I am fortunate in that Sackville appreciates the importance of the creative arts in developing confidence and wellbeing. All students experience a wide range of Visual Arts, Drama, Music and Film making, both in time-tabled lessons and through extracurricular activities. My background as a professional actor, scriptwriter and film maker has been invaluable for developing the creative arts within school. I am also Director of The Curious Theatre Company which is based in Sackville's 'The Space' studio theatre.
We fully understand the importance of challenging our pupils to develop outside the classroom. To that end we have a comprehensive extra-curricular programme designed to develop personal qualities, creativity and leadership skills. Friday afternoons are dedicated to our Skills and Services programme which includes character-building opportunities including Community Service, the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and the School Cadet Force. On Saturday mornings, pupils can choose from a menu of activities including Creative Writing, International Cuisine, Open Art and Music & Dance.
St Edmund's has a long and well-founded reputation in the creative subjects. Music, Art and Design and Drama are recognised strengths of the school and offer fantastic opportunities for expression and performance at a high level. Many of our pupils go on to leading drama schools, conservatoires and art colleges. Developing individual creativity is in our school DNA.
We have a programme of lunchtime visiting speakers called "The Curiosity Shop" to which all pupils and parents are invited. These are highly successful events and we have had presentations from a representative of Bletchley Park on the Enigma Machine, from a leading UK actress on careers in film and theatre and from a number of university academics. Trips are a vital aspect of our educational provision and we offer far too many to list in full. However, our pupils have recently visited New York, Iceland, Berlin and Spain to name but a few.
New pupils to the school often ask to be placed in Orlando Bloom's House as he is an old boy of the school! Concert pianist Freddy Kempf visits us regularly and has run masterclasses for our pupils and we are proud of Darren Henley OBE who is currently the Chief Executive of the Arts Council. Those who keep an eye on the news might also have recently noted the name of Sanjeev Gupta, the international businessman involved in the Port Talbot steel works takeover. Our pupils go off into a huge range of careers, equipped I hope with the assurance, resilience and creativity developed as part of a St Edmund's education.
St Edmund's School Canterbury, St Thomas' Hill, Canterbury, Kent CT2 8HU, 01227 475600. www.stedmunds.org.uk