How working with the RSC and Hull Truck Theatre helped develop the self-confidence and skills of pupils and teachers at a school in Hull.
St Mary’s College began working with the RSC and Hull Truck Theatre, to overcome educational and social barriers to the teaching of Shakespeare. As their cluster of schools is located in an area of social deprivation, they often found their students were defeatist when it came to understanding Shakespeare.
However, working with the RSC has increased their pupil’s self-confidence and literacy skills. Head of English, Kerry Smith explains, "It quickly became apparent that the rehearsal room pedagogies provide students with the opportunity to engage positively with the texts and develop a deep understanding of them." These rehearsal room approaches enabled pupils to be able to draw upon first-hand sensory experiences, that they wouldn’t have otherwise had access to. Kerry says that this gives their writing "gives their writing much greater depth and enables them to write in a way which is creative and convincing … students develop views and opinions about characters, interpretations and Shakespeare’s methods all of which are crucial to succeed in GCSE English Literature."
Since embedding this approach into their curriculum, their GCSE English Literature results exceed national average in the Shakespeare element by 4%.
However, this has not only increased the confidence and the skillset of pupils, but the teachers too. "the Associate Schools programme also provides teachers with the space and time to reflect on their teaching style outside of the school environment … This opportunity to reflect on my pedagogy and on-going requirement to reflect and therefore refine the implementation of a new approach has not only developed my teaching but also provided the confidence and opportunity to develop as a curriculum leader," says Kerry.
‘The benefit of working with our partners in this programme has far exceed the initial aims of the Associate Schools programme.’
This is an edited version of the full case study. You can read the full version here: St Marys College Case Study