The recent music Assembly by Miss McKay was a real treat. In fifteen minutes the rapt audience was given a whistle-stop tour of two of her obsessions – key changes in pop songs, and film scores which support the narrative. I bet that for many of the students and some staff, this exposé was a double eye-opener. We learned a lot about these musical passions and we saw something of Miss McKay’s interests beyond the Mathematics classroom and her beloved timetabling software.
It is always fascinating to find out which people have talents and pursuits in addition to their ‘core’ strengths. Our science and maths teachers here at school are a good example of this. You will have seen the variety of Dr Penny’s literary diet in his Head’s Up article last week, on hippos. Many other ‘STEM’ colleagues have artistic and creative streaks. And it’s not just the teachers who are in the habit of nurturing their imaginative side. As we see in The Courier regularly, lots of our students perform at a high level in music, drama and art, whilst maintaining excellent academic and sporting credentials and making a significant community contribution.
The mistake too many commentators make is in thinking that broadly arts/humanities subjects must always come at the expense of maths/science subjects, and vice versa. I am regularly dismayed to read articles like the one below about the pressure on creative subjects, or when I hear conversations about ‘proper’ subjects versus ‘soft’ subjects, or certain combinations of subjects which ‘fit’ at A Level or in IB.
There is much evidence to suggest that keeping the creative and imaginative side of the brain engaged is a massive aid to learning. Therefore we should all think carefully before advising our young people about their future subject choices. As I say every year, school is about being successful and happy, and too often students close the door on things they enjoy in favour of disciplines for which they have little passion, but which they perceive as royal roads to competitive universities and careers.
With uncannily good timing, Mrs Stamp, our Head of Drama, has written an impassioned article on the state of the Theatre industry, and curricular Drama, and I commend to you her message on the link below.
So let us encourage our young people to nurture their creative impulses and keep on learning how to appreciate the beautiful things in life.
Damian Henderson, Deputy Head