The weeks leading up to the end of term have been busy! There has been plenty of activity as part of Arts & Culture week, culminating in our annual Sports Day on Friday last week. Young people enjoyed cultural performances, drumming workshops, fashion workshops and mural painting. The idea behind Arts and Culture week and similar arts based activities throughout the year, is to enable all students to experience a wider range of the arts and cultural activities which they gain so much enjoyment and a real sense of achievement from.

The week kicked off with a fantastic day of music and culture courtesy of Lions of Zululand - a group of musicians and dancers who aim is to teach the world about the wonderful richness of traditional Zulu culture. The visiting performances, such as The Lions of Zululand are incredibly powerful as they expose our young people to other cultures through music and dance, and are accessible to the whole school, rather than just a few who are able to access off-site performances.

Following an incredible performance with full cultural dress, the group engaged students in workshops to show them traditional Zulu instruments and dance moves. Students then joined staff for a grand finale of dancing and music to end an amazing, immersive and inspiring day.

The rest of the week involved drumming workshops with Tomson Chauke, who works in Shirley House; a fashion workshop held by support staff members Liz M'Silva and Aline Mambo, where students got to make a dress; and mural painting workshops where students painted the new lemon tree mural, drawn by Teacher Louise Cole and Jayne Withers on the fence surrounding Prior's Court newest residential development. Working in groups during these workshops improves young people’s social interaction skills and develop the ability to turn take, work as a team, and appreciate the work of others.

Prior's Court Class Teacher, Louise Cole commented:

"During Arts & Culture Week and other arts based activities, students are encouraged to express themselves creatively, and develop their listening and communication skills in the process. These focused weeks are also a fantastic vehicle for celebrating the huge amount of musical and artistic talents that the residential and education support team have – giving them the opportunity to share these with the young people to create collaborative pieces of work or deliver workshops."

We are incredibly proud of the very talented and committed staff who enable these activities to bring so much to our young people.

You can look through a gallery of the day's activity on our Facebook album - Arts & Culture Week 2016.