7th Dec, 2016

Bard 'can help underperforming youngsters'

Stratford Editorial 11th Jul, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

A LITTLE bit of the Bard can help under performing youngsters at school.

The RSC has revealed attainment levels among low achieving pupils, particularly boys, can be raised through exposure to Shakespeare.

The research, released on the eve of the RSC’s first symposium examining the role of culture in education, reveals a link between the company’s approaches based on techniques used in RSC rehearsal rooms, and improved vocabulary, literacy levels, aspirations and attainment.

Schools which are part of the RSC’s long-term education partnership programme, the Learning and Performance Network (LPN), were quizzed as part of an evaluation of the programme’s impact.

The findings show after working with the RSC, schools saw an increase in pupil confidence in the classroom and also helped them connect with previously hard to reach pupils.

Teachers also reported sharp increases in writing levels – particularly among low achieving students and learners from low income families – alongside increased attainment in subjects across the curriculum, not just in English and drama.

Jacqui O’Hanlon, RSC Director of Education, said: “Experiences that we have at school can fix our attitudes and beliefs for a lifetime.

“The current system does not nurture and develop the strengths, talents and aptitudes of all children. In particular we know that young, white boys from low income families are falling behind.

“Our work with over 500 schools nationwide and in some of the most socio-economically deprived areas of the country, illustrates overwhelmingly how the arts can provide a way into learning for many young people.”

The RSC is calling on the Government to give schools the flexibility to choose a framework that best suits their pupils; ensure the arts are part of a balanced curriculum in all schools; and commit to establishing stronger links between schools and the cultural bodies and organisations.

Visit www.rsc.org.uk/associateschools for further details.