Honley High School

Honley High School in West Yorkshire joined the Learning and Performance Network (LPN) in 2009, led by two teachers, Caroline Davenport (English) and John Cotgrave (Drama). John freely admits that he was terrified of Shakespeare and only agreed to become involved in the LPN and study for a Postgraduate Certificate because, as part of the requirement from the RSC, the school needed a drama teacher's involvement. 

John vividly describes his light bulb moment at the first PG Cert training in Stratford in July 2009. He recalls that it was during an exercise on text from As You Like It that he realised the potential impact of rehearsal room approaches for his students. John now directs a Shakespeare play every year as his school production and has been given off timetable provision to develop the teaching of Shakespeare in Honley and other local schools. 

What has changed:

  • Two teachers gained a post graduate qualification in teaching Shakespeare
  • An enthusiastic and ever-growing cluster of schools works together each year to put on a Shakespeare Festival
  • Over 350 young people now encounter Shakespeare each year
  • Forty teachers developed their skills in teaching and directing Shakespeare each year
  • Honley High School recruits students because of the school's reputation for excellence in the teaching of Shakespeare
  • John Cotgrave has become an inspirational lead in the teaching of Shakespeare and a staunch advocate of the RSC

'I just wanted to thank you for the inspiration that you and the Honley Shakespeare Festival have given me. Before the break I gave my class a writing assessment- to write the story of how R and J met. Bearing in mind our literacy has been pure drama all this half term, I was amazed and delighted with how much this has helped the children develop their writing skills! I was truly blown away, especially considering they are 8-10 years old.'
Primary school teacher in the Honley High cluster

'Our SLT and Governing body have identified that one of the unique selling points of our school now is the partnership with the RSC. We also won an award from the local authority to celebrate our success.'
John Cotgrave

Young Shakespeare Nation




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