Drama helps school students

Pupils from Collingwood School in Hamlet
Pupils from Collingwood School in Hamlet

A Northumberland school is extending its use of drama to help pupils with special educational needs and disabilities to develop confidence and communication skills.

Collingwood School and Media Arts College in Morpeth has teamed up with creative learning company Mortal Fools on a project which uses theatre and the creative arts as a tool to support personal development by building skills, confidence and aspirations.

Collingwood has placed the arts at the core of its curriculum and ethos for many years, and in 2006 became a Specialist Media Arts College.

The school has been working with the arts company for a couple of years on a smaller scale, but their joint production of Hamlet, set in the theme of a punk nightclub, last year had such a profound impact on the young people and wider school community that it was decided to build on the partnership on a longer-term basis.

Rachel Benson, Head of Arts at Collingwood School said: “We believe that self-esteem, confidence and well-being go hand-in-hand with long-term achievement and fulfilment.

“We are particularly interested in looking at how we can use drama to build skills and capabilities in our young people to help them move forward successfully out of full-time education into the adult world of work.

“We are currently using our respective expertise to develop a drama programme, Future Ready, to develop the confidence in our pupils required for this successful transition.”

The project was highly collaborative, with professional theatre artists working alongside teaching staff and students across all production departments.

This year the students have chosen to produce The Tempest, set on a volcanic island, with Cleaswell Hill School, another special school, in Choppington, joining the project.