Day School & Sixth Form Newsletter - Dec 2016

A Message from Mr Blake

ArtsEd has kept shining its light, providing us with much to enjoy and celebrate amidst the shadows of a turbulent 2016.

This term started with good news from the summer that the pupils had, once again, secured excellent exam results and had moved on to wonderful places to study at both FE and HE – including ArtsEd of course! We also started working with a number of new teaching staff who have all fitted-in wonderfully well and whose impact on the learning that takes place has already been praised by the pupils (it’s always really positive when I receive emails from pupils telling me how much they have enjoyed a particular learning experience, and it goes to show that our lines of communication are strong and growing all the time. Look out for bulletins from our new Pupil Academic Council starting from next term).

We’ve enjoyed a number of powerful Drama Department performances, and The Music Concert is taking place this week. The Year 7 panto is also not far off, rehearsals are well under way for The Junior Musical and it won’t be long before rehearsals begin for The Dance Show (where does the time go?) I look forward to seeing many of you at the performances and celebrating the successes of the wide range of pupils involved.

Extra-curricular opportunities have been growing this year with a new Puppet(eering) Club and also our first trip to Iceland, which proved to be a wonderful visit as well as a valuable learning experience for the scientists and geographers who flew out in October.

I’d also like to thank all those parents involved with running, or supporting, TAP our teachers and parents group. Look out for more TAP events coming later in the school year, and read more about TAPs latest news from Mrs Collura below.

From January the pupils will be involved in mock examinations and modular tests, so I know that revision will be part of the break, and we wish all the pupils the very best of luck with all their examinations.

All that is left for me to say is a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all the pupils, staff, parents and carers who make up the ArtsEd family, I look forward to seeing you at our Academic Review Day at the start of next term.

Sixth Form Masterclass at Rambert

On Saturday 12th November, current students Teige Bisnought, Kirsty Wilson and Leigh Shaked were invited to join a master class run by Dilek Taptik at the prestigious new home of Rambert on the South Bank. It was an opportunity for the students to take a sneak peak into the world of contemporary dance as they begin their audition process for further education. We were delighted to have with us alumni students Isaac Gryn (currently on the Musical Theatre Degree at ArtsEd) and Monique Jonas (Rambert graduate and now dancer with Richard Alston Company). The workshop included an advanced ballet class followed by a contemporary class. It was a real treat to see our current and present students working in a professional capacity and our thanks go to Dilek Taptik for this exceptional opportunity.

Science and Geography Iceland Trip 2016

By Millie Mahoney, Year 10

In October half term pupils from Years 9, 10 and 11 visited Iceland for just under a week. During our stay we visited many amazing natural wonders and participated in some bucket list-worthy activities.

Firstly, we encountered unbelievable luck when our tour guide made a change to our schedule; instead of Wednesday night, we went to see the Northern Lights (aurora borealis) on the second night and we were able to observe this spectacular event in all its glory. Walking behind a gigantic waterfall, swimming in the Blue Lagoon, seeing the Great Geysir erupt into the sky, climbing steps beside a waterfall with a double rainbow and exploring a black beach with stunning caves and cliffs were also highlights that made our bucket list complete.

The breathtaking scenery and our tour guide Orn, who enlightened us with myths and the history of each place on our coach journeys, made every moment of our trip enjoyable. I will never forget this experience, or how cold I felt (due to the freezing temperatures…or my lack of layers). I strongly recommend visiting this unique country and I know everyone that went to Iceland had a great time. A big thank you to all the teachers involved in the organisation and preparation of the trip!

Year 7 Explore Pantomime

Written by Olivia Smedley, Year 7

This term Year 7 pupils have been rehearsing a pantomime in preparation for performance on Monday, 12th December 2016. We’ve practised since October, all our parents are invited and we’re really excited.

The pantomime follows Aladdin, Princess Jasmine, Sultan and The Genie but has many original twists and turns including singing and dancing by Year 7 pupils. It is excellently narrated by Amara Mughal with exciting roles for everyone involved with characters including Cinderella, Snow White, Goldilocks, Robin Hood, Prince Charming, Elvis The King and Dick Whittington! I play Wishy-Washy, Aladdin’s best friend.

Mr Clark has been directing us and he will add lighting and music when needed but costumes have all been provided by ourselves and we had great fun designing and finding our outfits.

My favourite moment in rehearsal was when Mr Clark wanted everyone to be more over dramatic (you have to be very melodramatic in pantomime), he was starting to say it over and over again so he recorded it on his phone and played it whenever he needed. I think he played it fifteen times in one read through! It was funny and by the end of the rehearsal it was much more dramatic and much more enjoyable.

We used everything we learnt in our ‘Melodrama’ unit. For example, we learnt to use stock gestures – such as despair, to express our melodramatic feelings.

During my time working on the play, I have learned many drama skills such as mime. It has been great fun to learn about pantomime and I’m really excited about our performance!

Sixth Former Wins National Award

Sixth Form student Daniel Ellis has won the British Dyslexia Association Young Person’s Award 2016.

The award was made in recognition of Daniel’s commitment to creating positive attitudes towards dyslexia which he achieved through his stand-up comedy performances. The award also acknowledges how far Daniel has come from being diagnosed to achieving a place at ArtsEd.

In his acceptance speech Daniel spoke of his dyslexia as a gift: “I would not be in the position I am today if I did not have dyslexia. I would not be as creative or free thinking as I am. This gift has enabled me to become an actor and comedian and gain a place at the greatest performing arts Sixth Form in the UK.”

When Daniel finishes his Sixth Form study at ArtsEd next year he hopes to study for a degree in Acting. We are very proud of Daniel’s achievements and look forward to seeing how his bright future unfolds.

Girls on Board

In early September ArtsEd participated in Girls on Board - a workshop programme especially designed to help adolescent girls navigate and negotiate friendships and social relationships in secondary school (based on the book: Queen Bees and Wannabees: by Rosalind Wiseman).

Created by Andrew Hampton (Headteacher at Thorpe Hall School), the programme provides girls with a valuable toolkit of communication skills. All the girls in Years 7-10 took part in the workshop, which consisted of whole group discussion and role-playing various scenarios.  Form Tutors across year groups were also present in the workshops, and they were able to see how learning about the issues involved in a safe and positive way was a really productive approach to understanding the complexities of adolescent girls relationships.

All in all – an informative, fun and valuable day!

Student Reflections on Aesthetica Short Film Festival in York

I always enjoy the York Media Studies trip. The trip is the definition of perfect for any film lover. York - a city littered with cafes, scents of homemade cakes lingering in the air and cobbled pathways and wonky, buildings as far as the eyes can see - is stunning. Various venues about the town are converted into intimate cinemas, throughout the day these cinemas hold various screenings of short films varying in genre: comedy, thriller, drama, fashion, experimental… the list goes on. With the yellow pass proudly around your neck, clashing fantastically with your outfit, you gain access to as many of these screenings as you so wish.

Whilst I preferred the standard of the films in 2015, I enjoyed this year’s trip much more. We stayed in a very nice hotel and travelled from venue to venue, and restaurant to restaurant, with such a lovely bunch of people who shared my passion for film. The films are always eye opening in one way or another, whether it be in its seamless editing, interesting concept or witty dialogue, each is outstanding in its own right and the entire program is extremely inspirational for budding film makers.

Our film groups were also able to gather research to take forward into our own filming processes. Personally, I also visited The War Museum to gather research for my war film. I’ve never known anyone to not enjoy the trip, and I think that says a lot!

Written by Holly Stevens, Year 13 (Media Studies student)


Attending the Aesthetica Short Film Festival was such an interesting and fun experience socially, as well as for educational purposes. We arrived in York on Thursday Evening and there was already an unmistakable atmosphere of friendliness and excitement. At first I was quite apprehensive since personally I had never attended such a festival, and was unsure of what to expect, but my initial uncertainty was soon put to rest because of the very welcoming environment.

Friday and Saturday were packed full of films, master classes and networking opportunities. The film viewings and events were in all sorts of different venues across York such as cafes, museums, theatres and school auditoriums. We were allowed to be very independent and therefore were always watching or taking part in something we were interested in, which made the trip even more worthwhile.

Watching a great range of short films was extremely inspiring and really widened my interest in different genres. For example, I've never been too keen on thrillers since I've always found them to be quite exasperating to watch, but seeing the innovative short thrillers completely changed my opinion and I now view them as intense and powerful. As well as the dramas, thrillers and artist films there were comedies, which offered a fun break from the more intense films.

Overall it was an amazing trip and I was given the chance to learn so much about filmmaking, narrative and entering the profession. It was a wonderful opportunity and I would definitely recommend it for future pupils.

Written by Lily Blunsom-Washbrook, Year 12 (Film Studies student)


As an educational trip we spent most of the Friday and Saturday watching short films at various converted venues all over the city. This proved to be extremely valuable, as we are all producing our own short films as A level coursework and this plethora of experiences available inspired many creative ideas.

The different film categories such as Comedy and Artistic provided variety over many hours of film-going. Focusing on our own genre of film, I personally spent most of my time in Drama and Thrillers, which ranged from excellently produced works (including a chiller by Morgane Polanski, daughter of Roman) to some slightly more variable ones. One of the highlights was our utter bemusement at viewing the Experimental films, whose weird imagery was very far from anything we had imagined, but we could appreciate the talent of all the creators.

We also attended master classes from Peaky Blinders editor Celia Haining, and actor/director Alice Lowe, who offered insights into many areas of the industry. Celia gave a lecture about how she became an editor, and played clips of her work in rough-cut and final mix to explain the crucial decisions taken to maximize a film’s impact.  Alice, in a discussion, outlined how she was able to expand her skills from acting to screenwriting to directing her first feature Prevenge - whilst six months pregnant! This proved to be invaluable for those of us interested in the range of jobs available, especially for women. Socially, the trip was equally beneficial, mixing Years 12 and 13, and our small group bonded much more than we hoped for. From singing Will Reiss Happy Birthday outside York Cathedral, to battling the driving rain to make it to far-away screening venues, the weekend was full of memories.  We’ll be back!

Written by Rebecca Prentice, Year 12 (Film Studies Student)

TAP was founded in 2014 by a small group of core parents and since it’s launch the group has gone from strength to strength. This term TAP generously donated £3000 to the School’s Hardship Fund – all of which was raised through the group’s several fundraising events, which have been strongly supported by the Artsed community.   We hope to see you at the upcoming Social Event!

Julia Collura
Director of CPD and Careers, TAP Chair

Puppet Club

Written by Millie Wise, Year 13

In the beginning of October, I set up a small puppetry club during Friday lunch times for Year 7s and 8s with the expectation that they would all think it was a terrible idea and that no one would turn up. However, much to my surprise and delight, a brilliant handful of lovely and enthusiastic girls have come together to begin devising and performing a small performance with the puppets that they have made themselves.

I started them off exploring different kinds of puppets, with the obvious ‘sock puppets’ being first on the list, teaching them how to bring their puppets to life through breath and emotion. They all had such innovative views on how they wanted their puppets to breathe, creating a very entertaining show for me but also a look into how perceptively they would transfer human breath into the sock on their hands. Once they had quickly grasped this, we moved on to ‘table-top puppets’ and making a loose form on ‘Bun Raku’ puppetry using newspaper, focusing on the core strength of the characters and working together in pairs to give their puppets form – the interactions between the girls and their puppets were absolutely fantastic to watch! Once they had got to grips with the basic style and works of different kinds of puppetry, they began devising a short performance that they are soon going to perform to the Lower School and a few Sixth Formers using a creative variety of sponge puppets and sock puppets. All of the puppeteers seem to be very excited to continue working on bringing their puppets to life and exploring characterisation.

From next term, the plans for Puppet Club are to keep delving into different styles of puppetry with a few quirky twists – plastic cup marionettes? T-shirt rod puppets? A cheeky muppet? The possibilities are endless when you can bring practically anything to life using just breath and eyeline. So far though, Puppet Club seems to have been well received by all the members and it is a joy to see them using their imaginations to create such funny and diverse characters.

Students Perform at Make-A-Wish Foundation Gala

By Yasmin Attree Faloona, Year 10

On Saturday, 24th September Years 8, 9 and 10 dancers were invited to perform, for the 2nd year running, at the famous Savoy Hotel in London’s West End.  The event was a Black Tie Awards Dinner hosted by Legacy Education in aid of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. We performed two pieces from the 2016 ArtsEd Dance Show, 'Le Mime Nouvelle’ and ‘Studio 54’ that were choreographed by Mr Harris and Miss Wilson. We were part of the evening’s entertainment, which also included a performance by 70’s pop band Boney ‘M’ who played old hits like ‘By the Rivers of Babylon’, ‘Daddy Cool’ and ‘Ra Ra Rasputin’. Miss Wilson, Mr Harris and Mr Reynolds supported us on the night and I’d like to thank them on behalf of all the dancers for the time and effort they put in to getting us rehearsed and ready.

Make-A-Wish is a fantastic charity that grants wishes to children less fortunate than us that are suffering from life-threatening conditions. The fund raising activities on the night managed to raise over £50,000 for the charity, which will help grant over 10 magical wishes to children and their families. It was a great opportunity to be able to dance at the Savoy in front of 300 guests and to feel involved in some way in raising money for such a worthwhile cause. It was an amazing experience preparing for the night and then seeing the appreciation of the audience when we preformed our numbers. I’m glad to say that ArtsEd is already booked in to perform at next year’s Gala Dinner and hopefully I’ll get a chance to do it again.

Geography Field Trip - Start Bay Devon

Written by Francesca Causer and Meg D'Arcy, Year 10

As part of the GCSE course, the Year 10 & 11 Geography pupils went on a residential fieldtrip to Start Bay, Devon between Thursday October 6th and Saturday October 8th; facilitated by the Field Studies Council in Slapton. During this time, we conducted a number of experiments that are vital for the successful completion of Unit 3 of the course. Once we arrived and settled in we started to learn about the area and how to survey it. In doing this general skills were picked up in beach profiling such as lithology, wave count and longshore drift measurement. These experiments showed us how the weather influences the rate of erosion in different areas along the coast. On the second day we had to walk between 10 km – 15 km along Start Bay, this is where we collected the data for the geographical enquiry. During this walk our tutor, Emily educated us about the historical background of the villages and towns visited. We collected the data in groups, all focusing on different aspects of the enquiry. Each of us had an individual element which explored a specific side to the investigation. At the end of the visit, we shared the data collected throughout the inquiry and were able to compare notes. This was especially useful for the Year 11s who had to write a controlled assessment about the investigation. Once back at school, we learned how to present the data collected, we also did presentations in pairs. In conclusion, the fieldtrip to Devon was a success, we enjoyed different elements of it but all would admit they learnt a lot more about the GCSE course.

Staff News

Kökar Kultur - The Summer Island
Over the summer Alice Finbow (Deputy Director of Sixth Form, Art and Photography Teacher) went on an two week artist residence on a very small Finnish island Kökar, it is a tiny island with a population of 220.  On the residence Alice worked both on a collaborative project with her mother, Dr Smith and on her own separate projects. The work with her mother combines text and images and is references the scrapes that they got in to, but also about the shifting roles in their relationship as they age. Alice also worked on a series of drawings which were reflective of her experiences on the island as well as extending her on going project, Fitting in, humour is an important part of the work. To see more of the project please go to her website


This term we welcomed two new members of staff, Joe Wilson (Musical Director/Conductor) and Emma Northmore (Ballet Teacher). Of his move to London, Joe commented: "Leaving my Musical Directing career in the North East was not an easy decision but it has been a very worthwhile and rewarding one to be able to experience teaching here at ArtsEd. It is a genuine pleasure to experience teaching music and singing in an environment where the arts are so highly regarded and students are encouraged and supported in their participation and learning of many different disciplines. I have enjoyed developing sounds and repertoire with students whether that be Day School choirs or Sixth Form musical theatre as well as forming new professional relationships with colleagues since the start of the year. I very much look forward to what the future holds here at ArtsEd."


We say farewell to Steven Shields (BTEC Acting Teacher) at the end of this term as he leaves to explore other avenues in the primary sector. He has thoroughly enjoyed his time at ArtsEd and learnt a great deal from both staff and students. He wishes all the students continued success in the future.

In his place, Samantha Dye will join the BTEC Acting team in January. Samantha trained in Voice at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and prior to this trained in Performance in Newcastle upon Tyne. Samantha has worked with theatre companies, national tours, and in various education establishments across London and the North East for the last 10 years. Samantha is looking forward to starting work at ArtsEd and loves to work with students to unlock their enthusiasm, confidence, creativity and imagination in the acting discipline. She is excited and privileged to work in such a prestigious institution.


Congratulations to Miss Boon! "My husband and I had a cosy winter wedding set in a local boat house overlooking the river. The Prosecco was flowing and the band definitely got the party started. The highlight would be family that live abroad coming over to celebrate the day with us! I will be starting the new year as Mrs Meydanci-Lofting... just one more letter!!"
Also congratulations to Miss Loweth (now Mrs Swingler) and Miss Lea (now Mrs Jones) who both got married over the summer.

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