Performing Arts: Learning through Creativity!
“The art of acting is to be other than what you are.” – Whoopi Goldberg
At Northgate, we pride ourselves on our creative curriculum. The arts are a brilliant way of including everyone, and support speech and language development, build confidence and self-esteem, and be life changing for young people. The arts also encourage wellbeing, increase cultural capital and open our eyes to the amazing world around us.
The Performing Arts team consists of three lovely specialists: Mr Valentine (Dance), Miss Davy (Music) and Mr Schulze( Drama). In years 7,8 &9, all three disciplines are taught discretely, with ‘showtime’ lessons providing an opportunity for pupils to receive teaching that is directly linked to performance skills and our school shows. In Showtime lessons, pupils will also learn the wider skills required for a career in the theatre. These may include: lighting, technology, prop making, costume design or artistic direction.
At Northgate, all pupils are encouraged to learn and apply prior taught knowledge and experience, which has led to pupils in all pathways accessing some amazing opportunities, including: Voice in A Million, Sign to Sing with Fletch, the Schools’ Shakespeare Festival and even the Northampton Caribbean Carnival!
Drama with Mr. Schulze
Like all of the Arts, Drama allows students to communicate with, and understand others in new and interesting ways.
I passionately believe that Drama is an important tool for preparing learners to live and work in a world that is increasingly team-orientated, rather than hierarchical. Drama also helps pupils to develop tolerance and empathy; It encourages them to think and act creatively, develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and apply these skills to all aspects of their learning.
Through the dramatic arts, children are encouraged to actively engage with roles and make choices; to participate in and guide their own learning, to dialogue with pupils they may never speak to in other settings and improve their literacy skills by reading and developing their language, vocabulary and oratory skills through performance from script reading.
Drama develops all aspects of pupils development- intellectually, physically, socially, and emotionally. Activities, such as improvisation, pantomime, play-making, and role play serve to develop the creative potential in all who participate, and enables our pupils to move confidently into their next phase of learning.
Mr Schulze Curriculum Leader for Drama.
So what do we do? Our Curriculum
Key Stage 3
Key Stage 3 pupils work practically, using a range of dramatic genres and drama techniques, and are exposed to both devised and scripted work.
They explore all aspects of 'role play', through improvisation, and developing new skills through a variety of situations, issues, relationships, characters, text and various stimuli.
Pupils regularly evaluate their contributions, presentations and performances.
Each year group at KS3 will be introduced to four key concept words; this will show an indication of the levels of awareness expected from pupils, who have been taught to understand and practice these concepts.
Key Stage 4
The aim is that by the end of Year 9, all students will be familiar with a range of drama terms, conventions and techniques that will enable them to move forward to study the subject in its more combined form (incorporating all three disciplines) at BTEC Entry Level.
In Key Stage 4, pupils will study chosen units within the BTEC Entry Level specification. These chosen units seek to showcase the best of our pupils, whilst enabling them to:
- Take part in a Performance (A Unit 2 , Practical Exam)
- Consolidate taught skills and knowledge
- Build on their confidence and theatrical experiences
These units also afford our pupils the opportunity to experience undertaking a role within a Shakespearian performance, and Northgate is a proud participant in the Schools' Shakespeare Festival, held annually each November. The performances take place at either the Deco Theatre, or the Royal and Derngate Theatre in Northampton, and past performances have included: Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Othello and Richard III, to name but a few!
Pupils may choose the role of performer, but they also have the opportunity to develop technical or design skills-building on what they have learned in their KS3 Showtime lessons. The Entry Level units also focus on teamwork and working collaboratively on an exam piece. The rehearsal process allows pupils to develop self-confidence and a sense of collaborative achievement. The entire process is evaluated from rehearsals to the final performance, which makes up 50% of the overall BTEC Qualification.
Pupils with then progress towards preparing for a Performance. (A Unit 3 , National curriculum text study). Currently, the pupils are studying Willy Russell's, Blood Brothers.
Pupils continue to develop their performance skills while working on ‘Blood Brothers’, allowing them to deepen their knowledge and wider performance, personal development and communication skills. Throughout Unit 3, learners will identify some of the essential skills required within different disciplines and, through workshops and practical activities, start to develop their own techniques for the next stages of their Drama study.
Music with Miss Davy
Music is a language the whole world speaks and one of the most powerful forms of communication. I truly believe there is Music in every child and it is the teacher’s job to find it, nurture it and share the enjoyment. For myself, it is a beautiful thing- to see my career and passion for Music come together.
Miss Davy Curriculum Leader for Music
At Northgate School Arts College Music is predominantly about enjoyment, embedding opportunities for cultural capital and enhancing the pupils' musical experiences through a range of activities. Music is beneficial to the pupils' cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains, and their wider academic achievement, life skills and personal development.
Music is a tool in opening up emotions within the children, giving them a form of expression, which they may find difficult to communicate in other ways. The pupils are encouraged and supported with developing skills, which they can apply to everyday life- such as fine and gross motor skills, communication, listening skills, discipline and regulation, empathy, creative expression and self-confidence.
Music lessons are focused on composition, listening, appraising and performance. These main components of music are the backbone to all teaching experienced through a wide range of practical and listening activities.
Key Stage 3
Music in Key Stage 3 is focused on developing skills, engaging and inspiring pupils to develop a love of music and to increase their self-confidence, creativity and sense of achievement. They are taught by following three main principles:
- listening and appraising.
These are covered by exploring a range of units, from learning about instruments, developing rhythms, reading notation, learning a new instrument, performance skills, exploring music from different countries, cultures, time periods and genres, as well as embracing BSL with music (sign-song) and exploring aspects of creativity through music technology.
Pupils have access to a wide range of resources, including: tuned and untuned percussion instruments, keyboards, recorders, samba drums, boom-whackers, ukuleles, acoustic guitars, drum kits and a piano. The children are encouraged to participate in all activities- using various instruments to explore the sounds they can create.
We work closely with Drama, Dance and Art to create whole-academy shows via our Showtime collaborative curriculum.
Key Stage 4
Music in Key Stage 4 progresses pupils' knowledge and skills further by focusing on the BTEC Performing Arts Award.
This is achieved by working alongside Dance and Drama to gain an Entry Level qualification in Performing Arts.
The qualification supports learners in gaining the knowledge, understanding and skills they need to prepare for employment in a specific occupational area. The curriculum also aims to give learners the opportunity to:
- engage in learning which is relevant to them
- explore opportunities to develop a range of skills and techniques, personal skills and attributes essential for successful performance in working life
- achieve an Entry Level vocationally related qualification,
- progress to employment in a particular vocational sector
In Music, the pupils focus on two key units:
Unit 1: comprises of Performance Venues, which explores the different types of performance venues / spaces, performance and non-performance job roles. There is also a focus on being able to comment on a performance and review it.
Unit 2: comprises of Taking part in a performance, where pupils are able to take a positive role in preparing for a performance, and be able to undertake a role in a performance in front of an audience.
Being able to work collaboratively with Drama and Dance gives pupils the opportunities they need to develop a wide range of skills-fundamental to developing the confidence and social skills needed to gain employment or progress to the next stage of learning. The curriculum fully supports other aspects of life- socially, emotionally, culturally and academically.
“Northgate is better than my old school because people are nice to me and understand me. I love to come to school.”