The Arts

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At Arnold House our ethos to deliver a breadth of experience and knowledge extends to our exciting provision for the Arts.

From playing the saxophone to performing Shakespeare our boys have the chance to do it all.

Spreading across the range of 'arts' subjects and the curriculum guides, we are proud of the wealth of opportunities that we are able to offer our boys during their time at Arnold House.

By encouraging and building confidence from the earliest age, our boys rapidly discover and develop their talents.

Art & Design

The overarching aim of the Art and Design department is to nurture an appreciation and enjoyment of the subject and to foster and promote creativity. 

Boys are taught a rich and broad based syllabus and are exposed to Art, Craft and Design from both traditional and contemporary makers, touching on Art History in each project and ensuring drawing in all of its many forms is integral to all that we do.

Art is taught across the school, with each class having a double lesson once a week in a specialist Art room. We are lucky to have a large light and bright space to work in and are extremely well resourced, with a kiln, screen printing facilities and a class set of high spec laptops with Adobe Photoshop. Boys explore a wide variety of materials and techniques during their time at Arnold House and will experience printing, digital design and ceramics alongside the more traditional mediums of drawing and painting.

Boys are encouraged to engage and explore contextual references as well as developing a personal style. They have their own sketchbooks for independent work and fortnightly homework (Yr 4-Yr 8) that consolidates and embeds class learning as well as giving further opportunity to create and draw.

We have a well-established enrichment programme where practising artists and designers visit the school to teach workshops and co-host exhibitions. We have regular ‘open studio’ events where boys and parents are encouraged to drop into the Art room to see work in progress alongside finished pieces. Boys in Year 6 are given the opportunity to collaborate with another department to produce an impressive cross-curricular exhibition. Recent collaborations include Art and Geography and Art and Music.


At Arnold House, Drama is embraced in both timetabled lessons and our extracurricular programme. 

Boys have timetabled Drama lessons in Years 1 to 6 where they are encouraged to engage in exploratory play and imaginative performance-making as they work both independently and collaboratively with their peers. The classroom environment is fun, fast-paced and interactive as the boys learn to work as part of a community whilst honing their own performance skills.

In Years 1 and 2 boys participate in the Harvest Festival with a poem and some songs where they also perform a nativity play at Christmas and a play in the summer term. 

In Years 3 and 4 boys get involved in characterization, where they explore, imagine and create different personas and also take part in an annual performance at Canons Park which incorporates acting and singing.  

In Year 5 and 6, boys further develop their acting skills through Drama lessons, workshops and plays that are more complex and demanding - in terms of the storyline and the characters that the boys need to assume.

Although Drama is no longer part of the curriculum in Year 7, boys have the opportunity to participate in the national Shakespeare Schools Festival where they perform a play in a professional theatre. 

The boys therefore conclude their school drama with the thrilling experience of acting in front of a full audience in a public theatre.


The overall aim of the music programme at Arnold House is to encourage and promote boys’ enjoyment of music making in a wide variety of contexts. 

Music here is taught as a dynamic, evolving and practical subject, geared to all abilities and enthusiasms. It helps to build our boys’ self-confidence and social skills and gives them tremendous satisfaction when performing and creating music as a key part of their life at Arnold House. 

All boys at Arnold House have class music lessons, in Years 1 and 2 the basic elements of music are introduced through singing, musical games and practical rhythm and pitch activities using percussion instruments. 

In Years 3 and 4, this experience is gradually built on with an introduction to some basic theory concepts (stave notation, simple note values), the instruments of the orchestra are also introduced to boys at this stage. 

In Years 5 and 6, boys study the history of Western music from the medieval period through to the present day where they gain an appreciation of how music has evolved through the centuries and become aware of developments in different musical styles and types of instruments. Music is also looked at within the context of broad cultural trends, particularly in the 20th and 21st centuries. 

In Years 7 and 8, boys have the opportunity to use music technology in the i-Music suite, a bank of nine networked Apple Mac computers meaning that boys can use Garage Band and Logic Pro for music production, recording, podcasting and other multimedia projects. 

In addition to class music lessons, there is a busy extra-curricular programme in the department with 20 different groups and ensembles rehearse each week, including chapel choir, senior orchestra, flute group, cello group, string quartet, rock group and jazz band – to name but a few!

Instrumental tuition is offered on a one-to-one basis in all the major instruments, and boys have the opportunity to perform regularly in assemblies, informal concerts and major musical events such as the Winter and Summer Concerts each year at Canons Park.