The Arts are an important part of school life at Great Ballard and include Art, Drama and Music.
From the time the children start in the Nursery, they are encouraged to draw, paint and create pieces of art using a variety of different mediums and then throughout the Pre-Prep and Prep school years, children engage in art-based lessons both in the classroom and outdoors.
Through drama, our pupils have the opportunity to explore, discuss and deal with difficult issues and to express their emotions in a supportive environment.
A live performance necessitates confidence in front of an audience, and all children have opportunities to take part in drama productions. Pupils build self-confidence and boost communication and their presentation skills through drama and the creative arts. At Great Ballard, children are able to participate in LAMDA exams (in Verse and Prose, Public Speaking and Acting) to gain a recognised and respected award.
All pupils have a drama lesson every week from Form 2-8, with some year groups having 2 lessons each week.
Each of our pupils will take part in a musical each year as well as two assemblies and every pupil from Form 5-8 has the opportunity to be in an extra ‘Drama Excellence Play’ each year. As a result, each pupil who leaves Great Ballard is confident and can perform to an audience irrespective of ability.
Music at Great Ballard is a very important part of the Curriculum here at Great Ballard School from when they join us in Nursery to when they leave us in Form 8. There are plenty of opportunities to take part in music lessons and events, learn instruments and to enjoy singing.
We recognise the importance of music education and how it helps children to develop learning skills such as multi-tasking, working in teams, expressing themselves and learning about societies throughout the world. Feelings of accomplishment, discipline and self-confidence are also experienced as children take part in performances and concerts and achieve in exams.
All pupils are encouraged to perform and take part in activities with others, developing their awareness of musical traditions and practices across a variety of cultures, genres and societies.
Singing is one of the most important aspects of music making at Great Ballard and all children take part in choirs up to Form 5. This enables the pupils to have a strong foundation in the core skills of performance, listening and composing.
Children learn about different composers and types of music and class groups may learn an instrument such as the recorder, ukulele or ocarina as well as composing skills in the music room where children all have access to keyboards. Pupils are encouraged to listen and appraise, perform and create, and this, in turn, increases the knowledge and understanding of music in the school, and in doing so, develops the musical skills of all the pupils.
We also have a team of visiting peripatetic teachers giving pupils opportunities to learn to play an instrument such as the piano, guitar, drums, violin, flute, clarinet and saxophone and children are also able to take Associated Board music exams. Pupils are encouraged to learn an instrument and experience a deserved sense of accomplishment when taking part in performances and concerts, singing in choirs or passing musical grades.
The school has two percussion ensembles and other instrumental groups and it is the aim of the Director of Music for every child to be involved in music as an extracurricular activity.
Concerts and music events throughout the year include Christmas Concerts at the stunning Boxgrove Priory, an infant nativity where all children from Nursery to Form 2 take part, informal concerts in the school hall and smaller musical recitals. The children also take part in local community and charity events as well as festivals. One of the highlights of recent years has been being involved in Young Voices where several children took part in a National Event held at the O2 Arena in London earlier in the year.
Some of our past pupils have gone on to perform music as a career and we strongly believe that the benefits of a music education in school can reach far beyond school years and that “Music is for Life”.
By giving every pupil the opportunity to enjoy art from an early age, all our pupils benefit hugely from Art and a creative-based learning.
From Year 3, when children enter the prep school, each class has a weekly 80 minute art lesson where they are introduced to a variety of materials and topics including:
Those who show an aptitude for art have extra lessons with our specialist art teacher. If they are able to create a high standard of work, similar to that of a strong GCSE pupil, four years their senior, they can apply for a scholarship to a senior school of their choice which are prestigious and may result in a reduction in fees. These scholarships can be solely art or can be taken as part of an all-rounder award. Great Ballard has an impressive track record of scholarships with many of our past pupils receiving Art Scholarships for senior schools such as Hurstpierpoint College, Brighton College, Lancing College and Seaford College.
As well as being a fantastic way of self-expression and creative development, it is an evolving skill that is relevant to both traditional and digital learning and creative career paths.
Living in a developing digital age, we have become surrounded by new technologies, with computers, smart phones, tablets, wearable tech and various other portable electronic devices becoming part of our daily lives. With most businesses having an online presence, there is great demand for creative artistic skills both on a digital and a more traditional level.
With the number of people working in art-related roles that are embedded with other professions almost having doubled from 1996-2006, it is expected that this number will continue to increase significantly in years to come. Pupils are encouraged to use traditional as well as digital art forms in the work they create to ensure they have opportunities to develop relevant skills for our ever changing environment.
For all pupils, we believe that a good grounding in Art provides a valuable life skill which they will take with them into their futures for both business and pleasure.
London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) was founded in 1861 and is one of the oldest and most respected Drama Schools in the United Kingdom. At Great Ballard we work individually or in small groups preparing speeches (Public Speaking examinations Forms 3-8) poetry (Verse and Prose examinations Forms 1-8) and Acting (Form 3-8) which are performed in front a LAMDA examiner.
LAMDA offers a comprehensive system of performance evaluation by expects in education, acting and communication. It is the UK’s largest statutory speech and drama awarding body and has a world-wide reputation for excellence. LAMDA exams are designed to equip pupils (whatever their age or aspirations) with a range of lifelong skills. Working towards LAMDA exams requires dedication and self-motivation but has huge rewards and benefits. Pupils will develop their imagination and creative thinking, enhance communication skills and confidence, refine their acting skills, and expand their knowledge of poems and literature.
LAMDA exams are a recognised vocational qualification which will help towards school,college, university and drama and dance school entrance. These exams are a fantastic way to measure progress as a performer against an international standard and to be rewarded with certificates and medals to acknowledge hard work and talent. Virtually all Independent Senior schools teach these exams and are impressed when pupils have already started them in the Prep schools.
Mrs Darby-Brown teaches Form 3-8 pupils working towards Public Speaking Exams in prep times each day except Wednesday. Mrs Katherine Mustafa is a peripatetic LAMDA teacher who comes into school on a Thursday morning and works with Verse and Prose and Acting pupils in small groups according to their grade. Examinations for Verse and Prose, Acting and Public Speaking are after the Easter Term. All verse and prose and acting pupils are also entered for the annual Worthing Arts Festival in February each year.