At Grace Darling Primary, we provide a range of Enrichment sessions and activities to support our pupils’ holistic development.
In Partnership with the Swire Chinese Language Centre, children in KS2 are receiving weekly Mandarin sessions.
Mandarin is one of the fastest growing languages spoken in the world and China’s economy is one the biggest in the world, hence there is a great opportunity of the wider wold exploration. At Grace Darling, we aim to prepare and empower our children to aspire high, including experiencing and exploring a culture different to their own.
“Learning a foreign language is a liberation from insularity and provides an opening to other cultures. A high quality languages education should foster pupils’ curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world. The teaching should enable pupils to express their ideas and thoughts in another language and to understand and respond to its speakers, both in speech and in writing. It should also provide opportunities for them to communicate for practical purposes, learn new ways of thinking and read great literature in the original language. Language teaching should provide the foundation for learning further languages, equipping pupils to study and work in other countries.” – The National Curriculum in England Framework Document (DfE) 2014.
Pupils from Year 3 to 6, learn Mandarin 45 minutes every week. Vicky Wu teaches the mandarin lessons. Not only do children learn mandarin as a language, they are also taught about Chinese traditions and cultures.
A lunchtime club for KS2 also operates each Tuesday and allows children to explore Mandarin further in a relaxed atmosphere. Children are very enthusiastic in these sessions and are enjoying exploring a new language and culture, this exploration is also addressing misconceptions the children may have about Chinese culture.
We are very fortunate to receive financial support from the Newbiggin-by-the-Sea Partnership to deliver excellent music provision across many year groups. Our youngest children benefit from weekly choir sessions and have the opportunity to take part in musical theatre productions. As our involvement from the partnership has increased, we have been able to perform for larger audiences – we now showcase our musical talents every term to parents and supporters.
We have a singing assembly each week with Mrs White as well as a choir which runs afterschool on a Monday led by Miss Butler.
Throughout their time at school, children have many opportunities to learn and play musical instruments. Children will develop their skills and aim to complete instrument Karate and earn their ‘belts’ as their skills develop.
Instrument Karate belt colours
In Year 3 all children will learn the recorder during Autumn and Spring term. Children in Y4 & 5 will learn brass as a whole class, learning to either play the trumpet, trombone or cornet. Once the children reach Y6, they have the opportunity to continue playing their instrument in a smaller group, working towards achieving grades.
In addition to the whole class music tuition, we also have a number of children who receive solo or small group tuition. Instruments which children are currently learning include: Keyboards, Drums, Clarinets and Guitar.
Children who play an instrument get the opportunity to work together on Tuesday Lunchtimes forming our concert band. Under the direction of Mr Griffiths and Mrs Straughan the children learn to play together as an ensemble and learn pieces of music which can be showcased and shared at our seasonal performances.
On Monday we also have our Collective Worship Band – the T-Lights. Musicians from across KS2 play together as an ensemble to learn hymns and songs which they play as part of our collective worship or seasonal services and blessings.
Children at Grace Darling to explore Music in many more ways, not only learning to play an instrument but also in the termly music projects delivered by Mrs Glanville. Projects vary depending on Year Group but involve playing Gamelan, the indigenous orchestra type of the islands of Java and Bali, exploring Georges Bizet’s Carmen, learning and performing songs and ‘Funky Jam’ a 4 chord project.
Mrs Glanville, NCEAT Primary Music Lead, said:
“Pupils at Grace Darling CoE Primary School love to take part in musical activities across the key stages. We look forward to performing not only in assemblies, collective worship and music showcases, but we also enjoy publishing our work on www.Soundcloud.com so that our adults at home can hear what we have achieved within music lessons and extra curricular ensembles.”
Our staff recognise the importance of music within the curriculum, not only to develop our pupils’ instrumental and singing skills, but also to improve well being, encourage team work and increase resilience. We have a strong music curriculum, supported by teaching which is unique to our school. Colliery Band’s have always been a huge part of our local heritage, and tying in with this each child at Grace Darling CofE Primary School learns a brass instrument – perhaps like their grandparents and great grandparents before them!
Thanks to the Newbiggin-by-the-Sea Partnership we are lucky to have a team of 6 instrumental tutors who work tirelessly to provide additional performance opportunities for our pupils such as a Steel Pan Group, a Concert band and a contemporary Christian music group – the T-LIGHTS. Ensembles and small group instrumental teaching takes place in our specialist music room, which is equipped with many instruments such as drum kits, keyboards, guitars and a piano.