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Shaping Success:Sports and Performing Arts Pathways at King’s Magna

Head of King’s Magna Middle School (KM), Mr. Joseph Birchall, tells Excelle how his school offers specific routes for those passionate about sports or the arts.

A general education at KM is about experimenting and learning through experiences, trying new things, and discovering what you enjoy and excel at. But for those students who already know what they are most passionate about or where their strengths lie, we have specific pathways for them which hone those skills and prepare them for the next steps in their education and careers.

Our two ‘pathways to success’ are the Performance Sport Pathway and the Academy for Dramatic Arts (ADA) Pathway which enthusiastic students can choose from Year 7 upwards. Each pathway consists of extra tuition and specialist support whilst allowing plenty of time to complete a well-rounded education through our standard curriculum.

Performance Sports Pathway

Our Performance Sports Pathway (PSP) is available for energetic players of basketball, cricket, football, netball and swimming. The programme allows our students to benefit from additional expert coaching to enhance the level of their skills and provides them with the opportunity to compete at a higher level, locally and nationally. Throughout the programmes, students are taught responsibility, resilience and leadership skills, and are challenged to achieve at the highest level consistently.

Starting in KM and progressing through to Queen Ethelburga’s (QE) Faculty college for Years 10-13, students are led by a professional team of coaches who create Individual Development Plans (IDPs) for each pathway student, with age-based strength and conditioning programmes. Each students’ programme follows a unique scheme of work including the latest tactical, technical, physical and mental training. They are designed with a focus on individual talent development and present opportunities for students to develop their skills right through to UK and international competition.

Under the tutelage of high-level coaches, most of whom had careers as professional athletes, students make use of video analysis tools appropriate to professional sport, sports massage and physiotherapy sessions and ongoing nutritional guidance. Once in QE Faculty, guidance on career and education progression or possible trials and contracts is provided so that the most gifted students can follow in the footsteps of various QE alumni who have progressed into playing for professional sport teams.

The PSP takes place in our dedicated Sports Village on campus, which benefits from a 25-metre swimming pool, triple court sports hall, gym and specialist studios. Outside, there is a four-lane synthetic cushioned running track and over 30 acres of professional grass and 3G artificial pitches, which are used in the summer holidays by Premier League U18 teams.

Academy for Dramatic Arts (ADA) Pathway

Students who enjoy performing arts can undertake our Academic of Dramatic Arts (ADA) Performing Arts Pathway where students improve their skills in acting, musical theatre, comedy, stage combat, and a variety of dance styles. Lessons are taught by specialist performing art teachers, most of whom are also professionals, and are complemented by visiting workshops in performing arts.

Throughout their time in KM, pupils can partake in a wide range of performing arts lessons and co-curricular activities including LAMDA lessons as well dance, drama and music clubs and ensembles. Students can get involved in the school productions and can perform at annual events including the QE Gym and Dance Display, the QE Dance and Drama Festival, the Verse-Us Choir Competition and the QE Speech Day to audiences of over 300 people.

The ADA pathway comes with extra support for auditions and for progression both into our senior schools, QE College or QE Faculty and beyond. Many of our students progress through the pathway into prestigious performing arts schools, with one alumni playing a main role in Poldark. On Saturday afternoons, our onsite 312-seat professional venue, King’s Theatre, hosts the Senior King’s Academy of Performing Arts group who work towards an additional full-length production. In addition, there are plenty of whole school performing arts projects to be a part of including the recent hit song, ‘Feels Like Home’, that featured vocals and lyrics from KM students.

Gifted pupils can showcase their talents in school assemblies and can enter local and national competitions in a variety of performing arts disciplines. In 2023, KM celebrated winning the ISA Music Band Competition for Middle Schools. Across the Collegiate we also celebrated winning the ISA Shakespeare Monologue competition, one ISA Musician of the Year Award as well as a further Runner Up and Highly Commended in the ISA Musician of the Year category. In addition, QE had two Finalists in the ISA Musical Theatre category..

Set in 220 acres of stunning countryside between Harrogate and York, KM bridges the gap between primary school and GCSEs for girls and boys in Years 6-9.

Contact us

To learn more about King’s Magna and Queen Ethelburga’s, visit or book a place on our next open mornings on 27th January. Alternatively, email or phone 01423 333333 to book a private tour.

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