The Arts Team deliver a high standard of lessons, opportunities, performances and exhibitions at Lacon Childe. We are keen to encourage a passion in the Arts amongst all of our students, and aim to provide a broad education that allows individuals to flourish and create.
The standard of results is high - both in GCSE subjects and as evidenced in the varied performances we organise during the year. These traditionally include a Winter Concert, Carol Service, School Production and Summer Exhibition.
We have a large suite of rooms for Music with good space for pupils to work. There are facilities for full classroom Music performance, individual instrumental lessons, small group and individual practice and an interactive whiteboard for listening and appraisal. Pupils are encouraged to develop independence by knowing where and how to appropriately use musical instruments. The practice rooms are open at lunchtimes and after school for pupils to access the resources.
We use a variety of learning approaches, table discussions and pair work, interactive demonstrations, peer and self-assessment using the ‘Two Stars and a Wish’ method. We use the School’s IT facilities to notate music and research music facts and history, and the School’s iPads to programme and record music on Garageband.
In the Autumn Term we have the Winter concert where we hear items from the choir, solo instrumentalists and ensembles. In the Spring Term we have the School Production – we pride ourselves on the fact that the band for the production is composed of students from the school. In the Summer Term we have speech day where we hear a number of different musical items to accompany the prize giving and presentations.
We work hard to make sure that lessons are a safe place where pupils feel safe and confident to perform individually and in groups for the rest of the class. We believe that Music is for everybody to perform, appreciate and enjoy and anyone in the school who wants to be involved in music can be. We are able to arrange and compose Music to suit anybody who wishes to take part. We also make sure that there are opportunities for those pupils who are more advanced to stretch themselves and perform more difficult Music.
Pupils are introduced to the three main areas of the Music curriculum – performance, listening and composition. We learn how to use the keyboards responsibly and how to find the notes to perform pieces. We learn how to listen to Music critically and recognise the main elements. We are introduced to notation using score making software which we relate to pieces of Music we have played on the keyboard.
Later in the year pupils learn how to play Music in groups, how to co-operate with each other and lead each other. We do this with Music from Indonesia and a range of untuned and tuned percussion. We are also introduced to composition through analysis of Melody in Music.
In the summer, pupils put everything they have learned throughout the year together by composing and performing their own songs in groups. This is an opportunity for pupils who learn instruments outside the classroom to bring them in and use them with their groups.
Pupils learn about the Blues and how it developed at the end of the 19th Century in the USA. They develop their group performance skills by forming Blues Bands – guitarists are encouraged to bring their instruments in for this unit. Directly after this we learn about Rock ‘n’ Roll – the structure of this Music is closely related to the Blues but the technical skills required are more advanced.
Later in the year the pupils learn about the compositional approach of Theme and Variations and how it is related to Mathematical Transformations – Music is closely related to Maths and we add some fun to this by making a competition to see who can incorporate as many of these Mathematical Musical Transformations as possible into a solo keyboard performance.
We revisit Musical notation when we learn about the Romantic Music Era and learn how to play Beethoven’s Fur Elise.
At the end of the year we introduce the iPads and Garageband when we learn about Electronic Dance Music. This is a opportunity to develop the pupils’ composition and arrangement skills and learn about contemporary approaches to Musical production.
Pupils learn about Hip Hop and how it grew from the USA in the 1970s to become a worldwide musical form today. Pupils develop their group work and composition skills while they are learning about Hip Hop and further develop their word-setting skills. We then go on to make our improvisation skills more advanced when we learn about Jazz.
Later in the year pupils learn about Music for Film and how different sounds can enhance on-screen action. We then use the iPads to create ever longer pieces of Music – this is important to pupils who wish to take GCSE as they will need to be able to compose longer pieces of Music.
Pupils learn about Dubstep and how it has its roots in Jamaican Music. We also learn about Reggae and Ska when we do this and what a huge influence the Music of Jamaica has had on British Music.
In the summer, pupils put everything they have learned throughout Key Stage 3 into an extended composition project. They are encouraged to add as many different styles and techniques as they can to the pieces. This provides a fitting end to Key Stage 3 and a springboard into the coursework they will have to do in practical subjects in Key Stage 4.
GCSE - What will your child be studying be studying?
Pupils will be building on the skills and knowledge they gained during KS3 in composition, individual and group performance, and listening and appraising music. The performance component is not under exam conditions and students can have multiple attempts to get the best possible outcome. Both of these performances can be made using Music technology as well as live performance. The listening exam is the most traditional part of AQA’s Music GCSE. Students will have to improve their Music theory knowledge and learn how to apply it under exam conditions. This isn’t as hard as some people think – if you already enjoy listening to and performing Music, Music theory is just a question of learning the words to describe what you already know. The exam has been extended from 2016 and now includes more questions about musical history and genres to go with the technical theory that was already included. Happily, we have been learning about musical history and styles throughout KS3. Above all, Music GCSE is an Art award – students should be ready to express themselves artistically.
How can you help your child?
Encourage them to play an instrument that they enjoy and feel comfortable with. This can include using music technology. There are a number of free music creation websites that students have successfully for their coursework, including: https://soundation.com/ and https://www.audiotool.com/. You should encourage them to listen to music they might not normally listen to. Three of the pieces mentioned in connection to the new exam are The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Carlos Santana’s Superstition and Aaron Copland’s Hoedown. However, recognising the elements of any piece of music you have not heard before is useful – there are lots of different genres but music is all the same when it comes down to the elements.
Music GCSE is 60% Coursework split over 30% composition and 30% performance. There are two compositions, one to a brief and one free composition. There are two performances, one solo and one group which are not under exam conditions and can also be made using the music technology that we have used during KS3. The other 40% is the Understanding Music Listening Examination. This is externally marked – we will be having plenty of practice throughout the two years as it comes right at the end of the course.
Art & Design
Art & design
We have a large multi-purpose Art room with good space for pupils to work. There are facilities for fine arts, digital based media, a ceramics room and separate kiln. Pupils are encouraged to develop independence by knowing where and how to appropriately access materials and equipment. The art room is open at lunchtimes and after school for pupils to access the resources.
We use a variety of learning approaches, table discussions and pair work, interactive demonstrations, pupil as teacher, peer and self-assessment using the school policy start, star, wish method. There is a word of the week board where pupils can gain an A1 for emailing the correct definition, also an artist of the week award for an outstanding piece of work in a lesson. Head teacher’s commendations are given for outstanding work and handed out in assembly. The best images from pupils across the key stages are photographed and used as the attendance postcard that goes home to parents. Regular photography competitions are run across all ages and the winning image gets framed and presented by the staff room.
Pupils explore colour theory; they use paints to experiment with colour mixing and use the art work of contemporary artist Michael Craig-Martin to create responses that demonstrate their understanding of layering, proportion and the use of colour. They are introduced to the formal elements and use these to explain their own and others work.
Later in the year pupils do a team sculpture project where they study the work of sculptor Robert Indiana, linked with the 2D work of Michael Craig-Martin and plan a final piece which they make as a table. This helps with communication and independence.
In the summer, pupils use the sea as inspiration for a series of workshops to help build confidence using different materials. Working on the basics of observational drawing to record images. Using the ceramicist Kate Malone as inspiration, pupils plan and create a ceramics piece, whilst learning about rolling, mark making and the firing process of working with clay.
Pupils develop their observational drawing skills, focusing on the use of tone in images. They learn techniques to support their drawing skills so that they feel confident tackling tricky objects. They consider proportion, perspective, and techniques of shading using pencil and graphite sticks. They consider the work of Georgio Morandi and discuss the importance of context and how this may affect the work of the artist.
Context is later explored in a project about Cubism, where pupils build on their drawing skills to create a fragmented final piece in the cubist style using a variety of materials.
Later in the year pupils begin a topic on portraits and self-portraits. They discuss the work of a range of artists who use sculpture, painting, installation and photography to challenge the concept of portraiture. They draw the facial features and build up to a full self-portrait, sometimes developed into a painting or a ceramics piece.
Pupils learn various tracing techniques to support their drawing skills, pupils are encouraged to draw freehand but can use these new skills to help them try increasingly tricky objects. They study the work of contemporary artist Andrea Joseph and build a collection of work building to a final piece that demonstrates doodling, biro images and the use of personal items to keep their work meaningful.
Later in the year pupils consider the work of Jim Dine and their work takes on a more experimental approach, building on the skills they have developed earlier in the year. They experiment with outlines of tools, negative space, photographs, collage, using, and materials such as inks, paints, charcoal and mixed media. They have chance to experiment and explore the qualities of the materials on a larger scale.
Towards the end of the year pupils explore a cross curricular link with History; the context and historical importance of WW2 and how this affected artists of this generation. The pupils consider the installation work of contemporary artist Christian Boltanski and the importance placed on objects of the casualties of war. They consider alternative methods of presenting their art work. A more recent photographer Zayih Gafic will give them the opportunity to compare and contrast two artists who deal with similar themes. The depth of this final topic helps pupils to understand the importance of critical thinking and cultural and historical awareness, allowing for a smoother transition from KS3 to GCSE Art.
Pupils study the AQA Art and Design (Fine Art) course which allows them to explore all aspects of Art; this could cover; drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, collage, mixed media, photography, digital media, experimental textiles and ceramics, depending on the class size and pupils. Students will be given the opportunity to gain direct experience of handling materials and developing an understanding of artistic practice through the study of contemporary art and encouraged to consider their links to art of the past. We usually offer an Art pack which has lots of useful materials that pupils can purchase form the school at a great price. The year 10 pupils visit an Art Gallery and this helps them with their coursework. All work is internally assessed and externally moderated using examination board marking criteria which the pupils are encouraged to access.
Portfolio - 60% of total mark
Students will produce a portfolio of work selected from 45 hours of controlled assessment which will take place in phases distributed over 2 years. The coursework is teacher led to allow pupils to create a foundation of work on which to develop their own ideas and final pieces, nearer the end of the coursework time. The theme for these projects changes every few years, last year, the year 10 pupils explored ‘me, myself and I’, this year, the theme is ‘sense of place’. Pupils can use their sketchbooks to record notes and do drawings but they are encouraged to work on A2 paper as this is better for presentation and marking purposes.
Externally Set Exam - 40 % of total mark
Students will have approximately 12 weeks to prepare for a 10 hour timed practical Art examination which would take place over two days in the spring term of Year 11. Students are given a paper with different themes to choose from as a starting point for their own ideas (set by AQA). Students are expected to produce a body of work in response to a theme provided by the exam board; as with the coursework, they are required to produce a sketchbook, portfolio of preparatory work and a final piece.
Drama is taught primarily through the art form of theatre, whether it be pupils in Key Stage 3 creating devised work that they then perform to each other in class, pupils in Key Stage 4 creating devised work and scenes from existing plays for external assessment, or pupils from all years appearing in productions performed to the public.
We are particularly proud of our shows. We aim to produce work of the highest standards possible in a High school, with an emphasis on challenging texts, original music, ambitious acting and beautiful and creative production. Past shows include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Doctor Faustus, The Adventures of Pinocchio, and Mermaid.
Drama is taught mainly in a multi-purpose class room with extensive prop and costume resources, with a black box studio theatre space also available. Larger scale shows are performed in the Hall which can be converted into a theatre space for up to 250 people.
We use a variety of learning approaches in Drama including discussion, role-play, group and individual writing, skills workshops and rehearsals.
All pupils study Drama in Key Stage 3, where pupils gain not only knowledge and understanding of the history of theatre and the art form of acting, but also learn the skills of relaxation, self-expression and teamwork, leading to greater confidence and better understanding of self and others.
We aim to make Drama lessons as safe and inclusive as possible: pupils learn how to perform and how to analyse and evaluate each other’s performances in a supportive environment based on mutual respect and appreciation.
Pupils learn how to manipulate their attention in order to create effective performances. They learn how to relax efficiently and how to use mental images as a way of accessing their imagination in a practical way. They present performed work to the class and learn how to analyse and evaluate. They learn the basic principles of improvisation both in small and large groups and begin to analyse scripts from the point of view of an actor. They also learn how to take direction and how to analyse their work from the point of view of an audience.
Pupils develop their ability to work in more stylised conventions. They develop their physical skills through mime and scenes without spoken language. They learn more extreme styles such as expressionism and total physical theatre, and they stage their work using a greater variety of methods such as split stage, angel and devil on the shoulder, and direct address to the audience. They create more detailed scripts and develop their specialised vocabulary further.
Pupils develop their ability convey meaning in their work. They are encouraged to create characters that are unlike themselves in their outlook, and they experience more challenging and contentious topics. They show more independence in their creative decisions and are required to demonstrate more rigour in their analysis and evaluation. They study published scripts and learn conventions and terms used in the theatre industry.
Pupils study the OCR Drama course. Students study live theatre production and classic and contemporary plays concentrating on the roles of actors, directors, designers, sound and lighting technicians and costume and prop makers.
They work practically as actors, writers and/or designers on an original piece of theatre written and performed by themselves, they appear in a showcase performance of two scenes from an established play performed to a visiting examiner, and they sit an exam where they write about a set text from a theatrical point of view and write about a live performance that they have seen.
Practical activities are supported by written portfolios in which students explain and illustrate their ideas and contributions.
Devised theatre project- 30% of total mark
Pupils work in a small team as an actor/ writer or as a designer or sound or lighting technician creating a piece of original theatre. Pupils are marked on the quality of their contributions to the project and on the quality of their individual written portfolio.
Showcase performance- 30% of total mark
Pupils appear in two scenes from a published play assessed live by a visiting examiner from OCR. Pupils are marked on the quality of their performance and on a written submission explaining their creative intentions.
Traditional written examination (end of Year 11) – 40% of total mark
Pupils answer questions on a set play text and evaluate a live performance they have seen.
GCSE Drama is ideal for students who like to combine academic and practical study. Students develop useful transferable skills including critical and creative thinking, teamwork and negotiation, confidence and presentation skills and meeting deadlines.
How can I help my child?
Pupils attend live performances as part of the course, but if you can take your child to see any additional live theatre including telecasts, this will help enormously, particularly if you encourage them to discuss what they have seen critically and comparatively. Some pupils get involved in youth theatre groups and workshop classes outside of school, and of course we offer a major production project every year rehearsing in the spring term.