As a school we highly value the Arts and appreciate the positive effect it can have, not only on the school but on the whole community. We believe every young pupil should have the opportunity to be creative, and to experience and participate in arts and culture. We always look for opportunities to widen the cultural experience of pupils, taking part in the Shakespeare Festival at The Civic, Barnsley, performing at the Schools Proms at the Royal Albert Hall and singing with Opera North in a specially commissioned opera, in addition to taking part in local vocal and drama festivals at the Metrodome and the Lamproom theatre.
As you walk through school, or browse Twitter, your eyes meet a vibrant reflection of the extensive Arts-based work carried out, much of it outside of the curriculum. Year 5 pupils who participated in the trip to Royal Albert Hall where they took part in the Music for Youth Proms, were overawed by the experience, stating “the performance was so professional – I feel so lucky that I had the opportunity to take part.” Foundation Stage and Year 1 children who took part in Indian Dance Workshops, and the Concerteenies Musical Stories project (which featured a professional musician) enjoyed the experience so much, they keep asking when these arts specialists will come back!
Extra-curricular clubs in both KS1 and KS2 are absolutely thriving at the school, and, in turn, so are the children. The Dance and Cheerleading clubs have performed at local competitions and festivals, taking part in workshops with the local secondary school. Afterwards, the school commented on Twitter; “So great to see so much amazing dance going on – thanks to Miss Morris for really driving this!”
The school boasts a 20-strong String Orchestra and is so proud of such an unusual provision that all the instruments are funded by the school and the music specialist (a string player herself) teaches every child individually or in pairs during lunchtimes. The orchestra (many of whom are new to playing) performed at Christmas and will be taking part in a concert with the Halle Orchestra. One child who had been playing the cello a matter of weeks said “my interest in the cello used to be this much (finger and thumb almost touching) and now it is this much (arms outstretched)!”
The 40-strong Choir performs at a very high level, in a variety of locations. At Christmas, in addition to performing in school and enhancing the Foundation Stage production with their singing, they also performed in the local shopping centre and outside the windows of the local nursing home. The sight of the residents not only joining in with the singing, but getting up and dancing just melted the hearts of them all. The children could instantly see the positive impact of the Arts. After a recent performance at Young Voices at Sheffield Arena, for which pupils rehearsed hard for months, a parent commented on Twitter; “They both thoroughly enjoyed themselves at Young Voices. Thank you for these opportunities.”
The Drama Club that performed a whole musical at Barnsley Schools Drama Festival, Year 3’s trip to see a drama production at Barnsley Civic, Year 5’s Art workshops at the Cooper Art Gallery, and the Singing Workshops with Mat Wright MBE, Artistic Director of Barnsley Youth Choir that both staff and children took part in have all taken place outside of ‘normal lessons’ and show just how significant a part the Arts play in the lives of our pupils.