Education secretary Nicky Morgan praised a once special measures rated school in Northampton for using drama to “raise standards” on a visit to the school today.
The MP for Loughborough dropped into Lings Primary School today as schools around the country celebrate the 400th anniversary of the bard’s death.
For the past six weeks, Lings pupils from the reception to year six have been rehearsing scenes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream and getting to grips with a host of texts from the great playwright.
Mrs Morgan toured the school today as pupils watched a live broadcast of an RSC production of the Merchant Of Venice before watching a group of year six boys perform the final scene from a Midsummer Night’s Dream.
After the performance, the education secretary said the school’s commitment to the performing arts has helped it to rise from special measures to a good Ofsted.
She said: “They have taken the decision to raise standards by embracing drama, music, arts and sport, all those things that help children do really well.”
Lings Primary school has been working with the RSC for three years now and has recently taken groups of children to the bard’s birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon, to work with professional actors and to see the RSC performances live.
Head teacher Leigh Wolmerans says the school’s emphasis on teaching Shakespeare has even helped “raise aspirations.”
“For a child to say, Othello, I’m not scared of you, for them to be able to pick it up, read it and understand it at the age of 10 or 11, it can have such an impact on a child’s life.”
Pupils from all the Northampton Primary Academy Trust schools will be performing scenes from a Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Royal & Derngate on Monday.
Director of education a the RSC Jacqui O’Hanlan chose to invite Nicky Morgan to Lings today out of 500 schools taking part in Shakespeare Week.
She said: “Shakespeare is thought of as such a difficult and complex thing, just tackling it is a real accomplishment.
“We have got evidence that shows there really is a correlation between children having a positive attitude towards Shakespeare and them achieving at school.”