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Mrs Izard's blog - Bravery, not perfectionism: The importance of risk-taking and trying new things

For both teacher and pupil, the role of risk-taker and the nurturing of new skills is important to continued success. As a school, Gateway aims to develop pupils who are risk-takers and actively encourages them to try new things. This means guiding them to explore new ideas and innovative strategies, challenging their ways of thinking and encouraging them to be confident in those decisions. This lifelong skill requires children to push themselves to try new things, step out of their comfort zone, knowing that learning is sometimes uncomfortable, and become courageous in their choices and actions. A brilliant example of this was demonstrated by pupils from Years 5 and 6 last Thursday afternoon, when two teams took part in the National Science Quiz. Each year, this quiz engages, motivates and inspires year 5 & 6 children, encouraging them to explore science in a fascinating, engrossing and educational way. The Championship reinforces teamwork, boosts confidence, encourages strategic thinking and lights the fire for knowledge. Congratulations to the two teams, who came second and fifth.

The Performing Arts play a hugely significant role in helping children develop their creativity at Gateway, and on Tuesday evening, 25 brave musicians performed solo and ensemble pieces at our Music Tea. For a few, this was their very first experience of playing or singing in front of an audience - it was both exciting and terrifying at the same time! However, the informal setting and appreciative audience did much to conquer the nerves and I look forward to hearing these children in the future, as they continue on their musical journey. Bravo to all who took part.

Over the past half term, every child from Preschool to Year 4 has been preparing for their Christmas production, always an exciting highlight of the school year. Productions such as these provide a wonderful opportunity for all children to ‘have a go’ regardless of their ability. For some, this has been a totally new experience and brand new skills have been learnt; for others a time to showcase their talents. It always amazes me how, in such a short period of time, so many lines, songs, movements and dances are learnt and then performed with great panache and confidence. However, there is much more educational value to these performances than meets the eye. Performance is a way for pupils to gain a stronger and more lasting sense of both self-confidence and self-esteem. 

As Lin Marsh, a singing leader with the British World Voice Programme reported recently, 

‘By communicating freely with the voice, face, and body, children learn to express ideas with confidence, empathise with others from different cultures and backgrounds, and feel at home in their own skin. Song, music and dance can help children become more imaginative, self-aware and collaborative global citizens’. 

The Senior Carol Concert is one of my favourite events of the year. This year I have taken a personal risk and chosen some particularly challenging 2 and 3 part repertoire for Senior Choir and Chamber Choir, despite the fact that many of the members have never sung in a choir before. The children have worked really hard in rehearsals and I am confident that their performances will make us all incredibly proud next Wednesday evening. To hear the appreciation of an applauding audience all around them, is a wonderful affirmation of hard work and perseverance.

I look forward to seeing you at the Carol service on Wednesday evening and wish you a good weekend.

Rebecca Izard
Head of Staff/ Head of Creative Arts

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Gateway Pupil in music lesson