How Uxbridge High School, working with Intermission Youth, has increased engagement with both the arts and the local community.
Teachers at Uxbridge High School have seen an increase in engagement not only with the arts, but also with the local community, as a result of working with Intermission Youth Theatre and the RSC.
Amy Walker, Head of Visual and Performing Arts, says ‘I am proud of our ability to adapt and develop work that inspires students and is made relevant by the opportunity to see live performances. This has been an aim of mine as I agree with the principles of the RSC’s manifesto of ‘Do It on Your Feet, See It Live, Start It Earlier’ and I have been made aware of the monotonous nature of the selection of Shakespeare’s plays that are taught in schools, often only exposing young people to the same three plays: Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Our involvement in the Associate School Programme has broadened our student’s experience of more of Shakespeare’s plays’.
Before working with the RSC, Uxbridge High School had low attainment in English GCSE. As part of their strategy to address this, Nicola Marsh, a previous lead teacher in the RSC’s Learning and Performance Network, was given oversight of the English department. Amy explains, ‘She insisted the RSC’s approaches be included in the English classroom, where they have not been fully embedded before. After the first year of this new Leadership, English results improved, including Literature results.’
Where Uxbridge High School really benefits from this programme is in their work with Intermission Youth; their Regional Theatre Partner. From attending their productions, hosting outreach productions for Associate School audiences, and having them help with regional performance rehearsals, the partnership between the two shines. Amy explains, "Some of the most disengaged students at Uxbridge High School have been inspired and motivated by the work Intermission does with young people."
For these disengaged pupils, they have had "a chance to not only have opportunities in the arts to explore Shakespeare, but also to have one-on-one mentoring and a group of young people who share similar experiences and pressures," says Amy.
This is an edited version of the case study. You can read the full version here: Uxbridge High School Case Study.