Asfordby school treasures its Shakespeare link

Asfordby Captain's Close Primary School pupils William, Ryan and Grace celebrate their link-up with the Royal Shakespeare Company EMN-180223-115520001
Asfordby Captain's Close Primary School pupils William, Ryan and Grace celebrate their link-up with the Royal Shakespeare Company EMN-180223-115520001
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Staff and pupils at a village school have been playing a leading role in research into new teaching methods based on how actors perform in rehearsals as part of a link-up with the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).

Captain’s Close Primary School, at Asfordby, is one of just 100 schools nationwide which has been involved in a research programme aimed at trialling a potentially pioneering new technique for teachers, and it was chosen to lead a cluster of schools in the project.

Lisa Gackowska, lead professional for English, and head Julia Hancock act out a scene from a Shakespeare play with pupils as part of Asfordby Captain's Close Primary School's link-up with the Royal Shakespeare Company EMN-180223-115535001

Lisa Gackowska, lead professional for English, and head Julia Hancock act out a scene from a Shakespeare play with pupils as part of Asfordby Captain's Close Primary School's link-up with the Royal Shakespeare Company EMN-180223-115535001

Research was carried out on behalf of the RSC by The Centre for Educational Development, Appraisal and Research (CEDAR) at the University of Warwick, using findings from the schools.

It focused on evaluating the impact of the RSC’s approach to teaching Shakespeare, which employs the same techniques used by actors in rehearsals, and its impact on the language development of young people.

The study shows that this teaching style can significantly improve student language skills and acquisition, with some schools reporting better SATS and GCSE English scores as a result.

Julia Hancock, head teacher at Captain’s Close School, which has been involved in the RSC study for four years, said: “For staff it has energised and motivated them as well as revolutionised some of their teaching approaches, and our children have had amazing opportunities working with professionals, both at school and in theatres.

Asfordby Captain's Close Primary School pupils act out a Shakespearian scary pose to celebrate their link-up with the Royal Shakespeare Company EMN-180223-115547001

Asfordby Captain's Close Primary School pupils act out a Shakespearian scary pose to celebrate their link-up with the Royal Shakespeare Company EMN-180223-115547001

“We are excited and inspired to be making a positive difference to how children approach all aspects of language, and inspiring them to experience Shakespeare’s texts as they should be, actively.”