Day School & Sixth Form Summer Newsletter

What a year it's been!

The academic year 2015-16 has been a whirlwind! It seems like just a few weeks ago that I was writing to you all about the year ahead and suddenly it’s July and we’re heading off on our summer break.

We’ve continued to build on our successes from last year, being awarded ISM Gold (for the top 100 schools in the UK for Music results), winning the ISA Drama Thorpe Hall Prize for innovation, and achieving a wonderful Whole School Review from the ISI consultants (which will be shared with you over the summer break). It is a testament to the hard work of staff and students that we continue to go from strength to strength and have consolidated our position as the best performing arts school in the UK.

We were recently visited by The Good Schools Guide who were here to update the entry for ArtsEd. It was a rigorous process that involved spending half a day at the school and a range of detailed interviews with pupils and parents. I am thrilled to be able to share with you the ‘closing remarks’ of the entry that;

A dynamic, purposeful, well-oiled institution where creative youngsters learn to work hard and achieve highly.
“With the school’s expert guidance and support the transformation of my child has been remarkable.”
- Parent
“Mum, I don’t think there’s another school in the world that is as good and as fun as ArtsEd.” - Pupil

I think that’s a lovely summary of our school, and I would encourage you to read the full report when it’s live online as there are many wonderful observations and comments.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank every single one of the ArtsEd community of teachers, students and parents for their hard work, dedication and care. It’s our cooperation that enables this school… our school, to be the best place to work, learn and grow that I know.

I wish you all a wonderful summer break, and I look forward to sharing and celebrating all things ArtsEd with you next year.


Adrian Blake

Teachers And Parents Committee Update

TAP had another very successful year which culminated with a Pub Quiz on 26 May at The Duchess of Cambridge Pub, hosted by Craig Sparrow (dad of Ellie in Year 10). An impressive £500 was raised for the TAP fund as teachers and parents did their best to answer questions compiled by Cherry Wood (parent of Ethan, Year 8). Special thanks to TAP and the Social Committee: Gina Symmons mum of Louis and Poppy (alums), Rachel Fox mum of Honor (Year 7), Sharon Pitt mum of Jake (Year 8) and Cherry Wood for organising the successful fundraiser.

Please keep a lookout for TAP news as we head into the new academic year as assistance will be needed for the School’s New Parents Welcome Evenings, Open Evenings and of course the Holiday fundraiser. In the meantime, wishing you all a wonderful Summer and a relaxing well deserved break.

Julia Collura
Director of CPD and Careers

Years 7 & 8 Meet West End Stars

Written by Ava O’Brien (Year 8)

The actors and dancers of Year 7 & 8 travelled to the glorious Phoenix Theatre to watch a matinee performance of Guys and Dolls. The show has been performed across the world since 1950 and was the Best Musical Tony Award winner in 1982.

We sat down very close to the large proscenium arch stage with a colourful set, with a variety of iconic 1950's advertisements lit up around the stage. Throughout Act 1 there had been catchy and spirited songs followed by a series of wonderful moments of choreography. There had been a real depth of character in every scene as we began to see the characters’ relationships develop. There was a fabulous finish to the performance which earnt a standing ovation. There were many smiles upon the audience’s faces.

After the performance we had the opportunity to have a question and answer session with the leading members of the cast: Jonathan Stewart (Skye Masterson), Richard Kind (Nathan Detroit), Samantha Spiro (Miss Adelaide), and Siubhan Harrison (Sarah Brown). This was a fantastic chance for us to ask specific questions that will help our own acting ability. The actors were very candid and polite and provided much detail.

What inspired you to become an actor?
Siubhan Harrison said “Unfortunately it was an act of ----rebellion. Because I went to a very academic school, I suddenly realised that all I wanted to do was sing, so I started focusing on the Arts.”

Do you have any tips for learning lines?
Siubhan Harrison answered “Well I usually take it a chunk at time, and write them all out, and see how much I’ve remembered. Then I record myself saying the lines, then take a minute and go to another characters lines at random. I then go back to my own and see what I’d retained.”

What do you do to get into character before you get on stage?
Samantha Spire replied “Well I feel that the character development and getting into character is all during the rehearsal process, so by the time you get on stage you just know it.”

The Q&A was very inspiring and gave us a special opportunity to have an intimate conversation with the actors. We all thoroughly enjoyed the performance of Guys and Dolls; it was a highly established production complete with beautiful costumes, comedic musical numbers and energetic dance routines.

Magical Trip for Year 10

There was huge interest in the Year 10 Media Studies trip to Warner Bros Studios in Leavesden - and that was just from the teachers! All eight Harry Potter films were shot at this North West London Studio. The tour took the students, who are studying Action and Adventure films, from the first conception of the film franchise to its cinema release. There were displays of authentic sets, props and costumes from the movies with interactive activities involving cinematography and special effects. The students had a fun day and learnt a great deal that will help their GCSE film-making project next year.

The Last of Summer Youth with AnOther Magazine

''It was a unique experience that I was glad to be a part of.'' Lira Stroeter

Sixth Form alumna Chloe Press, who is now AnOther Magazine’s fashion coordinator, came back to ArtsEd to write an article about aspiring young artists and performers. Alongside photographer Laura Coulson, Sixth Form students from ArtsEd and other schools were selected to take part in a photoshoot shoot and interview about studying the arts and their hopes and dreams.

Georgie Mziu Year 13, Lira Stroeter Year 12 and Cameron Munro Year 12 were selected to go on location in Highgate for the shoot. They were prepped and pampered with hair and makeup and dressed in designer clothes. The students got to see behind the scenes of how a professional shoot worked and got the luxury of being centre of attention for an hour, pulling all their best moves for the camera!

It was a lot of fun and I think all the students felt that this should be a more regular part of daily life!

You can view the full gallery online and read the full article.

Georgia Pemberton is playing lead role of Blousey in Bugsy Malone at Lyric Hammersmith

Carla Dixon is currently performing in Matilda The Musical

Mackenzie Dawes is performing in Peter Pan at 88 London Road Theatre

Next Step for Sixth Formers

We are delighted that many of our Sixth Formers have received unconditional offers for places at top performing arts institutions including:

ArtsEd / Bird College / Central Film School / Guildford School of Acting
LAMDA / London Studio Centre / Performers College / 
Stella Adler Academy of Acting Los Angeles

Students have also been successful in securing conditional offers from the following prestigious universities:

Bristol University / British and Irish Modern Music Institute / Goldsmiths
International School of Screen Acting / Middlesex University / Royal Holloway University of Edinburgh / University of Leeds / University of Roehampton
University of Westminster

We hope our Year 13 leavers have an enjoyable summer and wish them the best of luck for their bright futures.

Open Evenings 2016

27 September from 6pm - Sixth Form
28 September from 6pm - Day School

We look forward to welcoming our Year 11 pupils and parents to learn about their Sixth Form options.

If you think your friends, family or neighbours might be interested in finding out more about ArtsEd, please invite them to an open evening or forward this email to them.

Prospective parents and students can register in advance by completing our ONLINE REGISTRATION FORM.

Our open evenings are a fantastic opportunity for prospective students and parents to learn more about Arts Educational School.

The open evenings include performances in The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation Theatre, a presentation from the Headteacher Adrian Blake and a full tour of the school.

Students Fly High at Thorpe Park

By Ava O'Brien (Year 8)

Thorpe Park, an island on which adrenaline rushes, and screams of joy arise. ArtsEd’s students of Years 7-10 piled into three large coaches where music was played and chatter arose. Once at the park, although there was a slight hint of rain, the excitement could not be stopped. There was chatter of which rides should be ridden first, who to ride it with, and simply looking up and staring at the magnificent rides.

Everyone ran as fast as they could through the gates and into the park, some stopping to stare at the carts flying by and others not stopping until they reached the large dome. The large dome was full of games which could be played and prizes that could be won, treats that could be eaten, and lockers that could be filled.

The four years ran from thing to thing, with utter excitement. Most headed towards one of the big five: Stealth, Saw, Colossus, Inferno, and Swarm. The rides that flew high in the air, took turns and loops and left you on the ground feeling the buzz of the rides. All of the years had four hours to pack as many rides into their memories as they possibly could. People ran from place to place, sometimes using fast track to escape the long waits in the lines.

After an exhilarating day the final ride of the day was the coach journey home.

Producer Shares BBC Insight with Year 12

The Year 12 Media students are starting to make plans for their future after ArtsEd. To help them make informed choices, BBC Series Producer / Director Ben Southwell came to lead a workshop about a career in TV.  He outlined how he got to work for the BBC and offered practical insights in getting programmes commissioned and made. He gave anecdotes from series he had worked on from Top Gear to Tomorrow’s World and with presenters like Ray Mears, Fiona Bruce and Stephen Fry. As part of the A2 Media production assignment, the students did a practical video exercise on creating enigma in TV dramas, which Ben then gave feedback on when they screened a rough edit for the class.

Cross-Curricular Day

Friday 10th June was Cross-Curricular day. On this day subject teachers came together to join elements of their subjects and the theme this year was British Values. Read about some of the activities below.

Queen Found on Treasure Hunt!

By Eleanor Wainwright and Ellan Mangham (Year 12)

The day started off with a heated Brexit debate, where two teams battled: “In For The Win” and “Out For The Clout”. Although there wasn’t a clear winner and we couldn’t vote in the referendum, everyone’s strong opinions were heard and both sides argued well.

We travelled to Blackfriars ready to start our scavenger hunt, however on the way we encountered the Queen and Prince Phillip cruising in their Bentley State Limousine escorted by the police dressed up in fluorescent jackets.

Following the Royal meeting, we were given instructions on arrival at Smithfields to start our treasure hunt – ‘Lost Souls of the City’. Clues included: “Take an Oat, avoid blemish, tunnel a saint, devour love. Seek Bill’s bust. To whom do we owe ‘the gratitude of mankind’?”

Some teams thrived, others were beaten by hunger and succumbed to the picnic with foods from different cultures. A great day was had by all, especially the Queen as it was her 90th birthday!

Brick Lane

Written by Bibi Grunert (Year 10)

We made our way to Brick Lane in order to carry out a survey on fashion. The results found by each group varied as we all had different questions to ask, but we found that the majority of the people used their style as a way to express themselves, not only for their culture but incorporating others, to stand out within the crowds. As one man put it "Life is too short to be in the shadows".

After a spicy trip to an Indian restaurant we made our way to a very welcoming meeting at a hospital. We spoke to a man named Gavin who had gone from a relatively happy life to an immense downward spiral. He became an alcoholic, was financially bankrupt, disowned by his family and found that his whole persona had changed in the process. He told us how he rebuilt his life with the help and support of many social groups. He encouraged us to enjoy and appreciate our lives consciously and happily.


Written by Matilda Price (Year 12)

For Cross-Curricular day we explored the influence of different cultures in London with a focus on the vibrant and multicultural area around Brick Lane.

Brick Lane has been associated with migrants since the 17th century when Huguenots fled religious persecution in France. The Huguenots settled just outside the city walls of London and were heavily associated with the weaving industry. Brick Lane continued to be associated with textiles through further waves of immigration – Jews fleeing persecution in Russia in the 19th century and Bangladeshis in the 1970s.

We started the day by watching the film ‘Brick Lane’ based on the best-selling book by Monica Ali which explores the story of a young woman born in rural Bangladesh who travels to Brick Lane due to an arranged marriage and how cultural differences impact on her life. We then travelled to Brick Lane to examine first-hand the influence of migrant communities on the area. We looked at the census for Fashion Street from 1891 that revealed that most people living there were born in Russia and had common Jewish surnames. We even found the house of one of Jack the Ripper’s victims!

Next we went to a curry house on Brick Lane and tasted different dishes based on popular Bangladeshi recipes, which were delicious. To finish we walked to the Museum of London and explored how London had changed from prehistoric times to the modern day. It was incredible to see how much cultural, social and political change has occurred in just one city and interesting to see how the city we now live in developed from such rich cultural influences within it.

Discovering the Dark Side of London: Past and Present

Written by Cate Taylor, Head of English

Year 9 and 10 students had a fascinating encounter with our city’s criminal past during the ArtsEd annual Cross-Curricular Day. The day began with a visit to the Old Bailey to watch a murder trial in session. Jason, Year 10, was particularly enthralled by the experience: ‘It was incredibly interesting to witness both a closing argument and a cross examination; the atmosphere of the court room was intensely dramatic.’ Sitting silently in the public witness balcony, students observed closely the actions of the judge, jury, barristers and the accused, who were guarded by security staff in the plastic-fronted dock. For a few students, the experience sparked a desire to pursue law in the future and needless to say their existing experience of the stage will hold them in good stead for such a career.

After a sunny picnic, we travelled across the city to the London Dungeons where we experienced a frightening 110 minute journey through London’s murky past. Beginning with a pitch-black boat ride to King Henry VII’s Traitor’s Gate and ending in Jack the Ripper’s Whitechapel, students tracked the darkest historical periods of the city.

Walking in the Shoes of Others

Written by Head of Humanities Marianne Beresford and Imogen Gurton (Year 8) 

Mrs Beresford: The focus for our day with Year 7 and 8 pupils was on people who have come to Britain: reasons for leaving their original homelands, the journey and arrival. We wanted the children to think deeply and empathise with those who have migrated to this country, to try to walk in the shoes of others.

For the introductory activity the children, in groups, were asked to construct a story from a shoe that they had been given. After this Farhiya Ali, a member of the school community who works as a cleaner, talked about her experiences as a refugee. She told us of her childhood in Somalia, her hopes and aspirations as a young woman, how the family was forced to flee and then about her arrival and early struggles to start a new life in London.  The group was deeply affected by her story and by her dignity and courage. After this the children spoke with honesty and trust of their own experiences and those of their families.

Imogen: We presented our own stories about where we came from and learnt a lot about our friends and classmates. We then went to Rocks Lane and had lunch and shared the food that we had brought in from our different cultures, we also played games and had fun in the sun.

Mrs Beresford: After a shared picnic lunch under the trees on the green, the group returned to school and spent the afternoon working with tutors Russell (Drama dept.) and Dilek (Dance dept.) to shape a piece of work based on the morning discussions and shared experiences. Shoes formed an integral part of the work: pupils first “walked” in a circle on their knees with their shoes on their hands, then broke and reformed as an aeroplane and then a boat. Finally they “arrived” by sitting down, mimed the opening of a suitcase and the taking out of a treasured possession, and quietly took turns to speak words that gave voice to their feelings of sorrow, loss and alienation, and finally of hope for a new future.

Imogen: The aim of the day was to understand being in the situations our ancestors faced and to be in another person’s shoes metaphorically. By the end of the day that was fully and successfully achieved and left us all feeling very grateful for what we had.

Day School Pupils Achieve Lead Roles in the West End

Two ArtsEd Day School alumni and one current pupil took to the stage in June, joining three of the West End’s most prominent theatre productions.

Read the full story on the website.

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