Balcarras School – Arts Online Initiative
Following the Covid-19 school closures, Balcarras School in Cheltenham set up their Balacarras Arts Online initiative to keep students engaged in the arts, from home.
As part of the initiative, Balcarras set up ‘Alumni Assemble‘ – a series of ongoing professional talks and workshops made by former students now in the arts industry – actors, technicians, musicians, fine artists.
Recently Balcarras delivered their 2020 Midsummer Music Festival. This was phenomenally well received – with a steady audience throughout the night – peaking at 178 screens and sustaining somewhere near this figure. Several families got together to watch in their gardens so the audience on the night was probably near 1000, with lots of lovely messages of thanks and support coming in hroughout the 4hour event.
Students sent in pre-recorded music videos they mostly made for the event, and these were hosted from the school on the night – music and drama staff providing live socially distanced links regularly across the evening from inside and outside school as the sun set. Take-up from students was very positive, with about 80 separate submissions – some featuring bands who mixed work from isolation. The event included a Mystery Staff Singer Competition that was run as a promo daily in the 2 weeks preceding the show – with reruns and answers revealed across the night at regular junctions. There were also a few pieces by local professionals and staff including the headteacher, as well as uplifting video montages from the school’s pastoral teams.
The D&T food dept held a picnic competition and asked people to email in photos during the night that were shared in a montage at the end – accompanied by live music [‘Bring Me Sunshine’] on piano.
As part of the event, there was a PTFA fundraiser, splitting monies between school, and 2 local professional arts providers – the Cheltenham Everyman Theatre and Cheltenham Festivals, raising £1200.
The whole broadcast was technically put together by a brilliant apprentice technician, 6th form alumnus Oskar Brennan [who’s just 19] using freely available software. On the night he vision mixed whilst another alumnus technician, Ross Fitzsimmons did camera and sound.
The school’s ambition was to bring the school community together with an online event that would emotionally capture the spirit of the usual live festival. The heartfelt messages received made it clear this goal was very much achieved. In the process Balcarras aspired to assert the power of the arts to raise morale, boost mental well-being and provide hope in these challenging times.
Trinity Academy Halifax – a World Class response to the COVID-19 crisis
With the help of a dedicated teaching team, Trinity Academy Halifax students showed creativity, resilience and community spirit in their response to the COVID-19 crisis, with a number of World Class initiatives to support their local community and the NHS workers on the frontline.
- Key worker students attending school during the lockdown worked with the DT department to come up with an innovative PPE solution for NHS workers. Using A3 laminating pouches and ribbon they created over 50 face visors each week, delivered to nearby Bradford Royal Infirmary A&E department.
- Students created 150 Trinity Help Bags containing essential food items and Easter treats, for the benefit of nearby food banks, churches and children centres
- Students wrote pen-friend letters to the residents of four nearby care homes, to accompany their Easter hamper, complete with a Trinity Halifax WW2 quiz and an Easter egg prize for the winner.
- Created Easter hampers distributed to the 5 most affected wards at Calderdale Royal Hospital.
- Polypropylene sheets from the D&P department were delivered to a local company to produce headbands for visors for NHS hospital staff.
- Thanks to the National Breakfast Programme’s donation of breakfast essentials, Trinity Academy Halifax arranged for 25 vulnerable families in their local area to receive a food bag every Thursday.
Trinity Academy Halifax staff and students created a detailed plan of supportive measures for the benefit of local hospitals and hospices to continue throughout April, May and June, to ensure a steady and consistent level of support for local organisations throughout the COVID-19 crisis. A World Class community effort from an inspirational group of staff and students.
Trinity Academy Halifax students created hampers for the 5 most affected wards at Calderdale Royal Hospital.
Weydon School – Inspiring and Motivating Year 11s
Weydon School in Surrey have been running two initiatives to motivate and inspire their Year 11 cohort as they look to build momentum towards the summer GCSE examinations.
The first was the “Secret Vote”. Students were nominated by staff if they had demonstrated any of the following criteria:
- Outstanding Attitude to Learning in the Classroom
- Outstanding Effort Visible Outside the Classroom
- Contribution to extra-curricular or activity at school
- An act of kindness or a student who is clearly going above and beyond demonstrating the Weydon ethos.
The students knew nothing about it, and it was a fantastic surprise to the cohort, as a raffle was drawn in a year group assembly by the Principal.
We are also operating the Counter Challenge. The year group has been split into 5 colours, each being led by a member of the leadership team. Staff across the school reward Year 11 students for outstanding effort, and generally going above and beyond in their quest for success. Each week, the counters are collected, and the winning team gets a reward. It has led to some excellent teaching and learning with class competition, and standards rising across the board. Students post their counters in the tubes, which are positioned at the front of the school, allowing the initiative to be visible and high profile.
Bishop Challoner Girls’ School – #girlswithgoals campaign
Bishop Challoner Girls’ School’s #girlswithgoals campaign provides the opportunity for all girls to realise their potential by recognising their unique gifts and talents through a combination of mentoring and extra-curricular activities.
The key aims of #girlswithgoals are:
- Adopt a healthy academic and body self-esteem
- Have a vision for the future
- Develop a positive mindset towards their academic studies and life in general.
The school has hosted a number of successful events promoting the campaign amongst pupils, staff and parents, including an annual conference, Mother and Daughter Christmas Afternoon Tea, after-school Mother and Daughter Cooking Club, a film-making club and the premiere of a short film in January 2017, entitled ‘The Power of Yet’.
This short film, which was researched, directed and edited by girls in Years 7-11, contains interviews from women in high profile industry roles, insight from some of the school’s female members of staff and discussion from girls on overcoming negative ideas surrounding self-esteem and body image. Filmed with expert help from Sparks-Ignite Media Company and funding from the Big Lottery Fund, The Power of Yet explores how women of all ages can challenge self-imposed and other limitations in the pursuit of their dreams.