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The Arts

The Arts

The Arts – in this context Art, Music and Drama – are disciplines which Holme Grange understands supremely well.
Of course, ‘Art’ is a very broad term, and we encourage research and experimentation across a wide range of art-related media, with results that speak for themselves.
Recent investment will result in a superb theatre with retractable, tiered seating for an audience of 300, and which will be fully furnished with professional sound and lighting equipment for truly stunning results. The performing Arts have always been a strength of Holme Grange, but this new development will elevate us to a new level of excellence right across the board, helping our pupils achieve continued outstanding results in Musical Theatre and LAMDA assessments which are gained on an annual basis.

All pupils are encouraged to participate in the various musical and theatrical productions which take place on a regular basis. This helps to build a surprising level of confidence in our pupils, and rewards them with plaudits from an audience which can include family, friends and peers, and members of the local community.

The theatre will provide the perfect setting for musical expression and formal performances, with full sound management facilities on tap.

We encourage all of our pupils to learn an instrument while at Holme Grange and offer tuition in an extremely wide range of instruments. For those with a talent or enthusiasm for singing, our Junior and Senior Choirs will be of interest, with the seniors enjoying a European trip to venues which, in recent years, have included Paris and will look to extend to Rome, Venice, Florence and Barcelona.

In Year 7 pupils all work towards the nationally accredited Bronze Arts Award,  in Y8 they progress to the Silver award and in Y9 students will commence work towards the Gold Award.

Art and Design

The Art Department is a lively, innovative and dynamic environment, where every student is encouraged to develop his or her individuality through the use of a wide range of media.

Students have the opportunity to explore and to gain skills in both contemporary and traditional art-related techniques. The Department believes strongly that the specific skills of drawing and painting can be taught and learned effectively; on this solid foundation more idiosyncratic, wide-ranging and imaginative approaches can be developed. Ceramics, textiles, woodwork, photography and all the usual forms of art media are included across the school. IT is used effectively to support the curriculum and extend the repertoire of skills our pupils develop.

The Department is proud to show the work of its pupils in the annual exhibition of Art and Technology; visitors to the Department frequently commenting favourably on the quality of work on display.

Through art and design activities pupils learn to make informed value judgements along with aesthetic and practical decisions. We hope that every pupil, regardless of ability, can find a valid way of expressing their ideas and producing art work to be proud of.

Through teaching art and design we aim to:

  • Provide pupils with the skills, concepts and knowledge necessary for them to express their responses to ideas, feelings and experiences in a visual and tactile form.
  • Encourage the development of imagination, original thought and personal expression.
  • Enable children to become visually literate by understanding Art as a visual and tactile communication and to develop their ability to appreciate and evaluate images and artifacts.
  • Develop pupils’ aesthetic awareness and enable them to make informed critical responses about their work and that of others.
  • Encourage children to value the contribution made to their world by artists and designers from different cultures.
  • Help children to develop socially by working as a team.
  • Provide an equal opportunity for all pupils to reach their full potential regardless of race, gender or ability.

With enthusiasm and encouragement we would like to instill in every child an interest and enjoyment in Art and Design, to plant a seed which they can take on into their future and develop independently.

Design Technology

Design & Technology is a subject of increasing relevance in this era of emphasis on design and on technological advances. Understanding the basic principles of good design, the ways in which people interact with it, and the inter-relationship between function and form is an increasingly marketable skill; one which requires not only creativity and practicality, but also academic and intellectual capability.

The study of Technology allows pupils to engage with rapidly changing technologies and provides opportunities to consider the environment in which they live. Holme Grange teaches the skills necessary for success in a broad-based way.  Food Technology is taught in our new modern Food Technology suite.

The Department’s objectives are:

  • To gain an understanding and to develop skills in the design and making of products
  • To develop awareness of the principles of good design within modern society
  • To foster the ability to solve problems, to analyse and to evaluate in order to produce an effective solution

The subject is taught by highly qualified specialist teachers in well resourced accommodation. The Department is proud to showcase the projects and designs of its pupils in the annual Art and Design Technology Exhibition at the end of the year.

Design and Technology is about confidence, competence and capability. It is an exciting practical subject that allows pupils to make sense of appliances and processes in their environment.

Children have an innate curiosity about why and how things work. Design and Technology allows them to develop their creative skills through planning, designing and making. It is about thinking and doing and leads to minds and hands working together.

Our pupils gain great satisfaction from using physical resources to create products and it is hoped that they will experience a sense of achievement having worked through the design process that leads to a finished article.

Expectations

Through the teaching of Design and Technology we aim to:

  • Promote pupils’ knowledge and understanding of materials, components, controls and structures.
  • Utilise focused practical tasks in order to develop skills, techniques and knowledge, particularly those related to tools and materials.
  • Give pupils the opportunity to investigate, disassemble and evaluate a range of sample products which are found in everyday life.
  • Help pupils to formulate their original ideas and plans.Enable the children to experience a sense of achievement having worked through the design process that leads to a finished article.
  • Instil a positive health and safety attitude.Promote pleasure and enjoyment from their learning.

Food Technology

Our state of the art Food Technology room will enable a successful area of the School curriculum to be strengthened further. Whether it be tasting in Y1 or planning, preparing and cooking a three course meal in Y7, the children engage with enthusiasm and curiosity in every lesson they attend.

Food Technology is interesting, creative, and exciting. The emphasis is placed on learning by doing. The focus is on the production of food, considering nutritional, social, economic and cultural requirements of consumers.

Classroom activities involve:

  • Learning about ingredients, food commodities
  • Understanding the properties of foods – nutritional, sensory and functional
  • Investigating and tasting products
  • Being creative, designing new products
  • Engaging in practical activities using a range of skills, processes, equipment and materials
  • Assessing products and performance, rigorously using a range of evaluation and assessment techniques

The aim of the Food Technology curriculum is to provide each and every student the opportunity to develop a knowledge and understanding of a broad range of practical skills, techniques and recipes. Food Technology is a popular subject and students are provided with an opportunity to be creative and independent. Students can explore their creativity in cooking and preparing a variety of dishes. Cooking and healthy eating is an important life skill and Food Technology is focused on preparing healthy dishes safely and hygienically. Students will explore healthy eating and balanced diets and will learn about the nutritional needs of different groups in society. Students will learn how to adapt basic recipes for different target audiences and social groups. The study of making will also include the characteristics of a broad range of ingredients, including their nutritional, functional and sensory properties.

In the Pre Prep and Prep School, cross-curricular links are made where possible. Gingerbread men iced with the bones in the human skeleton and tropical fruit tasting from the Rain Forest provide just two examples of this.

Music

Music flourishes at Holme Grange School. All children are encouraged to learn a musical instrument and there are frequent concerts throughout the year.

Listen to: Ben Wheeler – Getting Tall

The Director of Music is assisted by many visiting instrumental teachers and children are prepared for Associated Board examinations. Every week over 100 pupils have individual music lessons for instruments such as piano, guitar, drums, trumpet, flute, ‘cello, and violin.

Our Choirs attend events such as the Wellington College Prep Schools Choral day where they meet with other schools for a day of Choral music making. Some children also compete in local music festivals such as Woodley and Maidenhead and have acheived numerous Gold, Silver and Bronze medals.

The Music department aims to promote the participation in and enjoyment of music throughout the school in the following ways.

  • Class music lessons provide an opportunity for learning, creativity and performance. Pupils engage in singing, instrumental work, listening and composing.
  • Visiting teachers make a wide range of instrumental lessons possible, including Music Theory. These are available to Year 2 pupils upwards.
  • Associated Board music exams take place termly and can give a focus to instrumental learning. Around 80 exams were taken during the last academic year.
  • All pupils are encouraged to participate in a thriving programme of extra-curricular activities including two Choirs, a Junior and Senior Band, a Duet Club and Recorder Ensemble,
  • Weekly singing practice encourages every pupil to make a positive contribution to assemblies and annual events.
  • in Y3 all pupils learn the violin as part of the music curriculum
  • In Y4 the pupils continue with strings for one term before progressing to the flute and clarinet for one term each
  • One year group learns to play and perform Asian Gamalan, one African Drumming and one Samba, giving a cultural element to the music curriculum and enriching the provision across the school.

ANNUAL MUSICAL HIGHLIGHTS

  • Harvest Festival
  • Pre-Prep Musical Nativity Play
  • Prep School Christmas Concert
  • Christmas Carol Service
  • School Play
  • House Music Competition
  • Instrumental Recital
  • Summer Concert

MUSICAL VISITS AND TRIPS

  • Attending Orchestral and Choral workshops at neighbouring schools
  • Maidenhead and Woodley Festivals – individual and choir entries
  • Participation in Royal School of Church Music summer choral event
  • Informal choral/instrumental performances in local community – eg residential homes
  • Proposed visit to The Barbican for a ‘Discovery’ concert given by the LS

Performing Arts

Holme Grange has a strong tradition in the performing arts. The subject forms part of the timetable and has a designated area where pupils can take lessons and practice for school productions.

Children from Little Grange and Pre Prep perform a Christmas play in December. The major school play involving Years 3 to 8 takes place in the Spring term. All pupils are encouraged to audition, and they enjoy the experience of being part of a spectacular production with many bright and colourful costumes.

From Year 2, pupils are able to undertake individual instrument lessons which include singing, percussion, brass and string in the Music School. Pupils work through the grades of the Associated Board Exams at their own pace. Throughout the year, there are many opportunities to perform in the choirs, orchestra, swing band, ensemble or as soloists at concerts or events such as the School Fete and Open Days.

The introduction of choral speaking is an exciting and valuable addition to the curriculum. Choral speaking provides essential learning of English vocabulary and structures in a group setting, further developing pupils confidence.

Dance tuition is provided by an external teacher and pupils are able to sit Royal Academy of Dance exams in the following genres: Ballet (from Nursery up), Jazz and Modern dance from Year 3.Boys and girls in Y3 and Y4 dance as part of the timetabled provision in school. Our first dance show was successfully staged in February 2015 where a range of dance and gym genre were displayed with precision and finesse

The highlight of the School Drama calendar is the annual production. The cast usually numbers in excess of 80 children from Year 3 up and is performed over three nights in the Spring term.

Performing arts lessons are timetabled for each year group once a week with a specialist teacher. Keen pupils can also attend a lunchtime drama club.

Performing Arts and Drama is a major element in the extra-curricular programme of the school. Pupils have the opportunity to work to refine their skills, prepare pieces and, eventually, to face the challenge of performance. Drama is both dynamic and rigorous; expectations are high and much is demanded of those who undertake this testing but fulfilling activity. The school’s reputation for the quality of its performances is extremely high, and the nature of full school productions in recent years has run the full gamut of genres.

Drama entails both the development of a raft of technical dramatic skills and of the ability to respond critically to performance as members of the audience. Pupils have many opportunities to visit professional productions both locally and further afield, including London.

The Department’s objectives are:

  • To nurture creativity and self-belief
  • To foster a life-long love of the theatre
  • To develop a working knowledge of theatrical technique
  • To apply knowledge of technique in a theatrical context
  • To encourage a disciplined work ethic