The Arts

Visual Art

Our fundamental aim as Artist educators is to enable pupils with the skills they need to develop a visual language, which both allows them to express their own ideas and feelings, whilst at the same time, allowing them to interpret meaning and identify with the visual world around them at the highest level.

The Art Department has an open door policy at both lunch and after school, for students to come in and create work. We are keen to encourage students to express themselves through creativity and seek to support them with staff time and resources. On a Friday lunch there is a very popular photography club, for students in KS3 & 4. We are in the process of creating an online gallery of work.

Dance Club

This is a free extra-curricular activity. Students of all abilities are more than welcome and you need not have danced before.

Why Dance? Dance is a growing area of the Arts and Media. This club will help you to achieve essential skills while you personally grow in confidence. Studying disciplines of Dance allows skills of problem solving and creativity whilst increasing levels of fitness and self-belief.

Programme of Study – The aims of this club are to develop the individual’s knowledge, understanding and skills of Dance, through performance, composition and appreciation of their own and other peoples work including that of professionals. This club is currently taught by a qualified RAD, ISTD & BTDA affiliated teacher who has worked in the professional setting of performance and runs their own Performing Arts Academy.

The students must wear clothes that are easy to move in, bring a bottle of water and dance shoes if they have any. If they do not have dance shoes, then trainers or bare feet are recommended (the students cannot wear socks to dance in).

The aim for the dance club to prepare at least one number that will be performed at the school fete and any talent shows. Other performances will happen throughout the year, including a performance at the Jack Petchey Awards evening in the Civic Theatre.

Although there is not a selection process for the dance club, regular attendance is expected.

Some videos and photos can be found on the Dance Club VLE pages. The club runs every Tuesday after school until 4.30 p.m. in the Bosco Gym. However, please check the weekly PE extra-curricular sheet for updates.

Thank you to all those who have attended so far this year!


The Music Department provides curriculum music for all at Key Stage 3, as an option at Key Stage 4 and into the 6th Form. We also provide music lessons on the standard range of instruments and the school along with Essex Music Services will find teachers on more specialist instruments where necessary. There are currently 7 peripatetic staff teaching a variety of instruments and voice and students studying GCSE Music are given 15minutes free tuition on their main instrument to promote the development of the skills and requirements of the course.

A Music Department has a much wider role than is immediately apparent. By its nature music is an activity that can support many areas of the curriculum and the school community as a whole, providing entertainment for special occasions such as a prize-giving, as an integral part of worship and assemblies and as a major part of joint ventures such as school productions and services. Most importantly music can be a positive force in promoting and supporting the social, moral and spiritual ethos of the school and bring students teachers and parents together through performance.

The Music Department takes an active role in school productions and many students benefit from activities such as musicals and the Advent and Lent Services that combine verse, movement, drama and music.

Our view is that music is not exclusive and can be a part of all aspects of school life, therefore reaching more students of a wider age range. Students have the chance to sing or play for masses and services. This might be alongside their personal worship outside of school or provide a vehicle for witness that might not be so easily available at church. This reaches a wider audience, promoting the school ethos and supporting pastoral care. We also need leaders to develop personal skills of communication, high self-esteem, confidence and responsibility in younger students. Students are encouraged to prepare performances for assemblies or evening events.

Students also work closely with staff and 6th Form students in rehearsing for school shows. A musical provides opportunities in music, drama and dance. This gives students who cannot access these activities outside school a chance to develop their skills and confidence. Rehearsals can also give those who have more experience a chance to lead and direct.

A musical will explore many different characters and social and moral issues. For many students this can be a relief from their more academic studies although it must be stressed that music, drama and dance can all provide academic challenges at all levels depending on the context. All students of all abilities can take part and this ‘working together’ can only be positive and again support work in the classroom, especially for the less able who might have a superb voice or a natural talent to dance or act.

The school has tackled many shows of very different styles including Les Miserables, Oliver, Joseph, We Will Rock You, The Lion King and most recently High School Musical. We have also performed works written by local composers and the music department has provided music for plays. A recent performance was an original play both written and directed by one of our own students. Exploring the issues that are raised in these pieces through music and theatre broadens and supports the development of social, moral and spiritual qualities that enhance the school’s ethos.

Co Curricular Music timetable 2017-2018

The Music Department currently has regular choir rehearsals on Tuesday lunchtimes. The choir has performed in various venues including Chelmsford and Brentwood Cathedral and local hospices. It has assisted local choral groups, including a performance of John Rutter’s ‘Mass of the Children’. We sing music from all styles and support the school services with a variety of hymns and songs, both popular arrangements and standard choral pieces.

There is a school Band that is a mixture of woodwind, brass and string instruments with a rhythm section to represent a variety of styles. Therefore, the band could be preparing hymns for a service alongside a popular song or jazz piece or a piece from the standard classical repertoire.

Other groups are Brass, Junior Band (to feed the School Band), Junk Music Group (based on Stomp), and Samba. We are at present developing a string group to cater for our growing number of violin players. The Music Block also provides a space for other groups to prepare music and rehearse, such as rock groups that student form, liturgy groups, and smaller instrumental or vocal performances.

The Department is currently increasing the amount of Macs primarily to facilitate recording for GCSE and A Level. This also provides the opportunity for students to compose or record their own pieces or performances. Extra-curricular music is essential to a fully functioning department and provides opportunity for musical performance at all levels to support the moral, social and spiritual life of the school.

School Productions
At St John Payne we have a school production every year – usually alternating between a musical and a play – this means that everyone can get involved, no matter what your talent.

So many people are involved in our productions – teachers from all sorts of different departments, students from all year groups and even parents!

If your talent is not acting, you don’t have to be on the stage – there are always plenty of things for people to do backstage with scenery, sound and light, makeup and costume design.

Our most recent productions have included:
2018 – High School Musical (Disney musical brought to life on the stage – complete with basketballs, science and romance)
2017 – Spies, Jewels and Platform Shoes (an original play written by Charlotte Rushton, our Head Girl – a spy comedy caper!)
2016 – The Lion King Jnr. (everyone’s favourite musical complete with fantastic costumes transporting the audience to the African Plains)
2015 – Dracula: The Final Countdown (a comedy spoof of the classic Dracula story – where the original vampire was defeated by…a spoon?)
2014 – We Will Rock You (a futuristic musical set to the music of Queen – in a world where individualism and rock music is banned, who can save the day from the Killer Queen?)
2013 – Five Americans, Three Murders and a Poisoning (a murder mystery set in the 1920s – a family drama filled with twists and turns)
2012 – The Wizard of Oz (the classic musical of a girl who gets whisked away to a magical land and finds that there really is no place like home…)

We welcome everyone, Year 7 up to Sixth Form, to be a part of our school show, no matter what your talent is. The main thing about the productions is everyone has great fun and makes a whole set of new friends across the whole school. Every year we try something different and every year we see new faces joining as well as the students who come back time after time to be a part of the experience.

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