The Mead has the strength in core subjects that you would expect from a successful independent school, but learning and opportunities go far beyond these. The Visual and Performing Arts, Sport, Leadership, Forest School and a whole range of clubs and trips augment the traditional academic curriculum, providing countless opportunities for our pupils to stretch their wings, explore new concepts and subjects and build confidence.
Drama, Dance and Music
The Mead is very proud of the extremely high standards achieved in its ambitious programme of Arts activities and performances.
Drama, Music and Dance enrich children’s cultural education and contribute immensely to their social and emotional development.
There is well-researched evidence that engagement in the arts results in higher academic standards. It is also tremendous fun and since first entering the National ISA Drama Competition in 2016 The Mead has won multiple awards including The Oxford House Prize for Best Junior Production twice, The Hydesville Tower Prize for Best Musical Production, The Wilmslow Prize for Best Junior Boy Performer and The Audrey Vowles Prize for Best Junior Girl Performer. Many of our Year 6 students achieve Drama Scholarships to their chosen secondary school.
Music runs throughout a child’s time at The Mead, starting with our very youngest children. Our boys and girls explore percussion, voice, ukulele, ocarina, recorder and glockenspiel. You can hear the results of their endeavours at Harvest, Christmas and Easter church services, as well as the Early Years’ nativity play.
At lunchtime and after school, children can get involved in orchestra, chamber choir, the main school choir which regularly performs in community and music theory club. Children can take lessons in instruments as diverse as brass, harp, piano, violin, guitar, drums and ukulele.
The Mead is very proud that it was recently awarded a Music Mark accreditation in recognition of the high quality music education provided to its pupils.
Beyond the taught curriculum we offer a wealth of opportunities for learning and performing in performing arts. We put on summer and spring shows at Trinity Theatre and children can participate in performing arts workshops and LAMDA classes, as well as take lessons in Ballet, Modern, Tap & Jazz dance classes.
Sport is a vital element of life at The Mead from Nursery up, playing a key role in both the physical and emotional development of all of our children. For a town-centre school we have fantastic facilities with an all-weather double astro pitch and playground. We also make use of the nearby large Bayham sports ground and children in Years 3-6 regularly take part in inter-school fixtures and tournaments. We offer our boys and girls a wide range of sports, including cricket, tennis, rugby, football, netball, hockey, athletics, gymnastics, rounders, swimming and even windsurfing for Year 6s!
Aside from the health aspects and the development of gross motor skills, the range of sports our children enjoy encourages teamwork, problem solving, thinking on your feet – literally in many cases – resilience and determination. All these skills will stand them in good stead in their wider lives.
Children throughout the school are encouraged to work on a wide variety of topics in both 2D and 3D and are given the opportunity to experiment in traditional as well as new and exciting materials.
Regional art competitions – Our pupils are often successful in regional ISA art competitions in which we regularly take part.
The learning of art is further enhanced through after school clubs offered such as batik, mosaic, rag rug design and Manga design (Japanese comic book).
After school activities & clubs
After school clubs should be about broadening children’s interests, learning new skills, trying new pastimes and increasing self-confidence. We provide a diverse range, some provided by school staff and others by external practitioners.
Clubs currently on offer include: nature club, yoga, Spanish, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths), code club, golf, Lego and puzzles, tennis, judo, chess, rag rug design, ballet, modern and tap, gymnastics, cheerleading, orchestra, cricket, cookery, basketball, choir, handball, girls’ football, junk modelling, invasion games and Manga design.
Adventures & trips
A whole world lies beyond the school walls, with any number of adventures waiting to be experienced. As well as providing huge amounts of fun, they help children develop characteristics of resilience, independence and self-confidence.
Educational visits built into the curriculum give opportunities for hands-on learning and open up the world to curious eyes. Recent examples include Young Shakespeare Company, Steps in Time, hands-on historical workshops, a hands-on animal encounter with Zoo-Lab, a master-class in puppetry and an African drumming and mask-making workshop.
Our boys and girls also take part in regular trips further afield. Years 3 and 4 learn survival skills on their Bushcraft camping trip. Year 6 take part in a residential trip to the Isle of Wight, as well as their annual trip to Houses of Parliament and National Gallery and the Wishford weekend which brings children from across the group together. There are also activity trips for Years 4-6 every summer holiday and a family ski-trip every Easter.
We know that the experiences we give the boys and girls in our care sets them off on the right foot, confident to put their hands up, to volunteer and to feel happy about taking part. As they head into senior school, this attitude of positivity will mean that they continue to take and be rewarded for all the chances that come their way, reinforcing their self-belief.
Opportunities for taking on positions of responsibility begin at an early age at The Mead. School assemblies and productions build confidence to stand up in front of their peers and parents. There are positions to be held on the School Council and Eco council. All of our Year 6 students are house captains, wearing a badge in recognition of this responsibility, and take part in a range of leadership initiatives including organising charity fundraising events, helping with the running of school sports and performing arts events and keeping a look out for younger children who may need help or support.
The Wishford Enterprise Award brings a whole raft of opportunities for personal development. In a competition for Year 6 children across the group of schools, children take a business idea through from concept to development, design, marketing and finally sales.
The benefits to learning in nature are numerous – from building confidence, self-esteem and teamwork skills, to increasing empathy and, of course, the huge benefits to health and physical fitness.
The Mead is fortunate to have a beautiful, accessible forest on its doorstep and takes children for regular Forest School sessions throughout the school year.
Using the natural environment for inspiration, children from Kindergarten up to Year 6 engage in a variety of enriching, inspiring and fun activities – with favourites including building dens, creative role play using nature as props, making chalk bark drawings and looking for wildlife using magnifying glasses.