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Skills acquired by pupils in this project include: research, debating, negotiating, storytelling, story sequencing, character creation, design, making, memory, organisation, team work, relationship building, directing, leadership, reviewing, evaluating and improving.

Knowledge acquired by pupils includes: the history and geography of Greece and its’ link with myths and gods, theatre craft, the purpose and workings of the chorus in theatre, decoding poster design and programme creation.

Through his project we believe pupils have recognised the value of their own creative thinking. They have had a safe and encouraging environment in which to explore their ideas. They have been enthused by this process and have taken their ideas into areas of the curriculum in which they are usually more passive learners. They have shown themselves to be dynamic, articulate, creative and energetic learners

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Let’s Create- Themes

Demi-Jayne year 7

I really liked working with the Brit school students, they were very kind. Drama is so much fun. We were able to make our own stories and show them at the Brit school. I prefer drama to writing. My best memory is of the games we played at the start of each lesson.

Thamina  (year 7)

I really liked designing/ drawing and making the Greek masks. We learnt about different characters and made a mask.

Kamil  (year 8)

We learnt about Greek theatre and an old Greek story.  Jason and Media, the king and the Queen were the characters. It’s a story about revenge and killing. We used sticks for swards and boat ors and to show mountains, I think we should have used real swards! I liked helping with ideas, I remembered the play and helped the other students remember. I really liked working with the Brit girls. I want to work with them always.

Deon  (year 8)

Simon is a very good teacher, he always askedfor our ideas and asked how we felt. I liked answering his questions, they were hard, I didn’t always get them right. He knows a lot about drama. Thank you Brit school, so much!

Cathie Campbell (Teacher- Project Coordinator-OLS)

It was a superb project and had a massive impact on our students learning. It was a great cross curricular project linking the Deaf and hearing community and helping to break down barriers. Reading the feedback from the Brit school students, it is clear that this was a powerful and memorable experience that will impact on their understanding and perceptions of the Deaf community.

Darryl Bedford (Art Teacher)

Simon Stephens has a very fluid way of working. He was able to draw from cross-curricular work completed in the school and bring his amazing skills and vision to the creative process. He relies on student input and instils students' with confidence and a real sense of ownership. He builds student skills in a fun and engaging manner, using a creative, innovative teaching approach.  All student progress is framed by feedback and reflection.  The inclusion of Brit School students' brings focus and talented role models to the creative process. It is evident that all parties grow within this process. Not to mention the enormous enjoyment that all participants are keen to express. An outstanding achievement!

Brit School Student 1

I had had no contact with the Deaf community before the project. The Deaf Awareness workshop taught me about the different types of Deafness and how to get someone’s attention. It showed me that working with the children would be a completely new and unique experience. From the workshop, I learnt how to act more comfortably around the pupils.

It has been an extremely rewarding experience working with the Deaf students; they have been really welcoming towards us and worked well on the pieces that we created. I realise now that the Deaf community are very welcoming and willing to learn.

The thing I enjoyed most is meeting all of the students and interacting with them. I love drama and to create it with these amazing children has been an amazing experience. The children have always been willing to learn and act. I feel that I have definitely bonded with the students. Working with an interpreter was fine. I felt comfortable and I really liked the way how she interpreted what the children were saying with their personality.

I don’t think I would change anything about this project. It has been an amazing experience and I am truly grateful to have been chosen to take part.

Brit School Student 2

I had never worked with the Deaf community before, so I was pleased that I had this opportunity so that I would not be scared of approaching a Deaf person in every day life.

The Deaf Awareness workshop definitely opened my eys to the possibilities of working with the Deaf students. It gave me awarenss by being taught a variety of skills such as getting a Deaf person’s attention, knowledge of different sign languages in different countries and different types of deafness. I did not know that not all Deaf people can lip read and that they need a lot of practise to be able to read lips effectively.

I have loved working with the Deaf students because although we have come to help Simon teach acting, I feel that myself and my friends have gained a lot of knowledge and we are now more experienced . My perception has changed because as a human being we should all try harder to communicate with each other rather than just stare or ignore because we are unsure .

I feel that we have all made great connections and friendships with the students whose personalities are all fantastic. It has been a wonderful challenge that I will always remember. The children especially have made us feel very welcome and the teachers are very enthusiastic and work very hard at their jobs. At first I was nervous about working with an interpreter in case I talked too fast or too slow but I gradually got the hang of it and the interpreters were very helpful.

Brit School Student 3

This project has really opened my eyes to the Deaf community. The Deaf Awareness workshop showed how little I knew about the Deaf community and while it made me a little nervous about working with the students, I found it very useful and some of the facts (such as lipreading) were very useful.

I have really enjoyed working with the kids – they are so lovely and enthusiastic. My perceptions have changed in that I was worried I wouldn’t be able to understand the kids, but it is much easier to communicate with them than I thought.

I have loved this project. Acting and working with the kids has been an incredible experience for me. I feel I really connected with the kids because they were all so open and willing to learn, and the interpreters were really helpful and supportive of our ideas.

I wouldn’t change anything except maybe having some lessons on simple every day questions so that we could connect more with the students. However, we all learnt it on Youtube! But one lesson would have made us more confident at first.

I would have liked this project to be longer so that we could spend more time with the kids. I’m sad it’s come to an end.

Tara Bell (Assistant Deputy Head- OLS)

This project was an ambitious idea but Simon approached it with such commitment, humour, high expectations and flexibility. It inspired not only our pupils but our staff immeasurably. Through Simon's willingness to give his time and his commitment to working with our staff and our pupils we have identified a need for an entirely new curriculum area.  We are now looking at putting in place a 'Performing Arts' curriculum for 2011 and this is in direct response to Simon's work with us. He has given us the evidence and inspiration we needed to get this curriculum in place. We cannot thank him enough.

Cathie Campbell, English Teacher Oak Lodge School

I feel that Simon, has made a superb link with our school that has directly benefitted our teaching and learning here at Oak Lodge.

Simon has been superb at adapting his ideas to our students’ needs. He has listened to all of our staff’s opinions/ suggestions and altered his teaching programme accordingly.

I think that getting young students working together from two very different and diverse communities has been great at breaking down barriers and increasing understanding between the two groups. This year, it was interesting having students from different year groups – Yr12 and Yr7/8 working together was particularly interesting. The younger students made a strong bond with the sixth form students, looking up to them as positive role models. The year 12 students made a huge effort to jump in and connect with the younger students. I loved how they went away and tried to learn signs by themselves on the Internet. At the end of the project, I witnessed students from Oak Lodge and the Brit school trying to have independent conversations. This is an incredibly important experience for our students – who need to learn how to adapt their communication in order to link with the hearing, non-signing community.

The students here loved every minute of the project. Many of the drama workshops ended with students wanting to hug Simon and thank him, as they had enjoyed themselves so much. They have really enjoyed learning more about acting, have had their ideas heard and realised. They have loved been given a proper forum in which to perform. The project was a cross curricular project and it lead to a very creative outpouring in both art and English. It fuelled the pupils’ imaginations and they wrote some fantastic imaginative stories based on the Greek Quest theme.

I am hugely grateful for Simon’s time, expertise, creativity and enthusiasm. He is an incredibly talented and committed teacher who was able to create something with pupils who have multiple learning needs. It was an empowering and inspiring experience for our students and one that they continue to remember and cherish.

Ben Turner (English Coordinator- OLS)

The levels of engagement - interaction and cooperation between the Oaklodge and Brit school students was superb. All were involved in the creative process. It proved a great source of inspiration for creative writing and thinking and was a fantastic way of extending the pupils' vocabulary. Both the lower and higher ability students were extremely motivated and it improved their self-confidence. The acting motivated the students during literacy sessions to read more Greek stories. They then planned, created and wrote their own creative story based on the themes explored during the drama sessions. The pupils were empowered in the own learning. Simon was both flexible and approachable during the whole project. Going to the Brit school to see Brit students perform a play, taking part in a drumming and African dance session and then having the privilege of using a theatre space to perform in were highlights of the project. All of this made it a very fruitful and highly successful learning process for our students.