Hurlingham is extremely fortunate to have a dedicated Arts Centre with its own specialist teaching team. It is housed in a characterful building separate, adjacent and connected to the main school site.
The Role of Arts
We are delighted that our long standing policy of celebrating the Arts across all curriculum areas is reflected in the award of Artsmark Gold to Hurlingham and Arts Awards at ‘Discover’ and ‘Explore’ levels to all children in Middle and Upper School.
We believe that all children need extensive experience of as many forms of art as possible, both in terms of appreciating others’ work (including that of professional artists) and being creative themselves. This is because our school aims and strategic priorities emphasise the self-expression, confidence and socialisation that ensue from pupils enjoying activities which develop their abilities to be independent, creative thinkers. Music and Art, Craft and Design feature on all timetables throughout the school on a weekly basis; Dance is also timetabled regularly within the PE curriculum and Drama has a weekly slot for both Middle and Upper School classes.
Additionally, all children participate in at least three performances to audiences of adults and children every year and timetables are suspended in preparation for these to facilitate appropriate time for Dance, Drama and Music rehearsals. Significant planning opportunities are built in to all such activities to facilitate leadership by pupils. Indeed the Arts Faculty is continually developing and an Arts Committee represented by children across the school meets at least twice per term to develop ideas to promote, celebrate and evolve the Arts provision available. Ballet is offered as an optional lesson: around half the pupils in the school choose to participate in this weekly, their lessons culminating termly in a series of recitals to parents. The school also offers tuition to pupils who wish to learn a musical instrument.
Extra-curricular Arts Programme
Our extra-curricular programme places similar emphasis on a diverse range of arts experiences. M.A.D.D.4! (Music, Art, Dance and Drama) provides five drama groups, five dance groups, four ukulele groups, three recorder groups, a lower school music group, an Upper school band, and four art groups, which are always available and further weekly “clubs” on offer vary each term according to demand expressed by the children themselves in School Council. These regularly include subjects such as photography, media, ceramics, design, textiles, film and media. Additionally, pupils in forms IV to VI can access the art room during their break time after lunch each day.
We invite published authors into school each term to run workshops, frequently with staff and parents as well as pupils. Each class enjoys at least one day trip per term, often to theatres or storytelling venues. Visiting theatre companies come to school, as do professional musicians to run workshops on particular instruments. Our first artist in residence was with us for a fortnight in early 2012: all children witnessed her creation of a mural in the playground, the theme of which had been agreed with the pupils beforehand. In 2015, a visiting poet set all the children a writing challenge and returned a month later to critique pupils’ responses.
We have at least four choirs and with the exception of Chamber Choir, in which a place is gained through audition, all extra-curricular arts opportunities are available to each and every child in the year groups concerned, regardless of ability. Within timetabled lessons, however, extension opportunities for those pupils identified as Gifted and Talented in the subject in question are provided.
Arts and the Community
Choirs enjoy the opportunity of performing within the community at various exciting events such as the annual launch of the Putney Christmas Illuminations and every Upper School pupil has the opportunity to perform at the Royal Albert Hall. The Chamber Choir regularly entertain at care homes in the local area.
Arts and Publication
The school is keen to achieve as much publication as possible. A professionally recorded CD was produced in 2014 featuring all children across the school, accompanied by a booklet containing pupils’ art work. The whole school also take part in the ‘We are Writers Project’ each year, which gives every child the opportunity to become a published author. This year each child will contribute towards creating an anthology of poetry.