Littlegarth School says fostering arts subjects key to pupils improving in academic lessons

Otis Gee in the new dedicated drama studio at Littlegarth School. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Otis Gee in the new dedicated drama studio at Littlegarth School. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The headteacher of an independent school on the Suffolk/Essex border has said that arts subjects in schools is vital in helping pupils improve across all academic subjects.

Otis Gee in the new dedicated drama studio at Littlegarth School. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Otis Gee in the new dedicated drama studio at Littlegarth School. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The number of students pursuing arts subjects at GCSE level hit its lowest level in a decade last September, according to the Education Policy Institute, with education bosses warning that squeezed budgets and an increased emphasis on academic subjects had affected the arts.

Now, the headteacher of Littlegarth School in Nayland has warned that government decisions have also hit the independent schools hard, and said it was vital arts subjects were given due credit to help pupils across all subjects, and protect the arts industries.

“There is always a balance, and we have the freedom to decide the balance of our curriculum, but certainly we can see the value of a broad and balanced curriculum that supports the arts,” said headteacher Peter Jones.

“It’s the opportunity to express themselves in different ways, and it gives them confidence individually as well.

Otis Gee in the new dedicated drama studio at Littlegarth School. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Otis Gee in the new dedicated drama studio at Littlegarth School. Picture: GREGG BROWN


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“It really does make a difference in the academic subjects where they can sometimes struggle.”

As part of its commitment to arts subjects the school unveiled fresh arts facilities this term, which have been in development over the last three years.

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It includes six new classrooms, IT suite, library, music rooms, drama studio and arts space.

The school has reported that the children have “loved” the new space, and has in turn helped their engagement in the classroom.

Mr Jones said it was important to help safeguard future industries.

“If you are going to develop as a country you need to have people who are in the position to create things, invent things, design things, and have the confidence in their own abilities to do that.”

One sixth form in Ipswich last month announced it would continue to invest in the arts despite the challenges.

Jake Robson, director of curriculum said: “The creative industries are the UK’s faster growing sector and they are stimulating a resurgence in UK manufacturing.

“We believe that nurturing the creative talents of young people makes good economic sense as well as being essential to our cultural offer.”

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