News & Events

Arts Week 2022

“Somewhere, deep inside all of us, is the power to change the world.”

What an incredible theme for Arts Week 2022!

Arts Week is a relatively new tradition at Croydon High, and one that was conceived and has been led from the start by our own remarkable, Liz Smith  Head of Art and Design.

The thinking behind Arts Week is one that Mrs Smith is particularly passionate about; the idea that there is such rich learning to be gained when pupils and teachers work collaboratively approaching a topic from their different subject perspectives.

As we always say, great minds think differently!

This year Arts Week takes inspiration from Roald Dahl’s well-loved tale of Matilda, the little girl of wondrous intelligence who was so different from the rest of her family. Misunderstood by everyone, and ignored at home, Matilda escapes in to a world of reading, honing her skills and mind so much that she develops telekinetic powers.

There are so many layers to this tale and this is what Arts Week 2022 has set out to unravel, with some incredible lessons taking place around the school. Subject matter aside, the aim of the programme is also to encourage pupils to work collaboratively, to lead discussions, to take on unusual ideas and to express their own thoughts confidently. And this is what they have done!

There has been a real buzz and energy around the school, starting with the cast and crew who have been working so hard – not just this week – but for most of this half-term to put together the performance of Matilda, which took place on the evening of Thursday 7 July – and what a triumph! Enormous shout out to the whole cast who were incredibly impressive throughout but special mention to the leads, Lara, Suzie and the very scary Ellie M! Huge credit must go to the Music and Drama departments, especially Mrs Grimshaw, Mrs Webb, Miss Bradley, Mr Suranyi, Mr Ting and Mr Bishop for producing such a remarkable show.

Big shout out too, to our Year 11 helpers Maddie, Emily, Talia, Aila Sophia, and Jess who came in specially to lend a hand as well as expert choreography from L6 Olivia, Darcey and Yasmin.

Throughout Thursday and Friday Arts Week sessions took place for Year 7-9, inspired by ideas from the story of Matilda.

  • We welcomed published author, Mrs Jill Saudek who is a former Teacher of English at Croydon High and who led poetry workshops linked to Matilda’s love of literature.
  • This was followed by sessions that encouraged pupils to create their own artistic responses to poetry with Mrs Palmer , or to create their own language with the MFL department and to create miracles in science with exciting experiments in our labs with our brilliant resident scientists!
  • Mrs Smith was busy in the Art Department all day Thursday creating the set for the evening performance of Matilda – an amazing opportunity!
  • Year 9 were involved in an incredible collaboration between Maths and 3D Design: The brief was to design an escape route for Matilda and her friends to escape from Miss Trunchball by abseiling down K Block! Trigonometry, accurate measuring and scale drawing was employed to find the heights of the buildings involved – K Block and the LRC. From their investigations and calculations, pupils went on to design and build some incredible scale drawings and 3D models!
  • Meanwhile, Head of Psychology Miss James, was discussing Nature vs Nurture with her groups and Head of Economics and Business Mr Calderwood (in his own inimitable style) was evaluating Harry Wormwood’s Business Enterprise (Harry is Matilda’s father played so brilliantly by Danny DeVito in the film version).
  • Mrs Ridgeway oversaw the development of recipes for Bruce Bogtrotter’s Chocolate Cake and after lunch Y7s Mariyah and Lucy, made their way to our kitchens to decorate their own cakes!
  • Then to follow up on the show, our Ent Tech staff ran some fantastic podcasting workshops interviewing the cast of Matilda in our own Podcasting Room.
  • Mr Loveday considered the feminist icon that is Miss Trunchball (really?!!) whilst Mrs Murray and Ms Fenwick looked at Diverse Classrooms and the English Department’s ran a creative writing Anti-Hero Workshop.
  • Mrs Sharples led a fascinating session on Celebrating our Differences and Talents in her Neurodiversity workshop, while the Classics Department marvelled at Female Geniuses from the Ancient World and Mr King and Mr Cowie posed the question, “ How can we Change the World? “

This last question seems most particularly apt; with the range of rich learning experiences and exposure to fascinating subjects taught by truly inspiring people, Croydon High pupils will be in the very best possible place to change this world for the better – and we have every confidence that they will do so.

Thank you to Mrs Smith for her vision and energy and unrelenting good humour and on her behalf, thank you to the wonderful team of staff and of course our pupils who have made Arts Week 2022 such a resounding success.

Mrs Cook

Director of Philanthropy and External Relations

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