BUDDING bards have been treading the boards to help improve their understanding of Shakespeare.

Year six pupils from Mount Pleasant School, Darlington, spent a day at Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College to learn about the life and times of William Shakespeare and develop their English vocabulary skills.

The 18 students, aged ten and 11, were shown a video on Shakespearean theatre before taking part in their own drama workshops performing passages from the tragedy Hamlet.

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The pupils were invited into the college by course leader for A level English literature at QE, Julie Ashmore.

“Learning Shakespeare in school is not always considered fun,” said Julie, whose daughter Emily is a pupil at Mount Pleasant School. “I wanted them to experience his works in an enjoyable and interesting way.

“All of them have grasped the language really quickly which I’m sure will help them expand their vocabulary skills when it comes to sitting their SATs exams later this year.”

The visit was also an opportunity for pupils to take a tour of the sixth form college and see what it has to offer.

“There should be no limit to the aspirations that students have when it comes to their education,” said Julie.

The pupils were also given the chance to take part in a Shakespeare web quest in the college library and produce a PowerPoint on Shakespearean life.

Year 6 teacher Sam Geddis said: “This has been a wonderful opportunity for our students to learn more about Shakespeare while increasing their range of language skills which they can then put into their writing.

“We have talked to them about what they may like to do in the future and every one of them has said that they want to go on to further education and university.

“This visit, and one that we made to Darlington College earlier in the year, has given each of them a small taste of the options that may be available to them in the future.”

Pupil Sam Leftwich, ten, of Darlington added: “I really liked Hamlet and the scene where he talks to the ghost.

“We got to act out some of the play, learn about theatres in Shakespeare’s time and also have a look around the college.”