Ysgol Bryn Alyn pupils on their recent trip to Denmark
Ysgol Bryn Alyn pupils on their recent trip to Denmark

Ysgol Bryn Alyn are undertaking an exciting project, which involves them working with a number of schools across Europe to look at better ways of enthusing their students. This is done primarily through an arts-based approach to help pupils engage better in a wide range of subjects.

‘The Big Bang project’ recognises that sometimes it’s difficult for many subjects (particularly non-arts ones) to engage or enthuse students, and will look to find creative and active ways to tackle this.

As part of the project, a number of Year 9 pupils visited Arrhus in Denmark from February 3-7, where they stayed with host families and attended school. Their trip also included a visit to a theatre, where they received a back stage tour and took part in a technical theatre workshop.

Ysgol Bryn Alyn pupils and their host families from Arrhus, Denmark
Ysgol Bryn Alyn pupils and their host families from Arrhus, Denmark

An arts approach

Mrs Slinn, Headteacher at Ysgol Bryn Alyn, said: “This is an innovative project as we use an arts approach; using arts content as a way into the non-arts subjects on the curriculum.

“We use famous and influential works of arts to explore and respond to a variety of real issues that affect our partner countries around Europe. Our students can develop through practical work, face-to-face meetings as well as through online communication for different purposes.

“This can help them to develop many new skills; particularly their interpersonal skills.”


Partner schools

Ysgol Bryn Alyn have partnered with four European schools, situated in Portugal, Greece, Turkey and Demark for the Big Bang project.

An integral part of the project is staff continuing professional development (CPD). Staff have been on training courses in Liverpool, Poland and Athens, working with lecturers from Manchester Metropolitan University to develop innovative teaching and learning methods.

This is part of a process to widen staff awareness to the strengths and benefits of using the arts, no matter what the subject discipline is.

Great opportunity for students

Students aged 14-18 will get the opportunity to attend the partner schools (like with the recent visit to Arrhus, Denmark) with emphasis on developing their enterprise skills.

Mrs Slinn said: “Students will be asked to budget, work out costings and plan a programme amongst other things. We want them to be enterprising and develop skills which will serve them well in the future. This skill based approach aims to develop independent learning opportunities and equip students for lifelong learning”

Partner families host the students during their stay in the different countries.

Students will work in mixed multinational teams (who they’ll remain in contact with after the project) and work as Global Ambassadors within Ysgol Bryn Alyn on their return.

Drama strategies

Another part of the project will see teachers working with university staff to acquire new skills and approaches by using drama strategies and techniques.

These strategies and techniques will cross over into other subjects to motivate students and encourage learning and understanding. This is being studied closely by university professors, with plans to publish a book on how the project impacts the teachers and learners.

Healthy lifestyles

In a second project, developed by secondary students for primary students, the school are looking to promote the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle, which will be showcased through four drama performances, toured to local feeder primary schools.

The ‘healthy living and lifestyles project’ wants to show how healthy eating and living can contribute to an overall sense of wellbeing and can help to prevent a number of conditions.

This project is in partnership with organisations in Poland, Italy and France. It will involve 60 staff, 270 pupils and 12 schools.

Teachers will attend training and will work with older children to plan and rehearse their own performance based upon one aspect of the project.

Mrs Noon, head of the YBA Expressive Arts Faculty and leader of both Erasmus+ Projects, said: “We’re very proud to be part of this very exciting project, one that will truly be a once in a lifetime opportunity for the students involved. We are excited to work with all seven partner countries and look forward to seeing how the innovative teaching and learning approaches can benefit all our pupils at Ysgol Bryn Alyn.”

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