The Bruntcliffe Festival of Culture aims to achieve a number of objectives:

  • Celebrate knowledge and the human desire to discover
  • Create an awareness amongst students that “culture” includes all manner of human activity from academic work to sport and competition
  • Create a culture amongst our colleagues of regularly providing links in teaching and learning in regular lessons to experiences outside of lessons and wider knowledge
  • Create a sense of awe and wonder and a thirst for learning
  • Create a sense of personal ambition and a desire to take risks

The Festival will incorporate a number of key events throughout the year. These will include trips within specific curriculum areas, outside speakers presenting to year groups and workshops that will develop certain skills. These will be reinforced by linking student and teacher led presentations to work done in response to these activities. By feeding back in assemblies and lessons, students will assimilate knowledge and skills and at the same time, develop confidence and enjoyment of the learning process. By the end of the year students will be able to describe to their peers how they have learned and how they have taken their learning to a higher level. By celebrating the process of learning within the framework of the festival and linking it to Graduation, we make it an integral part of the culture of the academy and a talking point. In doing so, learning and the discussion of learning becomes a natural and every day act.

What is the Festival?

The festival encompasses human endeavour in 5 general areas. These, within themselves include sub-sets, for instance, within Science we would find Medicine. Activities taking place within the festival link to these areas. Students are clear that they experience them because they provide an insight into human culture. We study mathematics, not because we have to, but because it supports our understanding of the world and allows us to plan effectively all aspects of human activity, from farming to economics. Pythagoras’ Theorem, well-known and learned may seem abstract and rooted in calculation, but its application to agriculture has ensured its longevity around the world.

Literature is the lodestone of our culture – books are the receptacles of knowledge and we understand the value of unpicking language to further engage with meaning. Books are valuable to us and we can link our appreciation of literature to the GORSE Big 8 pillar of Forensic Reading.

In many ways, Politics and Presence (including Drama and Sport) are linked. In the time of Socrates, debate was built around a hypothesis, with the aim of arriving at a truth or conclusion. The Socratic Method involves using the argument-counterargument format to discard invalid ideas, and the refine a truthful argument. Speaking and listening are valued along with an open mind. Political debate should follow this format; by creating a focus for politics for all students we can begin to challenge preconceived notions and bring a measured level of debate into students’ lives. This seems a noble ideal at a time of great vacillation in our domestic political arena. By providing students with an opportunity to visit the Houses of Parliament and to engage with their MP we remind them that our political system is set up to support society and that it works best when people are engaged and positive about its potential for improving the lives of all in society. This brings us to Drama, and a recognised need to provide students with opportunities to become confident and bold speakers, and to engage audiences. Whether speaking to a teacher, a parent, or a year group, students should have the skills and experience to look forward to this and to plan their words. Drama provides for them the polish required to present their cultural self. For many students, their prowess in sport may be their greatest expression of themselves and we actively celebrate this as a great human endeavour. Members of the football team travelling to Madrid in October will experience the awe and wonder of visiting the Santiago Bernabeu stadium, home to Real Madrid and to play abroad. Expression and confidence are expected aims for them.

Some examples of upcoming festival enrichment activities are:

  • Real Madrid Football Trip (October 2018)
  • Legally Blonde Musical (December 2019)
  • Socratic Debate Club (from September 2018)
  • Cambridge Festival of Literature Visit (2019)
  • Hull Truck Theatre Company Workshop (2019)
  • The Enigma Machine (May 2019)
  • Science Week (March 2019)

In participating in these activities, students will be encouraged to share their learning and the enjoyment they experienced by completing short oral presentations to their forms, longer presentations as part of a group to their year group in an assembly and also to be actively involved in generating newsletter and website articles. We believe this will enable a rich culture of discussion and debate and also to celebrate more widely the work of our students.