Championing the Arts

Creativity is the rainbow that shines colour into our everyday lives. It is and will continue to be, one of the core elements to the Truro School identity, ‘To inspire creativity, ignite imaginations and help each pupil to find and fully develop their talents’.

The arts and the opportunity to be creative are vital for children growing into teenagers and young adults. It is their chance to explore exciting new hobbies, to discover what they’re good at, and what they could become. At Truro School painters can be poets, singers can be sculptors, designers can be dancers.

Providing creative subjects and events is certainly a challenge in times of coronavirus, but not impossible. With plans in the making to film prep and senior annual concerts and plays, students will have an introduction to performing to the camera. There are senior school drama projects for each year group in their bubbles, so every student has the opportunity to perform. Ambitious as always, rehearsals are underway for a full-length new play set in a dystopian future slave-world and a radical reinterpretation of ‘Amadeus’ set in an insane asylum.

We spoke to some of our teachers about the importance of arts education. Director of Drama Mr Oldfield, a passionate actor himself, said: “The potential opportunities for creative people to work in various sectors is vast. The entertainment industry calls on the skills of hundreds of thousands of people. And beyond that sector, collaboration, empathetic behaviour, creative innovation and a diligent, disciplined, adaptable approach is valuable in every field; skills and attributes that are enhanced by an arts-rich education which is what we offer at Truro School.”

Mrs Gregory, Prep Drama Co-ordinator, added: “Not only do we want the children to develop a love of performing, but for any child, no matter what they choose to do later, the skills developed – confidence, teamwork and expression – are vital as they go through life. One of my most memorable moments after one of our end-of-year plays was a quote from a mum, ‘thank you for helping my daughter find herself’. This is what performing arts education is all about; giving children confidence in their own identity.”

In the recent HMC Conference Mr Johnson virtually attended, there was mention about schools’ dedication to the arts and a big championing of the arts in schools. Not only is Truro School a big champion of the arts but is in a strong position in this area, leading partnerships with choristers, Truro Cathedral, and Cornwall Music Service Trust (CMST).

Mr Oldfield commented: “Exposure to the arts and following a programme that enables students to explore them is beneficial to the individual and to the wider community. The individual learns about self-expression and how to wield their imagination, and so the wider community benefits from a new generation of young people who are interested in the world around them and have the vocabulary to question and explore it.”

Mrs Renshaw, Prep Music Co-ordinator, shares a similar view: “Music can help to ignite a child’s confidence and make positive impacts on learning in other areas of the curriculum due to the extensive amounts of brain involvement involved in music making. We understand too well, especially through the current pandemic, of the need to care for our children’s mental and emotional needs and music is a subject that offers this.”

Katherine Gregory, who left Truro School last year and is now studying at Cambridge, is a prime example of this: “As well as giving me the opportunity to sing music of the highest quality in a beautiful setting, being a chorister in Truro Cathedral Choir developed my focus, self-reliance, confidence and resourcefulness, as well as giving me a real sense of belonging and community. When choosing universities, the opportunity to sing in a college choir was a big reason for choosing Cambridge. I now sing in Trinity College Choir, acknowledged as one of the best choirs in the world, and I would never have achieved this without the focus on the arts at Truro School and Truro Cathedral Choir.”

In the art department, creativity is the beating heart. The current team of teachers and technicians come from a diverse range of creative backgrounds and are all practising artists passionate about their subjects. Through this knowledge and expertise, pupils and students gain an insight into the possible career paths in the creative industries and how this subject can enrich and contribute to other possible professions.

Director of Art, Mr Meads said: “We continually develop new and relevant schemes of work that help extend the talents of all students by facilitating and celebrating achievement and tailoring the learning to the individual. Far from being a ‘soft’ subject, the art department teaches analytical skills and encourages students to engage in a broad exploratory approach to a wide and diverse range of cross curricular investigations.”