The Atkinson Alternative Saturday JobFebruary 15, 2021
Recovery Learning: Pass the BatonMarch 2, 2021
Every challenge offers opportunity to grow. Head of Drama at Stockport Grammar School, Matt King-Sayce, seized this at the start of Lockdown#1 and has been working hard to develop new and existing cultural partnerships for his school through the last few months. Here he reflects on the positives inherent in pursuing partnerships.
I was on track to launch our Arts Award delivery, a few months into my school’s first Artsmark journey, and I’d been involved in setting up and hosting my Local Cultural Education Partnership (LCEP). I had also presented to Curious Minds’ CASE fellows about how they could align their work more closely to the needs of school and had led a series of sessions for middle and senior school leaders about how to embed creativity across the curriculum, following some work I had done with Robert Meadows and the Philip Barker Centre for Creative Learning.
I was certainly busy but, for the first time in years, I was loving working with so many creative partners. Then came Monday 23rd March and everything came to a grinding halt.
Lockdown was a learning curve for us all; affecting all aspects of our lives. As we navigated a void which led straight into the unknown, it would have been easy to park all of these partnerships for the time being, with the view to resuming them when life returned to normal. However, I decided to take a different approach and use this time to proactively develop and extend these partnerships.
What started out as me reaching out to share my experiences and resources with others, quickly turned into something else. I found myself reaching out to virtual communities to share ideas and resources. This lead on to an approach from a publisher with a request to write a review for a new textbook and also being asked to become a mentor for the delivery of GCSE and A Level Drama via Facebook. In addition to this, I was given the opportunity to work beyond my role at my school and connect with school leaders from around the world, in countries as distant as India and Australia, to discuss how to engage and lead staff through these challenging times. Closer to home, I became part of a focus group with the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester, meeting via Zoom to discuss possibilities for live and live-streamed theatre performances during lockdown and beyond.
One partnership that absolutely flourished during lockdown was with Stockport College. This partnership is extra special, as the college is an important member of our LCEP and I worked with Teresa Baggaley, from Curious Minds to develop and strengthen our ties.
It is without doubt that the past year has been a less than prosperous time for the cultural sector, and its effects will be felt for a long while. On reflection, though, the work I have been able to undertake with like-minded individuals has been like a beacon of light in rough seas. We have all worked hard, continuing to strengthen partnerships and working towards our common objective of engaging more young people in arts and culture. This is something, at least, to celebrate.