Performing arts as important as maths, says Northampton head as primary school unveils dance studio

Lings Primary School pupils try out their new studio
Lings Primary School pupils try out their new studio

Pupils at a Northampton primary school have celebrated the opening of a new building that combines new classrooms with a dance studio.

Lings Primary School headteacher Leigh Wolmarans said the high-specification extension - which has mirrored walls and ballet bars - will teach older children the lifelong skill of being able to express yourself clearly.

He said: “Too often the emphasis is put on maths, science and English. They are really, really important but here we also place a lot of importance on dance, music and drama because to be able to express what’s in yourself and be comfortable in your own skin is something our children will always need.”

Mr Wolmarans, a former contestant in Strictly Northampton, said the building was an example, like taking the children to Shakespeare plays, of the school trying to reverse people’s expectations of what children in the Eastern District of Northampton should be exposed to culturally.

He added that pushing performing arts so hard means children not as capable in the traditional academic subjects get the chance to succeed in something and even give them life-changing experiences.

The county council-funded building officially opened this week for use by Lings pupils, but children from anywhere in the community will be allowed to attend drama classes in school holidays in future.

Performing arts classes will also take place on Saturdays.

A joint ribbon-cutting ceremony was performed by pupils together rather than have an invited VIP to highlight that what the children do is more important than the bricks and mortar.

Mr Wolmarans said: “Four years ago we were a school in special measures and we are now able to offer top class facilities like this. For us this building is a new chapter.”