The school is very proud of its extensive provision for the arts both within the curriculum and as extra-curricular activities. We feel that it encourages children to express themselves and to develop confidence and self-esteem as well as creative flair.
Music is flourishing at the school. Children in Years 3 to 6 are able to join the choir which meets weekly; the children have a great deal of fun and are able to perform a considerable repertoire of songs. We are proud to have taken the children to perform in a number of Young Voices concerts at the 02. On a more local basis we have sung at the local nursing home at Christmas; we have also sung carols at Tesco supporting their charity campaigns. There have been major productions at the end of the Summer Term and these have included "Aladdin", "Alice in Wonderland", “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”, “The Priory School West End Medley” and “The Priory School Poptastic Production”, the latter two written by members of staff. The school currently offers professional tuition in acoustic and electric guitar, flute and drums and there is a reasonable charge for the lessons.
Each year, the school holds a Speaking and Listening competition. Children are asked to compete with poetry and prose recitation for the Frank Mitchell trophy and it is always most entertaining to be a part of the audience.
The school regularly hosts theatre groups and many of these encourage the children to interact with the performers. In the past, children have worked with actors from The Watermill Theatre and Dance4All. We have also been fortunate enough to have a number of dance workshops that have culminated in performances to parents of short extracts from The Lion King and The Jungle Book. A recent major topic was the 'Sitting with Jane' project, this was a community arts initiative commemorating the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's death. As part of this project the children designed a book bench reflecting the Regency period and this was displayed with benches from other schools in the Festival Place Shopping Centre, Basingstoke. The bench now has pride of place in the school's reception area and acts as a reminder of a happy and creative activity. It has become a tradition that every year the whole school enjoys a pantomime performance; previous visits have been to theatres in Basingstoke, Newbury and Winchester however this year we are looking forward to an in-house performance of Jack and the Beanstalk by a travelling theatre company. Other events enjoyed by the children have included an artist in residence, a storyteller, Indian dance group, a jazz quartet as well as the annual visit from the Borodowski String Quartet. A much loved Priory institution is the annual talent show which is held in the summer term and showcases a wide variety of entertainment acts from classical ballet to gymnastics, from comedy routines to vocal/instrumental performances.
The school is very proud of its language provision. French is taught as part of the curriculum to children in years 5 and 6 and Spanish is a very popular extra-curricular lunchtime activity. A small group of junior children are currently enjoying the Minimus Latin Club, learning not only the language but aspects of culture and everyday life in the Roman Empire.
There are a myriad of opportunities for the children to be creative every day, whether it is writing poetry, delivering presentations, making animations, taking part in role play, drama and dance or cooking, to name but a few activities. We are always looking for new experiences for the children to be creative and we know that whatever the children take part in; they will embrace the activity with great enthusiasm. Every week in our Star of Wonder assembly we award certificates in a number of categories including The Arts and at the Annual Awards ceremony in May, there is a prize in each year group from Reception to Year 6 for overall achievement in the Arts. It is always difficult to select the winner due to the high standards.