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Music & Choir
Music has been at the heart of Knighton since its foundation; the Bookers were both keen musicians. It continues to thrive both by involving everyone and also by stretching the most able through truly individualised study. Singing together as a whole school, class or choir strengthens and enriches our community. Learning lyrics is a super work-out for the memory: other subjects (especially languages) certainly gain from this. Cross-curricular learning occurs as children time-travel effortlessly from past to present and between cultures.
Performers are encouraged to be resilient and to keep going, first in front of the class, then the school, then parents. Pupils learn to be a supportive audience, giving positive comments and also using technical musical terms. In group composition, team work skills are intensely developed, along with confidence for experimentation. In small ensembles (String Quartet, Wind Quartet, Choristers) children learn to listen to others whilst being secure on their own independent part.
Termly school concerts genuinely involve every pupil and are immensely popular with parents, not least because of the surround-sound setting with cakes. Soloists are confident and polished but include beginners to Grade 6 level. Extra ensembles happen each year in response to pupil demand (Alpha Folk Song group and Rock Band). Our team of ten highly qualified and experienced visiting specialists deliver personalised one to one tuition on instruments including trumpet, violin, cello, clarinet, saxophone, guitar, piano and voice. 78% of pupils learn a musical instrument, 25% of whom study two or more. The independent work and time- management skills children develop through individual musical study are immensely attractive to senior schools.
Recent music scholarships include Bryanston, Clayesmore, Sherborne Girls, St Mary’s Calne, Leweston and Godolphin. In the last few years OKs have also won music scholarships to Oxford University and The Sixteen.
The jewel in the crown of music at Knighton has always been the Chapel Choir. In June 2019 they sang three anthems for an OK wedding in Sherborne Abbey and two for the christening of a future Knighton girl locally. They lead our regular church services with exceptionally fine singing and immense professionalism.
Art and Design Technology Department
The Art and Design department is a thriving space where children are encouraged to explore and react to their surrounding environment. The children tackle the diverse spectrum of projects individually and through a wide range of mediums, with energy, passion and enthusiasm for all areas of creative work. Outcomes span a large spectrum of mediums. The basic skills of drawing and painting are approached and explored by all ages and their skills enhanced through perspective, experimental, life and observational techniques. Three dimensional sculptures are created and manipulated using wire, clay, papier mâché and book art and with the aid of a large printing press foam, lino, collagraph and screen prints are produced to a high standard.
The Art room is used by pupils from Year 1 to 8 for at least one hour per week, allowing the pupils to be inspired by this space from a young age. The space is open for all pupils well beyond the working weekly lessons; there is access for boarders at the weekend for creative workshops, as well as lunchtime art clubs for the keen budding artist. The department runs an exciting programme for art scholars where contemporary artists’ work is discussed, inspiring sophisticated and challenging responses. A sketchbook enrichment session is offered to all pupils, particularly those considering scholarship.
The Art room is a place where pupils can grow and flourish in a secure environment. The Art room fosters a strong sense of community through valuing the worth of each individual and their achievements. Curiosity about the world, the shape, form, texture and colour of their lives, is encouraged in all pupils. Through discussion of art, an awareness of oneself is gained, in terms of thoughts, feelings, emotions, responsibilities and experiences. Pupils are encouraged through their style of work to develop an individual identity and a growing acceptance of this with time.
A wide range of artists from broad backgrounds are used to research and promote art work. Different cultures and their influences on the art world are studied and pupils think about how culture affects the art it inspires i.e. Islamic tiles and Africa tribal masks. Pupils address how discrimination is seen and read within artwork and can influence an artist’s oeuvre. Pupils are asked to discuss art work and artists’ beliefs and to make connections between what is similar and what is different to their own. To value difference between themselves and another’s viewpoint is encouraged.
Pupils are encouraged to discuss, comment and contribute throughout the creative process and their input is valued, whether discussing an Artist’s, their own or each-other’s work. Pupils self-evaluate their work at all stages, with project diaries used to assess individual achievement.
Design takes on a more practical approach using the space in a creative yet purposeful manner. Pupils are encouraged and taught confidently to hand and machine sew, generate expressive graphics, explore the realms of product design and cook a range of basic healthy balanced meals. DT lessons are taught weekly to Years 3–8 for 1 hour where the overall emphasis is on the process of creativity and the confidence that can be gained through the process of working practically.
Drama at Knighton House
Many visitors to Knighton remark upon the ease and unselfconsciousness of children here — their comfort with performance of all kinds. From the Pre-Prep onwards, Knighton children are encouraged to perform: Drama develops many of the skills our pupils will need as successful adults – confidence, collaboration, concentration and communication. It is also a great deal of fun.
In school, Speaking and Listening activities are a vibrant aspect of English lessons and we host an annual Public Speaking Competition, with participation from Year 2 upwards. Beyond the curriculum, we often take part in drama workshops and visit productions at local senior schools; we regularly invite professional theatre groups into school.
All children in the Prep school and all pupils in the Pre-Prep take part in drama. Every Christmas, Pre-Prep brings its version of the nativity story to the stage and Knighton’s yearly Junior and Senior productions are eagerly anticipated by all. Where possible, we encourage girls in the Prep school to devise and realise their own productions, from writing dialogue to creating scenery and making props. Pupils learn to be adaptable and flexible when the budget is slightly less than that of a Hollywood blockbuster.
Speech & Drama (LAMDA)
We offer optional Speech & Drama lessons for those interested in acting and performing, who would like to become confident speakers and learn key communication and presentation skills. As well as being great fun, Speech and Drama gives a skills framework accredited by the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA). Higher examination grades are recognised within the UCAS tariff for UK university entrance and most children at Knighton are awarded Merit or Distinction grades. Some go on to achieve drama or all-round scholarships.
Individual tuition is given in small groups so as well as developing acting and performance skills, children learn to perform successfully at interviews, meetings, social and formal occasions throughout their lives. During the Summer term all children take part in a showcase performance to which parents, family and friends are invited.
Children can join Speech and Drama lessons at any time during the year so if your child would like to take part please ask at the school office for an application form.