Pied Piper! Series 7 ~ 2011 - The Power Struggle

 

Objectives

 

To provide a series of workshops for young people to explore creative writing, singing, art and movement, through the presentation of a short music drama devised by the participants with guidance from a team of skilled professional teachers.  The forthcoming programme of Pied Piper!, the seventh in the series, focuses on energy supply, with particular reference to wind power and the wind farms planned for the area.  Work generally embraces skills that go beyond requirements of the National Curriculum, and provides opportunities that may not be readily available in every local primary school.

 

Background

 

As the result of a successful pilot in 2004 the Yorke Trust began its small Saturday morning arts school for children aged 5 and upwards.  Each year, between 12 and 24 children have covered a range of topics relevant to the locality, including Nelson and the sea, agriculture, World War II, and Saving the Planet. 

Whilst the scheme does not aim to provide instrumental tuition, it does enable the basics of singing, drama, art and Dalcroze Eurhythmics to be explored in a friendly and non-competitive environment.  Initially running on Saturday mornings every other week during term times, the scheme proved popular and successful.  However it was challenging to achieve tutorial continuity and in 2010 a more focused structure was devised that concentrated workshops over a two-month period in late spring and early summer.  The new format facilitated improved staff coordination, a reduction in costs, and resulted in greater productivity from week to week.

 

The Power Struggle 2011

 

World shortage of energy is a topic seldom far from the headlines.  The Power Struggle will give an opportunity to research sources of power including wind, solar, nuclear, wave, and fossil fuels.  A 'libretto' will be written in the form of poems and dialogue which will be set to music for singing and movement.  Banners, models and/or other props will be created to add to the visual dimension of the project and a final presentation will be given before parents and friends at the end of June.

 

Gallions/Wells Exchange

 

In 2005 the Trust was the catalyst that enabled a school exchange programme to be set up between Gallions Primary School in East London and Wells Primary School in Norfolk.  Once a year children from Wells visit London, usually for the first time in their lives, and join classroom activities with the Gallions children.  They also go on excursions that have included the Houses of Parliament, St. Paul's Cathedral, Tate Modern and the London Eye.  Gallions children, hosted by the Trust, visit Norfolk, most seeing sand and sea for the first time.  Lessons have included art, computer technology, outdoor pursuits on the school's extensive playing field, and of course singing which is at the heart of every exchange.

Both schools regard the exchange programmes as being of high importance, Ofsted inspectors having drawn attention to the benefits on a number of occasions.  Dates for 2011 with possible links to Pied Piper! are under discussion.

 

Learning Outcomes & Evaluation

 

Any out-of-school activity can be said to enrich a child's life, but those that open the ears and eyes to music and drama are particularly valuable.  Pied Piper! although modest in scope, enables sometimes isolated children to mix with others from different schools and villages, thereby developing vital social skills and self confidence.  Evaluation forms from the 2010 series that took local cheese-making as its topic, revealed that the children enjoyed the scheme 'lots', that they 'learnt how to speak lines with confidence' and 'met new people'.  Many wished the scheme could have been longer!

 

Rodney Slatford, OBE

September 2010