School Specialism: Music with English
“It is only by introducing the young to great literature, drama, and music, and to the excitement of great science that we open to them the possibilities that lie within the human spirit: enable them to see visions and dreams”
The Specialist Team
The school was awarded specialist status in July 2008 and we worked very hard through our first 3 years of Specialism to expand the range of opportunities afforded to pupils and staff by the additional funding and links with the wider community. Our aim is to enrich the learning experience for all pupils and to strive to improve enrichment provision through the specialist programme, both within and beyond the classroom, not just in the specialist subjects but across the whole school.Music at TWGGS
Excellence in Music is not restricted to the classroom, where traditionally examination results have been very good and the quality of teaching outstanding, but is perhaps even more evident in the extra-curricular programme offered by the department. The recently expanded music block has been equipped with an ICT classroom with software to enable individual music composition, which along with the fully fitted recording studio, additional practice rooms, new instruments and office space for staff, has certainly enhanced the musical experience at TWGGS. The number of pupils enjoying extra-curricular music has never been so high; junior and senior choirs, orchestras, recorder groups and jazz groups are performing locally as well as enjoying the challenge of entering national competitions. Indeed, locally we are now recognised for, not only the talent of our pupils, but also for our readiness to support community events which provide opportunities to play alongside other musicians e.g. The Tunbridge Wells Centenary Concert with the London Sinfonia Orchestra, The Royal Opera House schools projects, The Grey Lady and the Opera by Definition group. Opportunities for enjoying music are not restricted to pupils; the infamous Staff Choir performs regularly at school events and the after- school guitar lessons are popular. The Arts Award Scheme, which was introduced in our first year of specialism to recognise the outstanding contribution made by pupils to music and the Arts is proving overwhelmingly popular. Currently, over 200 pupils are working towards Bronze, Silver and Gold awards.
TWGGS Music in the community
Our pupils thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to perform to others in the community. We have established a tradition of Carol Concerts, where musicians and singers entertain residents in local senior homes. By sharing good practice with our linked primaries, we have supported the development of music in the curriculum through shared projects with classroom teachers. Links with local schools, aimed at nurturing music-making amongst younger pupils, often result in some unexpected opportunities for both sets of pupils. As part of the Sing-Up project, Mrs Waddington, Curriculum Leader for Music, supported singing in our primary schools, ably assisted by our Song Leaders. English at TWGGS
Teaching and learning in this department is characterised by expert specialist knowledge and an imaginative curriculum, which is created to boost pupil enjoyment and attainment. Additional funding provided a classroom set of laptops to boost ICT provision and the purchase of new reading resources boosts independent reading through improved choice for pupils. Again, the number of pupils who access extra-curricular clubs is impressive. Thanks to the enthusiasm of teaching staff and our new librarian Mrs Mattheus-Ratcliffe, reading groups for all ages are thriving, especially those involved in joint projects with other schools, such as the West Kent Book Award and Carnegie Shadowing. Our senior/adult Literary evening is now established as a popular annual event. Recent guest speakers have included Victoria Hislop, Nicky Singer and Salley Vickers, who have entertained the audience with their experiences of fictional writing. The published poet Kieron Winn awards the poetry competition prizes and reads some of his own work. TWGGS English in the community
There is an open invitation to join the Parents’ Reading Group which meet in the library once a term over a glass of wine in the evening to discuss the chosen book. Our reputation nationally for debating, continues to grow with pupils travelling throughout the country to take part in national competitions. As one of the strongest state schools we now host many of the local rounds for these competitions thanks to the commitment of Mrs Johnstone, who had the honour of being invited to Qatar to judge an international competition. Last year 14 A Level English pupils have volunteered to be learning mentors for Year 7 pupils in the Skinners Kent Academy, which is proving to be a positive experience for all those involved. To encourage enjoyment in reading and writing amongst younger pupils our poetry competition is open to local Primary Schools.
Also see related pages: Curriculum & Prospectus