Education and engagement in the arts are a vital part of the school curriculum and play an important role in students’ academic and social development.
Through creating, making, designing, exploring and experimenting, students develop their creative thought processes, learn to ‘think outside the box,’ risk take and develop their critical thinking skills and ability to communicate and present their ideas and opinions both visually and verbally. The arts help to break down barriers and foster intellect and community across the globe and can be a platform for expression for one’s ideas. In Thailand and across Asia, Bromsgrove International School Thailand is working tirelessly to raise the profile and importance of ‘the arts’ as we recognize that students require a curriculum of breadth, encompassing traditional subjects as well as creative opportunities. There are many different views about the importance of studying subjects within ‘the arts.’ It is apparent that in some educational institutions at present, there is still greater emphasis on core academic choices. Whilst being in no doubt that these are of great importance, a growing number of universities and employers look for more than simply academics when recruiting and at how balanced their creative and academic skill set is. At Bromsgrove, we aim to nurture this and the students who leave are school are well-rounded, globally-minded citizens.
We are justifiably proud of our outstanding arts facilities: our Performing Arts Centre, with its 550-seater auditorium opened in 2015 has meant that we have been able to host both internal and external professional is also taught within this state of the art building and it has grown from strength to strength, both inside and outside of the classroom. Curriculum music and extracurricular music together form the basis of an integrated, practical, exploratory and child-led approach to musical learning. In 2016, the ‘Hadley Art building’ also opened at Bromsgrove, providing a state of the art facility to our students and staff with wonderful light and space to showcase their talents. We are also proud to be members of both FOBISIA and TISAC and have enjoyed leading and participating in a number of events. The FOBISIA Drama Festival has become a successful and fundamental event within the FOBISIA calendar and its increase in participation from schools across Asia has been wonderful. We were lucky enough to be the host of this event in March 2017 and welcomed over 150 students to the school from other schools across the region. When planning our curriculum, we have been careful to balance our arts provision with the need for academic rigour. Students in Key Stage 3 benefit from Drama, Music and Art lessons, allowing all students to gain a breadth and appreciation of all areas of the arts. In key stage 4, we have a discrete art option block so all our students are guaranteed to study one of art, drama, music or media to GCSE level, thus providing them with wider opportunities for future careers.
We also believe strongly in the value of experience outside of the classroom for students in terms of a well-rounded arts education. Many young artists, dramatists and musicians take advantage of our excellent facilities, using lunchtimes and after school to work independently or in groups. This dedication and passion has become ever more evident as the status of the arts has grown at school.
Our extracurricular programme includes art clubs, manga drawing, arts and crafts, set design, school drama productions, school musical productions, drama clubs, three choirs, orchestras, a rock school; all promoting the importance of high quality performance and skill, commitment and resilience to an ever-growing number of students. Our set design is linked to the school production, and students who participate have to put their artistic skills into practice; designing, building and painting sets and props. This gives an insight into one example of how art is used in a real-world context. We also have the Bromsgrove Music Academy; our instrumental lessons programme which allows for one-to-one lessons on a range of instruments, delivered weekly by a team of specialist teachers. The opportunity to pursue the ABRSM graded exams is offered, should students wish to take this route.
We also host an annual celebratory Art Exhibition which showcases our students’ work across all ages and abilities. At Bromsgrove International School Thailand, we firmly believe that the arts are integral to our global society, and as BIST has such an international population, it is important for the students to be able to explore their own and others’ cultures, ideas and global issues, both visually and practically through their education.