Monday 28 November 2016

ACTION drama workshops

A University of Northampton Changemaker Life Hack Challenge project has seen workshops support pupils to cope with the move from Primary to Secondary school.


The transition from year six, the oldest pupils within a primary school, to year seven often the youngest in a school much larger, is a time of huge change for young people. Laura Richardson from the Library and Learning Services team has used her expertise as a University of Northampton graduate to create ACTion drama workshops, to help young people adjust to this change.


After graduating from the University of Northampton’s drama course in 2015, Laura became a member of staff here at the University, where she began to explore the idea of creating a Changemaker Life Hack project.


Laura said: “For some time I have been interested in creating a drama project that would support children to tackle a social issue within the local community. I had an idea, but I needed some help to turn it into reality.

“After settling into my job at the University, I became more aware of Changemaker and the importance of it in the University’s future through the Changemaker + Challenges. I discovered that staff could complete the Changemaker certificate and get help to create their own project with the aim of helping to solve a social issue in the local community. After some early sessions with the Changemaker Hub, and a little help and direction, my ACTion Workshops came to life. These workshops directly support the University’s Changemaker + Challenges one and two – Supporting young people to flourish and learn, as well as supporting the health and wellbeing of young people.”

The ACTion workshops worked with the current year seven pupils at Kingsthorpe College, and the year six pupils in a feeder school. The year seven pupils were asked to reflect on their feelings at the start of the term and create performance pieces; this ranged from acceptable behaviour at the school, through to the worries students had. These performance pieces were then performed to the rest of the group, feedback from their peers helped create a final piece, which was performed for the year six students.

To develop performance skills and confidence within the year seven group, the pupils then developed and ran workshops activities for the younger pupils. All the pupils then worked together to investigate and talk about the things which were worrying the younger students, the older pupils talked about their experiences and gave advice to help remove the worry.

Laura continued: “The pilot project was very successful; working with the Changemaker Hub I’m now developing my business model; developing four drama workshops around the themes of anti-bullying, online safety and cyber bullying, transition from primary to secondary school, confidence building and team work. Over the coming months I’ll be pitching my ideas to schools across Northamptonshire.”

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