Big School - Room to Grow

Big School - Room to Grow

Big School 2016

During the Summer term 2016, over 1,500 pupils from 30 Coventry and Warwickshire primary schools were given the opportunity to participate in Big School. Big School has been running since 1998 and is the Belgrade’s annual Theatre in Education (TiE) production which explores the issue of transition from Primary to Secondary school.

This participatory production helps Year 6 pupils to consider the challenges they may face when moving from being the oldest year group in a school, to being the youngest in a large, unfamiliar space, with new teachers, new friends, new subjects and a daunting new building to navigate. It will support them to address their fears and manage this significant change in their lives.

Justine Themen, Belgrade Theatre Associate Director on Big School:

‘Work on transition is often about telling children what they need to expect when they make the step up to secondary school. Projects such as Big School are about giving young people the opportunity to explore the challenges that they many encounter and come up with their own ideas as to how to meet those challenges. Grown-ups can sometimes forget that children are dealing with change all the time and are often very resourceful. We need to support children to access the resourcefulness within themselves at this important time in their lives. The Big School project is an integral part of our Community & Education programme and we are very proud to have helped many thousands of local young children with the difficult transition. In an age where government education funds are being given directly to individual schools and taking into account the increased marginalization of drama within the national curriculum, the future of Big School is by no means a certain one. Because of the way in which the allocation of funding to schools has changed, supporting a dedicated TiE project of this scale is becoming increasingly difficult. The transition from primary to secondary school can be a tremendously challenging time in the life of a child and if it doesn’t go well, can have a lasting impact of a child’s achievement and well-being’.

Big School 2016 was directed by Justine Themen with support from Claire Procter (Co-director). This year’s programme of interactive drama sessions was delivered by actor-teachers Leon Phillips and Kim Hackleman.

If you would like further information on the Big School Project or wish to book the current tour, please contact Charles Ingram the Community & Education Administrator on 02476 846 737 or