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Browse our library of FAQs about our speech & drama lessons…
Our speech and drama lessons consist of hundreds of fun games and activities that teach conversation skills, drama skills, positive body language, respecting ourselves and others, how to interact positively with peers and adults, public speaking skills, good manners, and how to harness creativity. Speech and drama lessons teach the skills that allow us to communicate, to be creative, and to have a grounded sense of self-confidence.
With respect to the question of whether speech and drama lessons are different than drama classes… we have written a whole blog article to answer that question, here!
No way! Everyone is welcome at Head Held High. It’s really important to us that all students feel welcome and comfortable, regardless of their level of previous speech & drama experience or interest. Our teachers are experts at reading the individual requirements within a group, and delivering lessons in ways that are engaging and challenging to all individuals’ skill levels.
We sure do! To book the venue and time that suits you for your no-obligation trial lesson, simply use our form on our enrolment page.
To us, our students having positive experiences in lessons is our top priority. It’s our belief that having a diverse range of personalities in a group is of benefit to everyone. Speech & drama group lessons are designed to be a shared and collective experience. As such, our teachers put a real focus on ensuring everyone (shy or not) works together, has fun and is accepting of their classmates.
No, we are not a speech therapy organisation. We are a speech and drama school. While there are some overlaps between how we develop confident communication, and how speech therapists help children with speech difficulties, the two disciplines are very distinct. Sadly, we are not the solution for speech challenges such as; articulation disorders, fluency disorders, voice disorders, or challenges understanding or putting words together to communicate ideas.
That being said, we do have numerous students who love speech and drama lessons while they see a speech therapist (separately) as well. If you would like to explore this option, please mention it in your enrolment for your free trial lesson, and we’ll give you a call to discuss 🙂
No, we are not an ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) school. We are a speech and drama school. While we don’t teach the English language, please see the next question regarding why our speech and drama lessons are excellent for students who are learning English 🙂
Yes. We welcome and encourage students whose first language is not English. Speech & drama lessons are a wonderful way for non-native English speakers to develop a love for their new language while practising it in a fun and safe environment. However, speech & drama lessons are language-focused so it is important to ensure that all students are in a group that they feel comfortable in. If your child or teenager has requirements around their confidence with English, please speak to us via email or on the phone and we’ll be happy to work with you to find a solution that works for you.
At Head Held High our goal is that all students feel welcome and at ease. If you know your child feels more comfortable due to a particular type of support in their learning environment, please make contact with us so we can discuss how to create the most supportive, happy and successful environment for her or him.
We currently give lessons in 18 venues, across Auckland and the North Shore. So, it’s highly likely you’ll have a Head Held High venue close to you. To check out a list of where we teach our lessons (both in-school, and after-school), click here.
Yes! Although stage performance isn’t a focus of speech and drama lessons, we know students love having a performance to work towards. At the end of Term 4, students perform an informal showcase that family and friends are all invited to. This is a chance for family and friends to get to witness the amazing standard of work that we get the privilege of being entertained with each week. It’s a wonderful opportunity for our students to perform in front of a live audience. We look forward to seeing you there!
Yes, and no. Speech & drama lessons do not traditionally build towards a big end of year show, in the way that you probably imagine drama/acting classes do. We do however, hold an informal ‘Showcase’ performance at the end of the year, at each of our 18 venues. Parents, grandparents and siblings are all invited to attend and they’re a great chance to see some of the incredible work the students have been doing in their Head Held High lessons during the year!
No, your child is free to come in school uniform or any casual clothes they feel comfortable in.
Absolutely! Every week we’re trusted by families across Auckland, with 600+ students attending our lessons. We take this responsibility as well as our responsibility to our 13 teachers, very seriously. As such we have a detailed Health & Safety plan which we update regularly, in association with People Safe – our Health & Safety strategy consultants.
Questions about face-to-face lessons
At Head Held High we encourage the vast majority of our Junior (Years 1 – 6) and Intermediate (Years 7 & 8) students to be a part of group, rather than have private lessons. We believe group lessons have so many incredible benefits for students. Commonly as teachers we see heightened interest from students in group lessons due to having more points of interaction within the class. We also see increased levels of confidence due to group lesson students regularly and consistently ‘performing’ pieces and activities in front of their classmates each and every week. Peer learning often helps to add an extra dimension of motivation to lessons as students have a tendency to want to ‘keep pace’ with each other. This is healthy when it is carefully and positively guided by teachers with a spirit of collaboration and constructive peer feedback, in a safe and encouraging environment. Group lessons also encourage students to be social, considerate, and cooperative – all key ingredients in developing social competence in young people.
1-on-1 (private) or 1-to-2 (pair) lessons promote greater time per lesson in which the student has the teacher’s undivided attention. This allows teachers to tweak the lesson plans to the individual’s or pair’s needs. There is also the added benefit that for children who have a need to work faster or slower than their peers, a private or pair lesson provides an easier environment to do so.
For the vast majority of our Junior (Years 1 – 6) and Intermediate (Years 7 & 8) students we believe that the balance of pros and cons is weighted so heavily in favour of group lessons that we allow these age groups to receive a maximum of their first two terms of lessons as private lessons before they must move into pair or group lessons. Of course there are exceptions to this rule however we grant them only in very special circumstances after careful consideration of what’s best for your child. Due to senior student (Years 9 – 13) speech & drama content and learning being much more individual by nature, private lessons are more common and encouraged in these age groups.
- Junior students (Years 1 – 6) = 30 mins.
- Intermediate students (Years 7 – 8) = 30 mins.
- Senior students (Years 9 – 13) = 45 mins.
All age groups receive one lesson per week. Compared to many other extra-curricular activities, our lessons are relatively short, and new parents to Head Held High will sometimes ask us about this. You will be amazed at what can be achieved in this time, due to a couple of factors. Namely, our teachers are incredibly organised and all teach to a very well-planned lesson structure. Additionally, with the small class-sizes that are a signature of our lessons, all students receive concentrated and individualised attention during each and every lesson.
Our term’s curriculums are written and designed on the premise that a minimum number of 8 weeks of lessons are guaranteed per term. Most commonly, school terms run for 9 or 10 weeks and we are happy to say that there is no extra charge to you in circumstances where your child receives 9 or 10 lessons in a term. All public holidays, teacher-only days, etc, have been accounted for in our fee structure so catch-up classes are not scheduled in these circumstances. Catch-up classes will be held in the rare event that a lesson is cancelled due to a reason caused by Head Held High and when that cancellation also means the students won’t receive the minimum of 8 lessons that term.
Our team holds some of New Zealand’s highest quality actors, public speakers and teachers with extensive experience teaching children and young adults. Our current and past teaching team includes a mix of actors who have featured on Shortland St, Auckward Love, Filthy Rich, Stepdave, Avatar 2, and The Brokenwood Mysteries, among others, and professional communicators who impress as TVNZ One News presenters, corporate communication trainers and primary and secondary school teachers. Many hold Trinity exam qualifications themselves, and some are qualified primary or secondary school teachers. They are all given ongoing training in Head Held High methodologies in order to become specialists at creating safe and supportive learning environments where students can be comfortable playing and experimenting while developing their speech and drama skills. You can visit the Teacher Profile section of our website for individual teacher bios. We inform you as to who your child’s teacher will be before your first lesson with us. All of our teachers undergo police background checks prior to beginning with us.
While it is our desire to keep teacher schedules consistent across all four school terms each year and we’re very successful at it, this is not always possible. Why? It’s our position that we only ever employ the very best teachers for our students. Due to the nature of the industry we’re in, the best teachers are also often working actors – who are offered roles and opportunities from time to time that conflict with their Head Held High teaching commitments. We have considered this at length over many years, and feel that on the balance of pros and cons it is better for our students that we continue to employ the best teachers (who also have other commitments from time to time) rather than lower-quality teachers who although they may have less outside commitments, are also less active and qualified in the industry. We are confident you understand and share this sentiment with us.
Head Held High teachers weave elements of physical expression and vocal work into curriculums, featuring as part of warm-up games and lesson exercises. Additionally, sometimes teachers or students may introduce music or songs to the group experience. However, singing and dancing are not disciplines that we place a teaching focus on, nor are they considered a core feature of speech & drama lessons in general. If your child’s predominant interests are singing and dancing then they may thrive in drama and/or musical theatre programmes.
Questions about online lessons
Convenience and flexibility are the most commonly quoted advantages of online lessons. Taking classes online is ideal for children and teenagers who live outside of the areas of Auckland where we provide our face-to-face lessons. Online Head Held High lessons give you access to some of the best speech and drama teachers in the country, from the comfort of your own home!
Group and/or pair work is often a part of online lessons, just as it is in our face-to-face lessons. Students are regularly grouped/paired together and asked to work together to play a game or accomplish an activity. By dividing students into small groups (versus entire class) we can encourage students to get to know each other better, achieve better engagement with another, and (most importantly) have the most FUN possible!
Online Head Held High speech and drama lessons are available to (New Zealand) Year 1 – 13 students. For overseas students, this equates to the first year of primary/elementary school, through to the final year of high school.
We deliver our lessons through Zoom, the online video platform for educators. After enrolling for your free trial lesson, we’ll give you full instructions about how to download and use Zoom for your lessons. It’s very intuitive and easy to use! You do not need any special equipment or technology, but should have an up-to-date web browser such as: Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Internet Explorer.
After enrolling for your free trial lesson, we’ll give you full instructions about how to download and use Zoom for your lessons. As a ‘Plan B’ in emergencies, our online lessons can be accessed on a mobile or tablet device, although we strongly encourage you to have access to a desktop or laptop computer for online lessons. Students tell us it is easiest to engage with their classmates and their teacher on a laptop or desktop computer, and to read discussion threads.
Our lessons are deliberately kept very small, at no more than 5 students, to better facilitate and encourage personalised interaction with the teacher and fellow classmates. Most of your child/teenager’s classmates will be from NZ, although we do have some students from Australia and Hong Kong – which we find contributes amazingly to a collective group experience of learning global perspectives and experience with people from other countries. All classmates quickly gain a shared passion for speech and drama!
Exactly the same length as our face-to-face lessons!
- Junior students (Years 1 – 6): 30 mins
- Intermediate students (Years 7 – 8): 30 mins
- Senior students (Years 9 – 13): 45 mins for group or pair lessons, 30 mins for private lessons.
- (All age groups receive one lesson per week).
Just like our face-to-face lessons, our online lessons take place during the 40 school weeks of the NZ school year. For exact term dates, please visit this page.
Our term curriculums are written and designed on the premise that a minimum number of 8 weeks of lessons are guaranteed per term. Most commonly, school terms run for 9 or 10 weeks and we are happy to say that there is no extra charge to you in circumstances where your child receives 9 or 10 lessons in a term. All public holidays, teacher-only days, etc, have been accounted for in our fee structure so catch-up classes are not scheduled in these circumstances. Catch-up classes will be held in the rare event that a lesson is cancelled due to a reason caused by Head Held High and when that cancellation also means the students won’t receive the minimum of 8 lessons that term.
For a full breakdown of our prices, the year groups that define Junior and Senior classes, and the relative merits of Group, Pair and Private classes, please click here to visit the pricing section on our website.
- Junior/Intermediate Group Classes • $ 220 per term
- Junior/Intermediate Pair Classes • $ 300 per term
- Senior Group Classes • $ 300 per term
- Senior Pair Classes • $ 410 per term
- Senior Private Classes • $ 410 per term
Please visit this page and click the ‘Enrol’ button at the bottom of the page.
Questions about enrolment & prices
- Junior Group Classes • $ 220 per term
- Junior Pair Classes • $ 300 per term
- Junior Private Classes • $ 410 per term
- Senior Group Classes • $ 300 per term
- Senior Pair Classes • $ 410 per term
- Senior Private Classes • $ 410 per term
For a full breakdown of our prices, the year groups that define Junior and Senior classes, and the relative merits of Group, Pair and Private speech and drama classes, please click here to visit the pricing section on our website.
Fees are charged on a ‘per term’ basis, and will be issued via email in either Week 2 or 3 of each term. They can be paid by internet banking or via credit card (instructions can always be found on Head Held High invoices).
All lesson fees are non-refundable except in the event that classes are cancelled or in exceptional circumstances (eg. bereavement or serious illness). Fees are based on the understanding that a minimum number of 8 weeks of lessons are guaranteed per term. All public holidays have been accounted for in our fees structure and curriculum, so no catch-up classes will be scheduled for classes falling on these dates. Note: There is no extra charge to you in circumstances where your child receives a 9 or 10 week term.
Enrolments for classes are rolled over each term unless notice of withdrawal is given prior to the beginning of the new term.
Yes. We offer a scholarship position to every one of our partner schools, to be taken up by a student each term whose family would not otherwise be in a position to enrol their child in Head Held High. This is very important to us. Additionally, it’s part of our company values that for every 400 paying Head Held High students, we offer 20 full scholarships to students at low-decile schools to receive our lessons. Yendarra School is the first school we’ve partnered with for the scholarship programme. You can read more about our partnership with the amazing Yendarra School, here.
We sure do! If any of our venues are full we put waitlists on them. You will be notified of this when you enquire if your first choice of lesson venue and time is full. Of course we’ll work with you to see if there’s an alternative venue and time that may suit you, but if that’s not possible we will place your child’s name on the waitlist. We draw from our waitlists regularly.
If during your enquiry (click here to enquire) it eventuates that all of the venues and times that suit you for lessons are full, our customer service managers will put you on a waitlist.
We monitor our waiting lists very closely and regularly, so you’ll be contacted by email as soon as a space in the lesson slots you’re waiting for becomes available.
No, we don’t allow students to enrol in lessons too far above or below the ages of their classmates. We believe there is too much value in students working and learning with their same age group. In keeping children with their immediate peers they connect through relatable concerns and issues, allowing them to best understand the way that themes are expressed by their classmates in speech & drama activities.
Yes. Students are welcome to join at any point throughout the year, and our teachers are specialists at making sure that new students learn the basics of speech and drama while also keeping up with more experienced students.
Questions about exams & qualifications
Towards the end of each calendar year, in addition to the skills being taught in our spoeech and drama lessons, Years 4 – 13 students are given the opportunity to select from a wide range of Trinity College of London, and Speech NZ exams. Whether or not students choose to participate in exams each year is completely voluntary. Roughly 50% of our students choose to each year. Specifically, the exams we offer to our students to work towards include:
- Speech and drama (grades 1 – Diploma)
- Acting skills (grades 1 – Diploma)
- Communications skills (grades 1 – Diploma)
- Acting in pairs (grades 1 – 8)
- Group and devised scripts (grades 1 – 8)
Over 9 years of teaching and several thousand students which we have guided towards Trinity and Speech NZ exams, we are extremely proud over our ‘Distinction Grade’ average (the top result range possible). It is important to note that this is achieved with a strong focus on care, fun, and minimisation of stress in lessons as we guide students towards exams.
Exams provide a structured framework to sequentially and progressively develop acting, performance and communication skills individually, in pairs and in groups. Trinity’s certificates and diplomas are internationally recognised, and Speech NZ qualifications are highly regarded within NZ. Being a part of the exam experience encourages students to explore their own free-choice of performance pieces, which allows them to express their own strengths, interests and passions.
All students in school years 4 – 13 are given the opportunity to enter exams at Head Held High.
- Speech & drama exams involve the performance of a range of texts, interpreting and analysing text and performance, and expressing these views coherently. The structure of speech and drama exams is intended to build students’ confidence and progressively develops the skills such as; Interpersonal Skills (relating to others in appropriate ways with ease, confidence and consideration), Expressive Speaking (Understanding a range of texts and performing them creatively and expressively), Practical Speaking (sharing information engagingly and confidently with peers), and Reflective Skills (exploring, considering and relating original thought to pieces of written English.
- Communication skills exams give students exposure to practical and creative challenges that are based on real-world situations. Students create, develop and communicate original ideas, expressing views and negotiating. For older students exams involve the preparation and delivery of a presentation. Students are encouraged to develop vital skills for the modern society, workplaces and social situations they are/will be a part of.
- Students pursuing Acting Skills qualifications take part in performance-based exams. This means they choose and receive coaching on performance pieces that suit their individual strengths and that match skills they themselves identify as interesting to develop. The performance-based exams are intended to give the flexibility to students you to focus on the areas where they themselves want to specialise.
- Solo exams. The student practices for their exam content individually, guided by their teacher. At exam time he/she will be in the exam room by him/herself and the grade and feedback they receive is attributable to the student solely.
- Pair exams. Two students practice the exam content in tandem, guided by their teacher. At exam time they will be in the exam room together but each student will still receive an individual mark and feedback. Each individual in the pair can possibly receive a very different grade from their partner.
- Group exams. Includes from X to Y (number) of students, and involves all students in the group practicing their exam content together, guided by their teacher. At exam time they will all be in the exam room together and will receive a team grade and feedback. Individualised grades and feedback are not given, which makes the group exam a truly collaborative experience.
Students will be asked by their Head Held High teacher in Term 2 if they foresee that they’ll wish to work towards an exam piece over the final third of the year. In our experience, the easiest way to decide what type of exam is best for your child is simply to ask him/her whether they’re most interested in an individual, pair or group experience. At the end of the day, it’s the student who needs to be fully enthused by, and engaged with the exam content and preparation.
This is completely dependent on the individual student’s level of competency and experience. Your child’s Head Held High teacher will recommend the exam grade that he or she feels is the right balance of challenge and attainability.
Questions about parental support
At this time, we don’t offer parent and child classes. We believe that when children and teenagers come into lessons independently from parents that it gives them a chance to develop self-confidence, to express themselves freely and to discover more about themselves.
We have written a whole blog article about how parents can best support students preparing for Trinity and/or Speech NZ examinations. The majority of those tips hold true during term time outside of exam preparation too.
Of course, if you ever want to ask more specific questions about your child’s progress, you can do so by writing to our Head Teacher – Erica Kroger – using our contact form. Erica is the leader of our teaching team, and an extremely experienced teacher herself. She’s on-hand to discuss your child’s progress should you have any questions.
We employ numerous methods of keeping you in-the-loop with what your child or teenager is learning and how they’re progressing in their Head Held High lessons. They include;
- Publishing regular social media video snippets of classes, in closed groups on our Head Held High Facebook and Head Held High Instagram. Like the channels to see updates.
- Sending reports home with all students at the end of Terms 2 & 4 each year.
- Holding end of year showcases of exam work for parents and family to attend (Term 4) each year.
- Exam reports for students who sit Trinity College of London or Speech NZ exams (end of Term 4) each year.
- Holding open classes for parents to attend (ends of Term 1 & 3) each year.
And of course, students’ progress can always be discussed via our contact form or phone with your child’s teacher or our Head Teacher – Erica Kroger.
We do not schedule large amounts of homework, although the requirements may step up slightly if your child chooses to enter into Trinity or Speech NZ exams at the end of the year. The most common homework is researching/writing/learning scripts or speeches. Perhaps the best way to think of how to do speech and drama homework is in a way similar to learning an instrument. We recommend students learn a little, every second or third day. As a rough guide, the below times are the suggested amount of Head Held High homework students will want to do each week:
- Junior students (Years 1 – 6): 20 mins
- Intermediate students (Years 7 – 8): 20 mins
- Senior students (Years 9 – 13): 40 mins
If you or your child are ever in doubt about what Head Held High homework is or how much should be being done, you are always welcome and encouraged to email your teacher.
Sometimes you might like to know a little more than you get from chats with your child about how they’re progressing in lessons. If this is the case then please always feel welcome to email your Head Held High teacher directly. Although the teacher may not be able to reply immediately, they will always get back to you within a reasonable time period. Additionally, for students doing Trinity or Speech NZ exams, the progression through the exam grades provides an excellent measure of where a student sits on a defined pathway through speech and drama skills, experiences and qualifications. Finally, we complete reports for ALL students twice yearly in review of Terms 1 & 3.