PEFORMING arts are changing the lives of students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) at Burnt Mill Academy, Harlow.
Ben Eva, a drama teacher and SENDCo, who believes SEND children are superheroes, is helping students reach their potential by removing barriers so they can succeed in school life. Children who often find school challenging, are flourishing when it comes to drama, music and dance.
He said: “Children who are disadvantaged because of a disability should not be limited in their capability of achieving greatness. We use performing arts in a variety of ways, through performance or independent work to build up social skills, in rehearsals or by learning an instrument. We see improved attention and increased engagement in school as a result.”
Dilys Cook, a year eight student who suffers from anxiety, took the lead role in the school’s pantomime. On stage, her anxiety disappears. Because of that she is now a performing arts lead, attends drama club and sings in the choir.
Mr Eva went on to say: “They find something they are praised for and a place they belong. It reduces social anxiety and builds resilience, self-regulation, motivation and independence. It’s about small steps and looking at the journey from year seven to year 11.”