At Bishops Down Primary School and Nursery we are a mainstream community school with specialist resourced provision for children with Physical Disabilities and Complex Medical Needs and we wanted to produce a video that would promote the uniqueness of our school. However, we realised that 2017 happened to be our 50th Birthday year and so we agreed that this was such a great opportunity to celebrate 50 years of learning with something that would be an equally great achievement and somethings special for children, parents and staff to look back on.
We took some inspiration and to be honest some ideas from the video that Gary showed us from Fallibroome Academy and I had some initial discussions with staff, governors and parents about how to take this forward. From this we discovered we had a parent in the TV film industry who had worked on some highly acclaimed recent TV Dramas. He was brilliant in the advice and support he gave us about making a quality film and he also put us in touch with other Bishops Down parents that he knew could help.
The next stage was bringing together a production team from across the school to discuss the vision as well as the technical side to the production. It was really exciting for our school staff to be working with professionals from a completely different field; a significant motivator with lots of learning as well as a refreshing break from the daily grind! Our learning and progress was actually good fun as well as hard work.
The planning stages took a full 3 months – we learnt this from the professionals. You can’t rush something like this if you really want it to be quality and so ensuring we started early in the timetable with a firm commitment to the meetings were essential for success. We then mocked up some scenes to show the director. Adjustments were made and then we were into full rehearsals in April. Our school choir was recorded professionally and all rehearsals were done to the play back music, so timing was obviously crucial!
However, the leadership team were absolutely committed to ensuring that the school’s values were clearly represented and that the school’s ethos shone through. We set this right from the outset with a mood board we created so that the director could see our vision. Words that jumped out of our mood board were; Happiness, Care, Engagement, Nurture, Support and Learning through Nature. I really feel the video and the production process clearly reflects all of these and we couldn’t be more delighted with the final product.
The whole process has been so positive. The staff and children have learnt that creating a film doesn’t come quickly or easily- there was approximately 7 takes for the Science experiment segment alone! It is a long process and perseverance is key. Children have definitely learnt that hard work pays off and that acting may not be as glamorous as they initially thought! They have also learnt that it can also be great fun at times as well as hard and sometimes frustrating work but importantly that everyone has skills and talents to bring and so with the engagement, nurture and support of excellent, inclusive teamwork we can make incredible achievements happen.
From initial production meetings to the school premiere in July we have relied on parent and staff volunteers and we are so grateful to them all for giving so freely of their time. Amazing things can happen when you have a talented, willing and generous school community, who put the children at the forefront of everything they do and everyone pulling together towards an aspirational, common goal. There wasn’t a dry eye in the school hall at the premiere performance!
I would strongly recommend a school video project to any other school; it is not only great fun but a legacy to last forever.
Questions for thought
- What would be a great area to focus on at your school/academy for a true Whole School project that brings children, parents, staff and governors all working together towards a common, aspirational goal?
- How can you find out about hidden skills and talents that are out there in your school community waiting to be discovered and used to positive effect on children’s learning and well-being?
- How can you promote the uniqueness of your school/academy in a way that really supports your vision and values?