Founded in 2016, The Ellendel School of Speech and Drama is one of London’s leading independent schools offering speech and drama, creative writing and English tuition to students aged 4-18 years.
The school has numerous locations across South London (in Putney, Earlsfield, Wandsworth, Wimbledon and Beckenham) and now offers online classes for an international community.
Here Co-Founder and Principal Laura McHale tells MumAbroad more about what Ellendel has to offer and the benefits of studying Speech and Drama for young people.
Yes, I went to University in Dublin, Ireland and did a 4-year undergraduate degree in English and Theology qualifying with a Higher Diploma in Education. Following that, I completed a masters in Education from the same university. I moved to the UK in 2014 and began teaching English in a mixed secondary school. I now work as an English teacher in an all-girls secondary school and I am head of department responsible for GCSE English Literature and Language.
I set up Ellendel in 2016 and it has since grown from one small school in South East London to several across London and an Online school, with students joining weekly classes from all over the UK, Ireland, France, China, Dubai and India.
I started Speech and Drama when I was 5 years old and completed all 10 exams with the Leinster School of Speech and Drama. I completed my teaching diploma when I was 18 years old and recently completed the Licentiate Diploma in Speech and Drama. I truly believe that Speech and Drama classes are so important for young people and incredibly beneficial for developing important skills such as communication, confidence and public speaking. These are valuable skills for life, both personally and professionally.
At Ellendel we offer Speech and Drama classes, English Tuition and Creative Writing Classes. We prepare students for LAMDA examinations in Verse and Prose, Public Speaking, Reading for Performance and Solo Acting. Students can take these exams in person or remotely online. They are world-recognised exams and count towards UCAS points for university entrance.
We accept students from the age of 4 upwards.
In a typical Speech and Drama class students engage in various activities and exercises to develop their communication and performance skills. We also do a lot of reading aloud to improve reading fluency and work on vocal clarity and articulation. We plan our curriculum carefully to have a different focus each term. Teaching methods can vary, but they often involve a combination of practical exercises, feedback and guidance from fully qualified teachers. Specific approaches and techniques can differ based on the curriculum and goals of the programme.
Yes, we started online classes in 2020 during lockdown and they are now a huge part of our school. We are delighted with our global engagement which has allowed us to expand our community with students from all over the world coming together each week to interact and learn from one another. This global perspective enriches the educational experience. Students have the opportunity to participate in online speech and drama festivals and also to take LAMDA exams online which provides flexibility and accessibility for students to pursue their qualifications.
The online format is particularly beneficial for one-to-one LAMDA tuition, catering to the specific needs of older students who may prefer a more individualised approach. Online classes at Ellendel cover the same essential aspects as physical classes, ensuring that students receive a well-rounded education in Speech and Drama. Students are taught how to engage and present themselves effectively online which is a crucial skill in today’s digital world. Overall, online classes combine the advantages of global reach, flexibility, and modern presentation skills while maintaining the high standards of physical classes.
London, all over the UK, Ireland, France, India, Dubai and China.
Speech and drama lessons focus on developing communication, social and performance skills. Students learn techniques to improve their public speaking, vocal delivery and expression. These classes often involve activities like acting, improvisation and script analysis to build confidence and develop storytelling skills and stage presence. The goal of speech and drama lessons is to develop the whole person and help students become effective communicators in various settings, including public speaking and everyday life.
LAMDA exams help students develop strong communication skills, build confidence, and improve their performance abilities and their vocal delivery. The exam syllabi provide a structural framework for learning, ensuring that students cover a wide range of topics and skills in drama, speech and performance. The LAMDA qualifications are widely recognised and respected, which can benefit students pursuing careers in the arts or related fields.
They can also be used as UCAS points for universities. These exams encourage personal development by challenging individuals to express themselves, interpret texts, and engage with creative material. Students receive valuable feedback from experienced examiners, helping them identify areas for improvement and refine their skills.
Preparation is key. Thoroughly prepare your content. The more you know your material, the more confident you will feel. I always encourage my students to rehearse their speech or presentation multiple times. Practise in front of a mirror, record yourself, or present to a family member. Body language is very important. You should maintain good posture and eye contact. Use gestures that complement your words. Having confident body language can boost your self-esteem.
In lessons, we do a lot of breathing exercises which are very important when delivering a speech to an audience. Deep, slow breathing can also help to calm nerves. There are lots of things we work on in lessons in order to structure an engaging speech and the content you should include. The main thing I would say is that confidence in public speaking often comes with practice and experience. That is why Speech and Drama lessons from a young age are an excellent way to help develop confidence.
Ellendel is unique in many ways. Firstly, we offer an adaptive curriculum and are committed to staying up to date with current events. We continually adapt our curriculum to ensure students are exposed to relevant topics and can engage in meaningful discussions about the world around them. We offer a holistic approach and an emphasis on developing the “whole person” by developing students’ critical thinking skills. This approach goes beyond just teaching speech and drama and focuses on fostering well-rounded individuals who can think critically and engage in meaningful conversations.
Encouraging students to develop an appreciation for literature is a valuable aspect of education at Ellendel and helps students’ intellectual and cultural growth. All of our teachers are fully qualified and experienced meaning that the education provided is of the highest standard. I believe that these unique features highlight the school’s commitment to preparing students with skills that go beyond the classroom, making them informed, confident and well-rounded individuals.
Adaptive, Engaging, Holistic