Renowned British actor Ray Winstone, known for such films as Sexy Beast, Indiana Jones 4 and The Departed, has got behind a new initiative to enable children from mainstream schools to take drama examinations as part of their literacy lessons or after school clubs, so to develop their reading and writing, confidence and self-esteem.
Ray Winstone, who was born and raised in Plaistow knows all too well the value of drama.
“My reading was terrible but all that changed when I started drama classes. Drama also improved my confidence and helped me get on with others, which improved my prospects in life. By taking these drama exams it will help young kids who find learning difficult a lot easier. I’m pleased that children from working class backgrounds can now get the same opportunities that are normally open to children that come from affluent families. This is good for our schools and for society. I am very keen to see this worth while project succeed.”
With the Government wanting to narrow the gap between rich and poor with extra Pupil Premium money, matched with the ongoing concerns that nearly one child in every four at the age of 11 cannot read, this has come at a good time.
The initiative is being led by Bigfoot Arts Education, the UK’s largest independent arts education company and the New Era Academy, formed in 1941 to provide quality drama and acting examinations for children. Both companies have long recognised that in order to raise standards in children’s learning these opportunities must be made available to all from an early age, rather than leaving it too late.
Schools wishing to undertake the drama exams, which are accredited by OFQUAL, and shall be delivered during teachers PPA time, drama classes or through after school drama sessions, can contact Bigfoot Arts Education directly. The initiative is open to all Primary & Secondary schools across England and South Wales from January 2012, and are encouraged to book early.
Karl Wozny, founder of Bigfoot says “We will be sending in our professional arts facilitators who are vetted and trained to deliver lessons through drama and will prepare children for their New Era group drama exams which will be linked to national curriculum subjects”
Derren Nesbitt, CEO of New Era, himself an actor for over 50 years says “Our highly trained examiners will go into the schools to assess the work undertaken and shall reward groups of children who pass with certificates which are accredited by OFQUAL. Children can progress from level 1 right up to level 8, dependent upon their proficiency, and can obtain valuable UCAS points, which will help them when they go on to further education and university”
For further information on how to get your school involved in taking New Era Drama Exams contact Heidi Hinchliffe on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0800 644 6034
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