Intent, Implementation, Impact
Associate Schools Programme
What has been the impact on your school through being part of the Associate Schools Programme?
The Impact of being part of the ‘Associate Schools Programme’ has been enormous! Teachers at Ethelbert Road use RSC (Royal Shakespeare Company) approaches for creative learning daily and have written English schemes of work using the work of William Shakespeare as a vehicle to teach curriculum skills. ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ for Year 3, ‘Romeo and Juliet’ in Year 4 and Macbeth in year 5 and 6. Support staff have been upskilled in the use of technical and challenging vocabulary and this in turn enables them to support children in their learning. The support staff have become confident in using challenging vocabulary with the children, thus raising standards.
Since the beginning of the project, we have run a popular Shakespeare Club for Year 5 and 6 children who benefit from working with the Marlowe Theatre and performing alongside other schools. The club is diverse and inclusive, with a wide range of children with different backgrounds and attainment. The school pays for children to attend this club if they are in receipt of the Pupil |Premium grant and provides additional support for children with special educational needs. This ensures all children can access the club and gain in confidence. This approach ensures our children understand and accept equality and diversity. They learn to respect each other and others in the community.
Our teaching staff have benefitted from working with RSC practitioners during the inset days and observations from the senior leaders have noted this has impacted on their classroom practices bring active learning to life. Every two years we hold a Shakespeare week which involves the whole school. Each class choose a Shakespeare play to study and perform parts of the play or speeches for their parents. This enables parents to see what their child can achieve through high expectations of language use. Our children are filled with pride as well as their parents. They are amazed when the children can recite difficult lines with understanding and confidence. As the children mature, they look forward to learning more about William Shakespeare and instil a love of his works.
Has there been a change in attitude towards Shakespeare, teaching through active approaches and performance?
All staff use RSC approaches to deliver exciting lessons in a wide range of subjects. These approaches are embedded into the teaching and learning and not just applied to literacy lessons. As staff confidence rises lessons are brought alive through active teaching using music, drama, and dance to transport the children into worlds! Our creative arts leader works alongside staff to plan and deliver drama workshops to create story worlds for children to immerse themselves within. The headteacher, senior leaders and governors' value cultural capital and teaching through the arts and this is evidenced on our website through our curriculum intent. Observations and progress data identify that this approach impacts on children’s language and understanding of story structure. The parent's response to witnessing their children’s understanding and confidence is wonderful and our creative approach to learning means we are oversubscribed every year. The whole school prides itself on its creative approach and many parents choose Ethelbert Road for this very reason.
Are there any individual case studies of how the programme has had an impact that you feel we should be aware of?
The children we feel the proudest about are the children who have language difficulties. On a day-to-day basis these students find it challenging to communicate with adults and their peers. However, in Shakespeare Club (where these children feel accepted) they participate with enthusiasm and feel relaxed enough to engage fully in the activities. It is amazing to see how they express themselves and achieve in this area using words and actions.
We also recognise the impact the programme has on our Pupil Premium children and looked after and post looked after children. The impact of this approach to learning for this group of children is carefully tracked and rapid progress seen.
How do you see the Associate Schools Programme developing further in your school in the upcoming two years?
We would love the opportunity to continue in this fabulous programme to upskill new staff and to continue to embed the arts as a vehicle for learning. As a small school with a cohort of mostly white British children we are always looking for opportunities to widen the children’s understanding or different cultures. We believe that as a community we need to come together and stand for equality, diversity and inclusion. It would be brilliant for new children, staff and parents to gain the invaluable experiences our previous children had performing at the Marlowe theatre and other venues.
We would like to further explore using outdoor spaces and the community to consolidate topic learning through a drama performance. During lockdown, we trialed Year 6 performing ‘Vikings’ at the Reculver Towers which demonstrated how we combined the arts with Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, History, Geography, Design Technology, ICT and Religious Education.
We believe that our children excelled in their secondary education through this teaching approach and gives them the confidence to become critical thinkers. The RSC approach to learning gives our children the skills and knowledge they need to prepare them for future success. We endeavour to give our children opportunities to experience a wide range of activities they may not otherwise experience in their lives, as the exploration of new skills and experiences helps to nurture resilience, teamwork, curiosity and creativity.
When the Headteacher started at Ethelbert Road she was impressed with the commitment of the staff to the arts and recognised early on that this was a unique opportunity to explore. The school was restructured to enable a Creative Arts Leader to work alongside the staff to embed, coach and develop confidence.
Ethelbert Road’s Creative Curriculum has been carefully crafted around the needs of our pupils and families and embraces the community we serve. Each individual child is recognised, valued and their successes celebrated. We want learning to be fun, meaningful and memorable so our pupils can build upon knowledge and skills to retain long life learning. Staff have drawn on their expertise and constantly research teaching methods in order to create a relevant, successful and rewarding curriculum.
Our cross curricular approach enables children to make links in their learning and revisit concepts and themes. We pride ourselves on our creative arts offer, which includes a bespoke Creative Arts Leader who drives art, drama and music through our curriculum and skilled peripatetic music teachers offering piano, cello and violin lessons.