When we say ‘Glee Club’ we’re not necessarily talking about those super talented, all singing, all dancing, all in sync American teenagers on the hit TV show. We know that in most schools, finding 30 misfits with spectacular voices is pretty unrealistic and that the sheer cheesiness of blasting out a Britney Spears number won’t appeal to your average 15 year old.

But the concept of a club where artistic students can let loose, indulge in a little performance and make friends is a different thing entirely. This is the type of club that children from primary level through to sixth form are increasingly embracing in UK schools.

From full-on pull-no-punches Glee Clubs (complete with Don’t Stop Believin’ renditions) to more toned down music clubs, expanding your extra-curricular offering can help classmate cohesion, give your students something great to put on their CV and boost confidence.

Now where to start?

Assign your staff

Chances are a Music or Drama Teacher/Teaching Assistant will have the skills and resources to arrange a club, but really an arts club can be initiated by anyone in the school – staff member or student.

Once you’ve established a time, date and meeting point, get your advertising in order. In a small-medium sized school this can be as simple as putting up posters, advertising in school newsletters and verbally inviting students during lessons. You might also consider getting an advocate – if you have students who are heavily involved in music or drama, speak to them first and let them know you value their suggestions.

In a larger school, consider advertising on your online blackboard for a cost effective way to reach all staff and students.

If a student approaches you looking to set up a club then be supportive – even if practical issues mean that they can’t practice in a dance/drama studio after school, try to work out a time when they can use the space during lunch hours.

Get your resources even with a limited budget

If your teaching subject isn’t performing arts or music, then the idea of coordinating a singing/dancing group can be daunting. There are a number of online resources that have cropped up with the Glee movement and they’re usually fairly inexpensive.

Sing Up is aimed at primary school children and allows schools to become members for a small fee. Training (and online training) is available for members, and teachers can download their own music playlists. From backing tracks to sheet music, every song in the playlist is designed to appeal to younger audiences and existing members can vote for songs that have gone down particularly well.

For secondary school children, Blast from the BBC is a very useful resource with how-to videos, tips from DJs and songwriters and advice on how to break into writing and comedy. There’s even a video dedicated to perfecting your beatboxing! Of course, it’s always worth asking students if they have anything to contribute, as helping nourish a young persons’ interest in music/dance/drama is beneficial to them and helps to minimise any costs associated with purchasing resources.

Engage parents

We’re sure most P.E. teachers will have heard of the NHS’s Change 4 Life initiative, and if you’ve explored the website then you’ll have seen the wide range of resources available. From healthy eating plans to exercise ideas and downloadable worksheets, Change 4 Life is all about incorporating fitness into family life. From the website you can download a letter template for parents and appeal to the fitness benefits of setting up a more physically active club.

Of course, if your group is more about singing and acting, then you can appeal to parents who feel this would improve their child’s confidence. It isn’t about preaching, but explaining the benefits to students and their parents is a great way to garner support for your club.

For any technical stage queries, stage lighting advice or sound tips, please get in touch with our team at PG Stage. Specialising in school and college stage design, we can help manage the construction side, while you focus on enhancing your curriculum.

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