A Bit About Us
Provision within the Arts at IVC is nationally renowned. Our performances - staged both on site and further afield - have frequently been described as 'professional standard' by theatre industry personnel as well as practitioners within education.
The ethos of the Faculty is inspired by E.M Forster's succinct phrase 'only connect'; our belief about the arts is based around making meaningful relationships and creative fusions, and it is one surely reflected in the cutting-edge forms and genres of new work on the professional stage. Essentially, every single person connected with the Arts at Impington has one thing in common: we all care deeply about what we do, and the place we have chosen to do it. We love it. It's a calling. We feel compelled to be here, where anything is possible; where art is alive, rich, bold, and above all, valued by those around us for the central part it plays in a young person's school life. Which is why we find it hard to understand...why would you want to be anywhere else?
Where We Teach
Each of three departments in Dance, Drama and Music has its own specialist provision and resources, including a superbly equipped theatre space (the Gropius Hall), a drama studio and two dance studios with sprung floors, two purpose-built music rooms, the Brackenbury Recital Room (with grand piano) and a music recording suite. However, the three small teams do work together collaboratively both in these spaces and through the subject areas themselves, constantly lending one another recording equipment, instruments, costumes, set pieces and cameras. The role of the permanent Performing Arts and Music Technician, Noel Hobden, is vital in the smooth running of both curriculum-based and extra-curricular learning experiences; we work with him to ensure the functioning and order of the lighting, sound, projection and filming facilities in which we have invested over the years – the Faculty is known to be particularly ambitious and creative in its demands!
Director of Performance
Assistant Director of Performance
Permanent Dance Artist
The team works closely with a range of artists-in-residence, who tend to develop long term associations with the arts at Impington, and are always keen to come back to us and enrich students' learning further through commissions and workshops linked to curriculum study. In recent years, Wayne McGregor's Random Dance Company as well as the London Mozart Players have performed with students of the College after working with them over week-long residencies.
We are always keen to seek opportunities to enhance our provisions, and invariably reports of the superlative standards our students bring to community projects. The extensive number of very talented TAs and Cover Supervisors at IVC can also often volunteer passion and skill in Performance, and support extra-curricular learning in the arts. Trainee teachers have also benefitted from sharing and observing practice, and brought added dimensions to the Music department in the past two years. There is an extremely strong collaborative work ethic among the team, which regularly leads to outstanding examples of team-teaching and multi-disciplinary creativity and direction.
Our results - both historically and currently - reflect the outstanding reputation we have established within the wider community; last year 100% of students taking Performance subjects at KS5 obtained A*-C grades at A Level or the equivalent levels 7 - 4 at IB. Similarly, our GCSE results were among the best in the College, with 100% of students in Drama and Music, and all but one student in Expressive Arts obtaining A* - C grades (the average GCSE result being an 'A' grade across the Faculty). What tends to be really startling about the results the Faculty has come to expect, is the positive difference between students' prior attainment (as signified by Alis data at Sixth Form and FFT forecast grades at GCSE) and the actual grades they achieve, which can often be one-three grades higher than predicted for them at the start of their courses.
Every student has equality of access to the Performing Arts curriculum at KS3. Students study all three art forms across five periods within the two-week timetable, with two of these lessons focussed on Music, two on Drama and one on Dance. The Performing Arts umbrella, however, allows freedom for cross-curricular projects, and for each tutor group's individual talents to flourish.
Those that wish to opt for the arts at KS4 can do so by choosing between GCSE Drama, Dance and Music (or indeed taking all three subjects). The examination board we use for these in all three subjects is OCR, largely because of the emphasis it places on practical assessment, which dominates over written work/theory. Currently group sizes are very healthy (an average of 45 per subject per year group), with students starting their GCSEs in Year 9. Information regarding the course structures can be obtained on separate documents.
In Year 7 Dance, Drama and Music, homework tasks are not usually set. We encourage all students to participate in our extensive range of extra-curricular clubs, so that they may develop performance skills beyond the lesson time. It is not until GCSE, however, that compulsory home learning is prescribed in this area of the curriculum. Most of all, we want students to enjoy and engage wholeheartedly in the four hours of performing arts which they are timetabled per fortnight, where their learning will be primarily practical and active. Occassionally we will encourage students to spend a lunch or break time practising for a group assessed performance at the end of a unit, or they will be asked to complete a short evaluation of a unit at home.
Every term in KS3, 4 and 5 students take part in at least one formal assessment. These are mostly performances devised in groups, based on a particular performance genre/style/skill whilst exploring a social or cultural theme/context. The assessment at KS3 provides each individual with a national curriculum level from which they can compare their end of Year 8 target. At GCSE, grades A* - G are applied and at KS5, A* - E or Levels 7 - 1, whether assessments are mock practices or actual modular internal examinations, in which work is undertaken in controlled conditions and externally moderated.
It is often the case that the arts student's pathway is not a linear one; grades will depend upon strengths in specific art forms and styles. For example, one student might be a 6c in physical theatre, but a 5b in script work or musical composition. It is rare to find an artist who excels in every area, or indeed one who does not possess a particularly finely tuned gift within the disciplines of singing, playing, acting, dancing, designing, devising/writing creative pieces or using media technologies to make art. It is also the case that national curriculum levels and GCSE targets may differ quite significantly from students' parallel attainment in more academic subjects. In all our assessments, the emphasis is on the practical, whilst simultaneously arming students with the technical terminology and analytical confidence that will ensure their success in gaining qualifications. Most importantly, the emotional and physiological changes of young people inevitably influence their ability to express themselves through the arts, so it is right not to expect continually higher levels in a year of assessments; at KS3, a student's progress in developing skills and knowledge might be judged much more through evaluative statements and self-reflective discussions in class. Moreover, the faculty focuses on a range of AfL activities and peer and self assessment are widely used, feeding into the very nature of rehearsal and performance.
Homework is set regularly at KS4 and 5 to consolidate learning. At all levels the opportunity to develop extensive creative tasks is always there, sometimes compulsory and at other times as optional extension tasks. A homework might be to learn more performance-based vocabulary; it might be to attend a specific extra-curricular class; it might even be to 'people-watch'! Regular practice of warm-ups, memorisation and performance is vital for any aspiring musician, dramatist or dance artist. Fitness is also linked.
At KS4 and KS5 assessment follows the pattern set by the demands of the specifications of OCR, IB and Edexcel (the 'A' Level syllabuses); examination performances and recitals are invariably held out of hours so that parents and friends can form a large and supportive audience for assessed students, and turn the experience into something special and celebratory.
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IVC regularly hosts the Impington Music Society in the Brackenbury Room and once per term, the low-key but high standard, IV See, IV Hear.
Extra Curricular Clubs
We run a number of extra-curricular clubs and activities, the full list can be found on the Clubs and Acitivities page