Adrian Blake and Mark Ferrington discuss reimagined training in a Covid era with The Stage


Earlier this month, Samantha Marsden from The Stage wrote a feature about how schools and colleges have managed to reimagine training for the Covid era. Heads of UK performing arts schools shared how they have combined online and in-person learning, as well as ensuring safety procedures are met in the building. Our Day School & Sixth Form Headteacher Adrian Blake and Director of ArtsEd Sixth Form Mark Ferrington both featured in the article, discussing the ways in which training has adapted at ArtsEd.

Adrian Blake discussed the practical ways in which the school has implemented safety measures:

“We remobilised for years 10 and 12 in July, having worked closely with health-and-safety specialists to open in the safest way possible.

“This important period enabled the team to ‘learn about learning’ in the Covid era, and informed how the full remobilisation would take shape: with enhanced deep-cleaning protocols, regular microbial fogging (an antibacterial mist that renders surfaces safe for weeks at a time), automated temperature checks on entry, high-vis signage and positive reinforcement to maintain social distancing.

“There are one-way systems, more than 40 hand-sanitation stations and a new school day model that means students travelling to and from ArtsEd avoid the rush-hour commuter crush on public transport. This also limits the contact between the student bubbles.

“In class, students wear visors for singing lessons, there are safety screens in one-to-one singing rooms and the hub where students go for learning support. Masks are worn in all communal areas and there have been daily reminders to students and weekly updates to parents that have meant that everyone has been singing from the same hymn sheet. A full curriculum has been in place since September 1, as well as a wide range of after-school classes and extra-curricular options for students from years 7 to 13.”

Meanwhile, Mark Ferrington discussed how Bubbles have worked during this time:

“In instances where individuals or groups are required to go home (if displaying symptoms or awaiting test results) we quickly switch to an extensive virtual curriculum, which includes all vocational lessons – singing, dance and drama. These lessons can successfully be run online alongside any academic A-level lessons students may be taking. The virtual curriculum is delivered via a combination of Google Classroom and Zoom.”

To read the article in full, please click here.