for the children to act out their own play-scripts or recite favoured pieces. Tempo and intonation are important aspects of recitation whilst reading to an audience and we work on these skills. Acting allows the children to improve their diction and elocution, and presents an opportunity for voice projection with accent/dialogue changes.

Mime presents a chance for children who lack confidence in their ability to express themselves - to shine without speaking; when masks are introduced, an interesting array of personalities come to the fore.

Past school productions have included a variety of musicals including the summer 2015 production of Into The Woods. We always do our best to encourage children’s talents, whatever they might be and through drama give them a chance to shine.

Music

The Music department is vibrant and plays an extremely important part in the life of the school. It is well resourced, including a state of the art music technology facility. As well as two specialist teachers there are over twenty visiting instrumental and singing teachers.

Every child has class music lessons as part of the music curriculum. In addition to that over 250 children have individual instrumental or singing lessons which indicates just how popular music is in the school.

The two main aims of the Department are firstly to provide the opportunity for pupils of all abilities and aspirations to participate in musical activities at the appropriate level and secondly to recognise and nurture individual talent so that the musical pupil may be challenged and enabled to realise his or her potential.

There is a wide variety of activities on offer to help them achieve these aims. There are class concerts and innovative performance projects which involve whole year groups throughout the school year. Pupils have the opportunity to join a variety of choirs and ensembles and to participate in groups appropriate to their level.

In Year 3 there is a class initiative where pupils are able to have taster lessons on a variety of instruments (strings, wind and brass). This helps them to decide whether they would like to learn a musical instrument and which instrument most appeals to them.

Additional support is offered to pupils preparing for senior school music awards and individual theory and composition lessons are also available. Pupils can also enter for graded music examinations which are generally held in the Spring term.

For the more musically able pupil there are auditioned ensembles which have membership from across the school. These include a School Choir, Orchestra and Jazz Band. They have had recent opportunities to perform at prestigious venues including Southwark Cathedral, The Rose Theatre and The Royal Festival Hall and in 2014 toured Austria and in the summer of 2015 performed at venues in Paris.

There are many other performance opportunities for pupils across a wide range of abilities inlcuding regular morning recitals. In addition there are regular visiting artists who perform at the school.