Carlton Bolling College joined forces with Bradford-based theatre company Freedom Studios in a project to try out new techniques and ways of learning to help accelerate the academic achievement of key groups in the school - New to English/English as an additional
language (EAL) learners, students currently below national targets - and improve attendance.
Three groups of students took part and each showed improvement beyond that of other students of similar background and educational ability. In some cases, students improved their English Language by three levels, while others whose initial low English skills
meant they could not be assessed had reached Level 2 by the end of the six-weeks of workshops and were in mainstream education.
The work was funded by CapeUK, the Arts Council ‘bridge’ organisation for Yorkshire and the Humber, and Bradford Council’s Education Achievement Service.
The project involved performing arts workshops with the three different pupil groups over a six month period. Two experienced theatre directors and youth theatre leaders were employed via Freedom Studios to lead the workshops, using tried and tested performing
arts techniques, although everything was a new experience for the pupils involved and activities were tailored to their needs.
Carlton Bolling College were fully committed to the work through direct senior management support from the school’s leadership team and the secondment to the project of the Assistant Head of English.
Following the project’s success, the school has adapted its curriculum to include drama as an engagement tool in other subject areas. It has also incorporated drama as a key element with newly-arrived students who have limited knowledge of English.
The work was funded by CapeUK as part of its Arts Council England ‘bridge’ role linking schools with arts, culture and heritage. Sarah Mumford, CapeUK’s Programmes Director, said the results showed the benefits of finding new ways of bringing different experiences
to young people who frequently find it difficult to become involved with arts and culture.