Nord Anglia Education
Nord Anglia
09 November, 2023

Message from the Head of Secondary

Message from the Head of Secondary - Message from the Head of Secondary
Message from the Head of Secondary

A song and dance

I went to a Flamenco show last week. It was quite extraordinary. Not quite up there with the Flamenco show I once saw in a rather grotty café in downtown Madrid around the corner from the Atocha train station, but still, truly excellent. The thrill of live action music and dance, the possibility of an error, the sound, the light, the tension throughout the theatre…..

And then, just a day or two later, a brand new Beatles song was released, and I got to experience all the excitement and anticipation of listening to a brand new song by the greatest band in history, feeling like a child once again unwrapping a new record, carrying it home on the bus, placing it on the turntable, waiting for the needle to hit the groove….(This song of course was a digital download so arguably a lot easier but perhaps lacking the wholesome experience of touch…).

In short, in the last couple of weeks, my life has been made considerably better by the arts. I’ve been thrilled and amused by dance, amazed by guitar skills, moved by voice, and taken on an emotional rollercoaster by The Beatles. 

Article 31 of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child states that a child has ‘’the right to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts…..’’

To participate freely in cultural life and the arts…. 

We should all do that shouldn’t we? Some of the students in our school will go on to have careers in the arts – especially since the arts are such a growth industry. The arts represent approximately 6% of the United Kingdom’s economy and over 70,000 people are currently directly employed in the arts in the UK.  In the USA, the arts sector of the economy grew by nearly 14% in the post covid period and it contributes over $1 trillion to the US economy. 

But even those students who do not end up in a career in the arts – those who become doctors, lawyers, engineers and computer scientists – should seek to have some music, dance, art or theatre in their lives.  An appreciation of the arts enhances our understanding of the world around us and perhaps more importantly, can help us to empathise with others.  The arts can also bring us great joy. 

At every stage in our school, we promote an education in the arts because we believe in the joy it can bring and in the social and learning skills it can promote.  Even in our Senior School, where some students have left behind the formal lessons of Art or Drama, we explore the role of art in building our understanding of the world around us in Theory of Knowledge lessons. As teachers and parents, we should make every effort to promote the arts to young people as a set of subject disciplines which will open their eyes and their minds to new ways of thinking about the world and which will promote their critical thinking skills.  Sociologist Charles Horton Cooley wrote ‘an artist cannot fail: It is a success to be one…’. We will be working hard to help all our students become artists – and a success!

Chris Lowe

Head of Secondary

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