Here’s one lot of good news that leads to another lot of good news.
First Good News: The Paul Hamlyn Foundation have just promised us money from their Teacher Development Fund to work with 10 primary schools across South and East Birmingham. Our plan is to help teachers develop their drama skills in order to teach English to their students more effectively.
Subsequent Good News: As a result of this triumph we need to recruit four Associate Artists to help us deliver this programme over the next two years. We’re looking for people with skills in acting, devising and/or directing. Each contract is worth £11,400 and details of how to apply can be found here.
We were really chuffed to have be awarded this grant. It feels like a vindication of our work in schools thus far, particularly over the last eight years, when we have worked in long term collaboration with a small number of Partner Schools. This tightly focused approach has involved asking senior leaders what areas of school life or the curriculum they need help with and creating bespoke projects with teachers to address these challenges. We have had plenty of success working in this way, it’s fun to do and always presents a novel challenge. Ultimately, we’ve never been more proud than when a school’s success is, in part, attributed to our input.
Our biggest challenge has always been how to scale up this intensive approach. For years friends have encouraged us to approach trusts and foundations for help, but none of their many schemes have felt quite right for us, until this one. In its focus on extended relationships, allowing artists and teachers to learn together and achieve sustainable change, The Teacher Development Fund describes precisely our ambition and approach.
We spent almost a year recruiting ten schools, all excited about joining us on an undertaking we are calling The Classroom Stage. Together we shaped the application, together we attended a selection interview in London and in November we start everything with a Scalextric race.
Over the next two years there will be plenty of updates about The Classroom Stage here, on our Twitter feed and Instagram account. Our work in schools isn’t very obvious to the outside world, but it’s an important part of what we do and who we are, so we’re going to try and share its stories with you a little more.
Until then, if you know an actor or director who may like to apply to join us on The Classroom Stage please share this post with them.