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SENIOR SCHOOL CREATIVE ARTS

We provide a vast range of creative arts opportunities with the aim to inspire the future generation to be freely expressive, imaginative and resourceful in an ever changing landscape of challenges.  By doing this, we find that our pupils obtain ‘that extra spark’ that makes them stand out from the crowd.

Children at Wells are enthusiastic, creative, and open minded. They achieve amazing results.

John Dyer (Internationally renowned painter and Wells parent)

We are the
Independent School

of the Year 2020
for Performing Arts

Our Philosophy

We aim to inspire a lifelong passion for the creative arts by giving pupils of all abilities – even those who might not consider themselves as ‘naturally creative’ – the confidence and opportunities to perform and try a variety of styles.

In Years 7-9, pupils are exposed to a diverse range of artistic knowledge, skills, techniques, materials and disciplines. They can then make informed choices as to what areas, if any, they would like to pursue in their GCSE and A level studies or as a hobby.

Our curriculum is complemented by workshops by visiting artists, trips and co-curricular activities. Because of our approach to creative arts, our pupils achieve success across the arts, whether seen in their quality of art or performance, or in the excellent results achieved in their Trinity, GCSE or A level qualifications.

Integrated Arts (Years 7-9)

Our integrated approach to teaching art, photography, drama, dance, music and food technology allows for creativity, imagination and flexibility and builds our pupils’ confidence and curiosity by giving them the opportunity for self-expression through risk-taking, teamwork, resourcefulness and reflection. It also enables our pupils to investigate themes from multiple viewpoints so they can see the connections between the arts; previous themes include surrealism, cultural creativity, entertainment, style, media, identity and structures.

Our curriculum is supported by our integrated arts workshop days (where pupils go off timetable for a fun day to explore a specific topic area), visiting professional practitioners from all the arts areas who come to work with our pupils, and trips to places like Stratford-upon-Avon (RSC), The Globe London, the National Theatre South Bank, Tate, Tate Modern and the National Portrait Gallery for both workshops and performances.

Dance

In addition to our curriculum lessons, we offer 1:1, paired and group tuition in many dance styles. We can provide examination classes in Modern Theatre with ISTD. Modern Theatre dance is often seen on the stages of musical productions and is known for its theatrical qualities. We also offer a range of styles without examination – contemporary, street, jazz, musical theatre dance and beginners ballet – that build upon dance skills, technique and confidence from lessons and support any further dance tuition.

Our Dance Companies have competed in national dance competitions such as The Big Dance Off. Dance Troupes are formed to choreograph impressive routines for various dramatic and musical productions. We support pupil-led initiatives, such as the recent Street Dance outfit ‘Blanc’ and the multi-disciplinary project ‘Reborn’: a Dance, Lighting, Drama, Music Tech and Percussion Project, providing the pupils with performance opportunities in Cedars Hall and at showcase events.

Drama

Our varied programme of opportunities ranges from the classics to the eclectic with dramatic work often approached as a collaborative ensemble between pupils and staff, and pupils often compose and play the music in our plays. In addition to their drama lessons and drama activity, pupils in Years 7-9 can participate in a production specifically for this age cohort, Drama Club or the Shakespeare School’s Festival. From Year 10, pupils can audition for the Senior School Production. Our recent productions include A Christmas Carol, Our Country’s Good, High School Musical, Grease, Peter Pan, Beauty and the Beast and Les Misérables, attended by Sir Cameron Mackintosh. 

Our House Drama competition ‘The Bigny Cup’, and smaller ‘Fringe’ productions that run throughout the year ensure that all have the opportunity to perform.

For all pupils, we offer individual, pair or group tuition in both Speech and Drama and Musical Theatre as well as an extensive programme of theatre visits and professional theatre workshops.

Scholarships are available for current ability and potential.

Senior School production of A Christmas Carol
December 2021
Cedars Hall

Senior School film of Our Country’s Good
June 2021
Filmed in Cedars Hall

Senior School production of Grease
December 2019
Strode Theatre

Years 7-9 Production of
High School Musical
May 2019
Cedars Hall

Senior School production of
Private Peaceful
December 2018
Cedars Hall

Years 7-9 Production of Peter Pan
June 2018
Wells Little Theatre

Senior School production of
Beauty and the Beast
December 2017
Strode Theatre

Senior School production of
The Crucible
by Arthur Miller
December 2016, Cedars Hall​

Years 7-9 Production of 
Arabian Nights
July 2016
Wells Little Theatre​

Senior School production of
Les Misèrables
December 2015
Strode Theatre 

Fine Art

In Years 7-9, pupils cover a wide range of art techniques, processes and media as part of our Integrated Arts Programme. To study GCSE Art, pupils need a reasonable drawing ability, but more importantly they need to enjoy it and be enthusiastic about art and art history. Pupils develop an understanding of art, craft and design processes and the work of artists, photographers, sculptors and printmakers. A level pupils each have their own studio space and may work in drawing, painting, sculpture, 3D construction, installation, printmaking, photography, film, video and mixed media.

We have regular trips to art galleries, and pupils have the opportunity to attend workshops with a diverse range of local and world-renowned artists. Our pupils’ work is regularly exhibited in our gallery space in the John Baxter Foyer of Cedars Hall. Scholarships are available based on current ability and potential.

Food Studies

Most of our pupils in Years 7-9 have Food Studies as part of their curriculum, depending on their other academic commitments. They also study it in Lower Sixth as part of their life skills curriculum. In addition to our food studies curriculum, we offer a wide range of other opportunities to experience cooking, such as: Christmas cake club, make your own lunch club, after school cookery club, expedition cooking (for Year 9 as part of their preparation for the Duke of Edinburgh award), senior cookery activities and holiday cookery courses. We also support pupils who wish to enter the Rotary Young Chef annual competition.

Music

We are unique in being one of the four Specialist Music Schools in England but within a setting of an independent secondary school. This allows us to cater for musicians of exceptional talent on specifically designed programmes that puts music at the centre of the pupil’s daily school routine, but it also enables us to be able to provide a very broad range of musical opportunities for those who pursue music as a hobby.

One-to-one instrumental lessons are available with world-renowned teachers, and pupils can make the most of our many and varied ensemble opportunities, including choirs, orchestras, instrumental groups in all genres and music theatre. Music Scholarships are based on current ability and potential.

Click here to find out more about our specialist music programme.

Photography

Photography is taught as an option in Years 8 and 9; pupils explore digital photography through a range of creative projects, learning camera skills and different digital and hands-on processes. Pupils can progress with our GCSE and A level courses, which aim to provide them with the creative skills and understanding of a variety of photographic genres, media and processes.

We mainly use digital cameras and software, however pupils have opportunities to explore alternative media, such as film and sunography. We have visited Tate Modern, the National Portrait Gallery and the Photographer’s Gallery, and had workshops from Clive Barda and Ziggy Jacobs.

We emphasise developing independence and pursuing personal lines of enquiry. Our moderators have remarked: “Creative making was a strength amongst all candidates at Wells. They experimented purposefully with a range of photographic techniques. This led to a range of quality outcomes.”

GCSE and A Level Photography Examples

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