VIEWS & OPINION Using drama in Year 5 to

support transition Comment by MEL JORDAN, Transition Coordinator at Chorlton High School

For some children, approaching secondary school is a journey into the unknown, but for those coming to Chorlton High School it’s different. They are familiar faces because most have already been involved in our Year 5 production of As You Like It in March 2018. For the past 17 years, CHS has produced a

show, performed by Year 5 children from our primary schools as part of our transition programme. Performing the play is an introduction to CHS for the children and,

although not all end up joining us, the majority do. Being part of the performance helps to give them a shared history, as well as revealing the magic of Shakespeare.

How it works This year 477 Y5 students from our primary schools participated in the production of Macbeth. To involve such a large number of students I divide the play into three sections and each school is allocated a specific section. The play is performed twice with three primary schools on one night, the others on the following evening – so each performance has a

completely different cast. Students are involved in different ways: on stage in specific roles, in physical performance pieces, and as part of films which are shot in advance and projected as an integral part of the performance. In November, working with the Year 5 staff, I launch the show to the

children. Their teachers identify who would benefit most from being part of the cast on stage focusing on those children who may need a confidence boost, be struggling, or feel anxious. Once the show is cast, the children receive their scripts and, from January onwards, I run rehearsals in each school. The play is shortened but the text is not modernised. On the day of the show, in the last week of the Spring term, all the

schools come to our Blue Box Theatre for a dress rehearsal, piecing together the three sections like a jigsaw. In the evening they return to perform the play to an audience packed with parents, their teachers and those children who featured in the film.

How it supports transition Throughout Y6 we continue with a range of more traditional transition support including assemblies, workshops, and targeted visits to CHS. However, by starting in Y5, when time is less pressured and not focused on SATs, we get to meet all our future Y7s a year earlier, and they get to meet us. It’s also an opportunity for parents and carers to be introduced to CHS and to get a sense of the school ethos. Every year, on show day, I get all the Y5 students from different

schools to greet each other. I tell them that in this room there are people who will be their future friends. It’s a powerful message and nails one of the greatest fears about transition, namely making new friends. What’s great is I see it first-hand at CHS where new Y7 friendships regularly start with the discovery that students played the same role in the play.

Young entrepreneurs action environmental

change Comment by FERGUS ROSE, Advancement Director at ACS International Schools

Unsurprisingly, ‘Generation Z’ (children currently in education and U25s in university and the workplace) is becoming increasingly aware of the most critical environmental issues facing them in coming years. From the children pictured at the recent

Extinction Rebellion protests, to the speeches made by teenage activist Greta Thunberg last month viewed around the world – we’re seeing a marked shift in the attitude of young people towards the health of our planet.

As environmental crises become more evident to our students, we’re

noticing that a strong shared characteristic of this generation is a deep- rooted desire to make a positive impact on the world. In fact, according to research completed earlier this year by ACS and

The National Centre for Entrepreneurship in Education, a desire to save the planet are key drivers behind students’ entrepreneurial ambitions. Conducted amongst 62 Heads of Enterprise across a number of

universities, the report reveals that the key drivers behind student entrepreneurial activities are: to make money (61%), to be independent (60%), to save the planet, reduce pollution (53%), to help others (37%). But how does entrepreneurial mindset directly impact the

environment? 24

The report shows that developing an entrepreneurial approach to

problem solving provides not only a strong foundation in business practices but also in the development of new ideas and pioneering industries. Combine innovative, critical thinking with the most pressing issues facing young people today, and we get both meaningful and productive change in action – whether that’s in political pressure for policy change or revolutionary ideas for cleaner energy or recycling. Although some may question whether entrepreneurship is a

proficiency that can be taught, or a natural personality trait, we believe it’s a skill that can be developed both in and outside the classroom. For example, our students manage their own research, which could

easily help them coordinate with other environmental programmes. We promote open communications with figures of authority, whether it’s a headteacher in discussion about recycling, or a political figure instrumental in government policy. We support the creation of impactful media communications to

promote students’ campaigns; they are taught to ask a lot of questions – of themselves, their peers and their leaders; and our teaching emphasizes the value of analytical evaluation and networking – both enormously beneficial skills in environmental campaigning and business. “The next generation is more determined than millennials to do things

differently,” says Hazel Kay, Head of Marketing and Admissions at ACS in response to the report. “They see entrepreneurship as a way to have independence and make

the world a better place. 64% of university officials say: ‘exposure to different nationalities and cultures at school has a highly beneficial effect on entrepreneurial outlook’, and this is another key focus of our school ethos. “It’s vital that schools develop springboard activities for students to

explore each other’s experiences and backgrounds, and offer opportunities to use entrepreneurial skills for the greater good” adds Hazel. Whether they are working for others, starting their own ventures, or

driving an environmental campaign, the discipline and determination of an entrepreneurial mindset will help our graduates succeed with ease.

June 2019

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