At Beachborough School The Arts department thrives! With art, music and drama, all our pupils have the chance to explore and show off their creative talents.
Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.
Throughout the year we hold many events for music and drama and display the pupils' artwork across the school.
Anyone who visits Beachborough is immediately struck by all the artwork on display - there is barely a square inch that is not covered by a piece of artwork. We are very proud of our pupil’s work and every child has at least one, if not more, pieces on show around the school. Art at Beachborough is grounded in the belief that there is creativity in every child. They unleash this creativity through the wide range of projects and materials on offer in the Art Department. Our specialist classrooms are full of exciting equipment so that children work with many different media, learning a wide range of skills in the process. We encourage every pupil to push the boundaries within each project and be confident in taking risks with their art, supporting and encouraging them along the way.
Projects often begin with traditional drawing, before moving on to secondary stages involving colour, texture and genres, enriching the creative process in order to stimulate each individual child’s confidence and imagination. Pupils learn about different artists, their lives, methods and masterpieces; these are often the focus of projects. This year for example, Form V have looked at Van Gogh and produced their own version of “Sunflowers” but in a cubist style using oil pastel. They also learn about Aboriginal Art and the hidden messages in the paintings producing their own original piece. Form VI studied Claus Oldenburg’s food sculptures and have produced their own mixed media giant sandwiches. Form VII have looked at the genre of Still Life producing vibrant pictures of overlapping fruits and flowers in soft pastel, while Form VIII are making recycled toy sculptures by breaking up old toys, mixing them up and reassembling them.
In our vibrant art rooms, children to use clay, watercolour, acrylics, pen and ink, lino printing, Modroc and wire as well as digital based media and photography. We have annual clay workshops with an established ceramicist and also enter children’s work for exhibition at both Stowe and Cheltenham School each year. There are also co-curricular art clubs that further enrich pupils’ artistic development and enjoyment. In Form VII we take a trip to London, to Tate Britain and Tate Modern where pupils take on the seminal question “What is Art?”, reflecting on and discussing what art means to them and how they see its role in the contemporary world.
The art rooms are open every lunchtime for children to come and continue work they have begun in class or work on projects of their own with access to all the materials available. Our art scholars have free access to the art rooms at all times with encouragement and support from our art teachers, who are practising artists themselves. The outstanding artistic education we offer is highlighted by many successes with art scholarships to senior schools.
Music plays an important role in life at Beachborough. It is central to our thriving arts culture, with a busy programme of concerts, assemblies, musicals and festivals to get involved with. They say that music is good for the soul – and this is something we firmly adhere to by giving pupils the opportunity to take part in a huge range of musical activities. These include several choirs and smaller singing groups, an orchestra, a range of instrumental groups and bands. Performing, whether alone or in a group, brings joy and builds self-confidence, giving pupils an immense sense of achievement and well-being.
Children acquire the foundation of their musical education in their weekly class music lessons. We provide an environment in which they can experience a wide range of genres and styles of music, where their imagination and creativity can flow. Children learn how to listen and appraise, compose and perform within a variety of different topics.
The benefits of learning a musical instrument are well-documented and we encourage pupils to take advantage of the fifteen visiting music teachers who are on hand to provide expert, individual tuition in a wide range of instruments. In PP1 and PP2 each child has a weekly 30-minute instrumental lesson where they have the chance to try out different instruments, currently, these include: keyboard, recorder, violin and ukulele. We support pupils in taking external music exams, both practical and theory, and organise exam sittings for ABRSM and Trinity Guildhall at school during most terms. Top performing pupils are encouraged to take Music Scholarships or Exhibitions for their next schools.
There are major school concerts each term where every child performs, if not in a specialist group, then as part of either the Junior Choir (Forms III and IV) or the Senior Choir (Forms V-VIII). We also have smaller events for the pupils of instrumental teachers – everyone is encouraged to play something, no matter how long they have been learning for. These concerts are a great way of giving children the experience of performing in an unthreatening environment, getting them used to being on stage while gradually building their confidence.
We participate in a wide range of festivals, events and competitions outside the school, giving children the opportunity to perform to bigger audiences, hear other musicians and broaden their musical horizons. There is a biennial music tour which is open to all children in Forms VI-VIII, so far, we have been to Belgium and The Rhineland region of Germany where we enjoyed attending and performing in a wide range of musical events.
At Beachborough, Drama really is for everyone! We put on an array of theatrical productions throughout the school year, everything from Shakespeare to sketch shows, on the stage in our fantastic, bespoke Performing Arts Theatre. Starting with the Pre-Prep Christmas play, the program includes major performances for each year group throughout the school.
Recent productions include: Romeo and Juliet, Aladdin, The Lion King, Bugsy Malone, What a Knight! and Pirates of the Curry Bean. The older year groups also get the chance to learn the technical side of putting on a production, the lighting, sound and stage management, and everyone is involved with making costumes and creating stage sets. Performing brings joy, increases self-esteem and develops relationships through collaboration, but most of all, it is great fun.
Drama is an integral part of our weekly timetable - lessons start in PP1 so that children begin building their self-confidence and ability to speak in public from the age of five. We often use drama and performance in English lessons to bring books to life and illuminate meaning and language.
Lamda courses are also available as part of our co-curricular programme. Drama scholars are prepared and developed by the Head of Drama to ensure success in the interviews at their chosen senior schools - last year we were delighted 3 Beachborough children were awarded Drama Scholarships.