Admissions for 2023 - 2024 school year are open

Julie Neish

Drama Teacher

I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Literature and Philosophy at Middlesex University and have been a qualified teacher for over 25 years now. Prior to starting at Park Community Academy in Lancashire, UK, I began my practice in a mainstream primary setting as a general classroom teacher, teaching across a range of age groups in all areas of the curriculum as well as key stage coordinator. After 5 rewarding years I decided to specialise in my primary passion of combining education with the creative arts and devoted myself to the teaching of drama.

Park Community Academy is a school which specialises in the education of pupils with special needs. I was recruited to a newly created position specifically to develop the role of the arts. There I worked as the drama and music teacher as well as the Director of Creative Arts and devoted myself to the creative education of all the pupils there. During 14 tremendously rewarding years the school transformed into a hub of outstanding practice. I was credited as being instrumental in the school gaining specialist status in the performing arts in 2010. All the pupils left school with accreditation in the arts and my work there was credited with the school gaining four successive Ofsted Outstanding judgements.

I have always had a passion for performance. Before I became a teacher I wrote and directed as well as performed in many original performances in drama groups that I ran for both children and adults in the local community. I continued this in school and wrote, directed and produced bi-annual school performances every year that the entire school participated in. I also produced a number of short films with the pupils, many of which were entered into local film festivals. As well as this ran the whole school choir who performed regularly at a local and regional level and entered annual music festivals for many years. This led to a number of awards and accolades and I was incredibly proud of my work there. In addition to this I was a dedicated member of the school brass band where pupils and staff together performed publicly over 30 concerts a year nationally and were always very much in demand.

My primary aim has always been to develop pupils’ interests and enthusiasm in the Performing Arts, always seeking to incorporate new ideas into my practice. I have a genuine enduring love and passion for my subject and many years of subject knowledge, experience and skills in making it accessible to all.

I believe that dramatic play and make believe is a natural part of children’s lives before they begin school and can really enable them to make sense of their own identity by exploring meaningful fictional situations that have parallels in the real world. Structured dramatic play encourages pupils to learn actively and interactively throughout the primary years and across the curriculum. This in turn helps them develop skills such as creativity, enquiry, communication, empathy, self-confidence, leadership and negotiation. Most importantly, drama activities are fun – making learning both enjoyable and memorable.

I am now relishing the opportunity of working with the Avenor team – teachers and students. I reached the stage in my career where I felt I was ready for a new challenge and have always wanted to work in a different country. I am very happy that in the years spent here I became fully immersed in both the life and community of the school as well as Romanian culture and landscape.