The stunning setting of Prince’s Mead enables pupils to unleash their imagination and creativity, individuality and self-confidence. Across Drama, Dance, Music, Creative Writing and Art & Design we offer pupils the opportunity to pursue their cultural passions both within the academic curriculum and, more importantly, through a diverse programme of annual events with opportunities to perform and showcase their learning and talent.
Creative Arts are rightly situated in the heart of the school in an unrivalled space with inspirational views over the Itchen Valley. We offer pupils the opportunity to explore a variety of different media to create unique individual pieces as well as design and create projects of high quality in our on-site kiln.
Art is highly valued at Prince’s Mead and children’s work is celebrated throughout the school on our displays. The syllabus lends itself to links with History or Geography topics that the children are studying in their classes.
The work of famous artists is explored and visits are undertaken to galleries and sculpture parks to develop the children’s awareness of all forms of art. The work is varied and each year the children have opportunities to draw, paint, print, make 3D art, create collages and work with textiles.The art room is a large, bright and airy space and the children look forward to their art lessons here. Art is taught by a specialist art teacher from Reception to Year 6.
Prince’s Mead recently purchased a kiln which added a new dimension to the Art Department’s capabilities. It is housed outside in an underground pump house. We celebrated our new kiln with a school wide ceramic poppy project that coincided with The Tower of London’s display and coincidentally received much local press. Since November, every year group has created at least one 3D clay piece of artwork. Younger year groups focus on basic skills like pinch pots, joining pieces and relief work, while the older children have successfully mastered coil work, slab building and drawing with clay. In addition to glazing all their own work, Prince’s Mead children have also had tours of the Kiln House and are starting to understand the processes involved in the bisque and glaze firing. The kiln has enabled our children to create more 3 dimensional art work than ever before and they are loving every minute of it!
Mrs Laura Thomas BA, PGCE – Head of Art
The majority of pupils have individual music lessons ranging from piano, violin and flute to trumpet, guitar and singing. Our choir sings regularly, as well as giving public performances in Winchester Cathedral and beyond.
Music at Prince’s Mead is a thriving department with an outstanding reputation. It is presented in the school community through class teaching, individual tuition and instrumental ensembles and choirs.
In class lessons our focus has a practical bias, encouraging inclusive whole class projects designed to allow every child a chance to shine, regardless of expertise or experience, from the youngest to the oldest. In addition to class projects, every child has the opportunity to learn an instrument and to belong to an instrumental ensemble or choir. In all areas, we offer a strong focus on performance.
We have a thriving Orchestra, Wind Band, String group, Advanced String group, Advanced Brass Group and various Ukulele, Recorder and Guitar Groups allowing for individual differentiation where appropriate.
Singing is for everyone and each child will sing in a choir as designated by their Year group. In addition, the older children can participate in either Young Voices or Chamber Choir. Ensemble and singing performances include regular class assemblies, singing weekly in Friday Prayers with the Orchestra accompanying, a Nativity play performed by Year 1 and Reception, a Christmas Concert, a Summer Ensemble Concert and a glorious Carol Service performed in Winchester Cathedral.
Individuals are encouraged to learn an instrument with one of our visiting peripatetic instrumental specialist teachers who play a highly integral and supportive role within the department. Our peripatetic team are professional musicians within their respective specialisms who bring a thorough accuracy, enthusiasm and passion to their teaching which that background entails.
Individual ability is showcased in a variety of ways. We have a 100% pass rate with graded ABRSM, Trinity and RockSchool exams, with Merit and Distinction achievement being the norm. In addition, we hold bi-termly informal Tea-Time Concerts, and an internal School Music Festival culminating in a Festival Concert, given in the elegant surroundings of our Mirror Room.
Musically gifted children are recognised early. We are very proud of our frequent success in gaining numerous Music Scholarships in senior school placements, and former pupils have gone on to achieve inclusion in National Ensembles, or have chosen to read Music as a subject in University, including Oxbridge in two cases.
Bespoke smaller ensembles have performed in the community including singing for residents in Abbots Barton and The Dower House Nursing Homes; performing at Tea-Parties hosted by the Bishop of Winchester and other one-off events in the Cathedral, and singing at the Funeral Service of a former Headmistress, to name but a few.
Just as importantly, inclusivity is prioritised on equal standing to individual success, with every child being encouraged to use their musical initiative to work creatively and independently. Many ensembles are inclusive. Under the supervision and guidance of our percussion teacher, we have produced child-led Girl and Boy bands which traditionally perform in the Summer Ensemble Concert.
Furthermore, to mark the culmination of the academic year in the summer term, we produce a major School Production in our transformed Sports Hall; last year’s being Beauty and the Beast, which is inclusively performed by Years 5 and 6.
Overall, Music at Prince’s Mead infiltrates our entire community, offering our pupils the chance to showcase their talents. They learn from each other in a busy and inclusive department, and gain confidence in their abilities within a caring and supportive environment led by specialists.
Drama brings exciting opportunities for all pupils right across the school from Pre Prep through to Year 6. Prince’s Mead is fortunate to have an outstanding LAMDA coach whose mission is to train our dramatic artists and technicians so they can make an impact on their senior schools and beyond through their experience with theatre. In the last academic year, 66 pupils entered into either an Acting or a Spoken Verse and Prose LAMDA Examination, 85% children passed with Distinction and 10 pupils were awarded Merit. Every single child worked with passion and dedication and these results are richly deserved.
In Years 4, 5 and 6, drama is taught as a separate lesson where a wide variety of games and activities are used including role-play, mime, hot-seating and improvisation to teach the dynamics of drama in a challenging yet enjoyable way. Stagecraft and performance experience are a huge focus, with confidence gained as much as technique, all overseen by a drama specialist and former professional actor.
At the end of the Summer Term, Year 6 have the opportunity to display the skills they have learned and talents they have honed, in the much anticipated End of Year Production. The shows always include a high level of acting performance and direction, with specific coaching from specialist teachers in dialogue, singing, dancing and, when needed, stage-fighting. The school sports hall is transformed into a spectacular theatre space, creating the perfect venue for each amazing event. A professional lighting and sound company bring effects and radio mics to embellish our shows, while our peripatetic music teachers accompany our children, giving the experience a real West End feel. Past productions have included Bugsy Malone, The Sound of Music and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. More recently we have performed Disney’s Aladdin, Lion King and Beauty and the Beast.