A Short History of The Playing Space
The Playing Space started life as Greenacre Drama Classes, set up by Gabi Maddocks in 2002. In 2008 Gabi’s husband Steven took over her classes while she was at home with their second baby. The following Spring they decided to join forces on a permanent basis. They relaunched the company as The Playing Space.
At first, they taught at The Playing Space and ran the company on a part-time basis. However, word was spreading, and by 2011 they had a full weekly programme of classes.
The next expansion was into birthday parties and school drama clubs. With an increasingly busy office, It was time to take on other teachers. Both Siobhan and Rebekah joined the team in 2011, running their own weekly classes. Abi, Holly and Jennie followed soon after, with Gina being the most recent addition to our core team when she joined two years ago.
The extra hands on deck gave Gabi time to start running teacher training seminars, which are attended by teachers all over the UK and beyond! Steven moved into professional presentation training and voice coaching. Between them they have also started publishing teacher resource books, which are 5* rated with positive reviews. They continue to teach classes and direct productions at The Playing Space when their schedules allow.
For everyone who works at The Playing Space, it is our own love of drama – and our own happy memories of the drama lessons we had when we were younger – that has brought us to this point.
The Playing Space has always had the development of real life skills at the core of its ethos. Some of these skills are obvious, such as confidence, communication, teamwork, and listening. Some are hidden deeper beneath the surface, such as empathy, initiative, perseverance and the courage to step out of comfort zones.
We’re clever at disguising all this wonderful education and training underneath all the fun that our students are having, but we have a sneaking suspicion that many of them realise that, as well as really enjoying their weekly lesson, they are also benefitting in lots of other ways.
Most importantly, we want every child in our groups to feel they belong. We achieve this by keeping group sizes small, and by gently challenging our students to step outside their comfort zones in a way they can manage, and without fear of being judged or criticised.
To sum up The Playing Space philosophy: we want our students to develop the confidence and skills to express themselves well by giving them a fun and safe environment in which to practise.
Bullying and Harassment Policy
Updated 23rd November 2018.
- What is Harassment?
We are an equal opportunities employer. This means that we will make good faith efforts to comply with the spirit and letter of the equality laws and other laws.
It is the policy of The Playing Space to provide a neutral and harmonious environment that is free from harassment and intimidation, where all employees, management, beneficiaries, volunteers and supporters are treated with dignity and respect. Bullying or harassment is unacceptable and will not be tolerated under any circumstances.
All employees, management, beneficiaries, volunteers and supporters of The Playing Space are expected to comply with this policy and not to behave in a way that humiliates, intimidates or undermines others.
The Playing Space is dedicated to ensuring that all participants and employees involved in our activities are treated and valued equally, regardless of sex, gender identity, ethnicity, religion, additional educational needs, disability, pregnancy or maternity, and sexual orientation.
Harassment is unwanted conduct related to the equality grounds which damages, or which is done with the aim of damaging, a person’s dignity or of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that person.
Many forms of misbehaviour may amount to harassment; examples include:
- physical conduct such as assaulting a person or making obscene gestures;
- verbal conduct such as making racist, sexist, sectarian or homophobic remarks; making derogatory comments about a person’s age or disability; or singing songs of this nature;
- visual or written material containing racist, sexist, sectarian, homophobic or other derogatory words or pictures (e.g. in posters, graffiti, letters or emails);
- isolating a person or refusing to co-operate or help them at work or by excluding them from work-related social activities;
- forcing a person to offer sexual favours or to take part in religious or political activities.
Bullying is similar to harassment in the sense that it too is offensive, hostile or oppressive behaviour. The main difference is that bullying behaviour need not be related to the equality grounds, but may be done for other reasons, such as jealousy or personal dislike, revenge or insecurity.
Harassment and bullying can damage the health, confidence, morale and performance of employees who are affected by it. Harassment is unlawful under the equality laws. Harassment and bullying may also be civil or criminal offences and may contravene health and safety law.
Quite apart from the legal implications, both harassment and bullying are contrary to the standards of behaviour that we expect of our employees. Both types of behaviour are unacceptable in our workplace and are not permitted or condoned. We will treat such behaviour as misconduct, which may warrant dismissal from employment.
Our employees have a right to work in a good and harmonious environment that is free from harassment and bullying and to complain about such behaviour should it occur.
We have established an internal grievance procedure to deal with such complaints and we would encourage aggrieved employees to use it. All complaints will be dealt with seriously, promptly and confidentially.
Employees who make complaints, and others who give evidence or information in connection with such complaints, will not be victimised (i.e. they will not be discriminated against, harassed or bullied in retaliation for their actions). Victimisation is also discrimination contrary to the equality laws and this policy. We will treat it as misconduct, which may warrant dismissal from employment.
All our employees must comply with this policy. They must treat each other with dignity and respect. They must not themselves commit any acts of harassment or bullying against any person, such as their co-workers, our job applicants or our customers. Such behaviour will not be permitted or condoned. We will treat it as misconduct, which may warrant dismissal from employment.
All our employees should discourage harassment and bullying by making it clear that they find such behaviour unacceptable and by supporting co-workers who suffer such treatment. Any employee who is aware of any incidence of harassment or bullying should alert a manager or supervisor to enable us to deal with it.
We will continually make good faith efforts to implement this policy. Managing Partner, Gabi Maddocks will carry out the main responsibility for this. But all employees have a responsibility to adhere to this policy on a day-to-day basis, especially in setting a good example for our students to follow, and to intervene where necessary to protect and reassure employees.
To implement this policy, we will:
- provide all partners and employees (including self-employed teachers and assistants) with a copy of this policy and explain it to them;
- provide appropriate training to partners and employees (including self-employed teachers and assistants);
- ensure that all complaints of harassment and bullying are dealt with promptly, seriously and confidentially and in accordance with our internal grievance procedure;
- set a good example by treating employees with fairness, dignity and respect;
- be alert to unacceptable behaviour and take appropriate action to stop it;
- monitor all incidents of harassment and bullying and review the effectiveness of this policy periodically.
The Playing Space welcomes suggestions and comments from parents and students, and takes seriously complaints and concerns they may raise. The following shows you how to use our complaints procedure.
A complaint will be treated as an expression of genuine dissatisfaction, which needs a response.
We wish to ensure that:
- parents wishing to make a complaint know how to do so;
- we respond to complaints within a reasonable time;
- we respond to complaints in a courteous and efficient way;
- parents realise that we listen and take complaints seriously;
- we take action where appropriate.
- In the first instance please address your concerns to the member of staff most closely concerned with the issue. Feel free to contact them by phone, letter, email or in person stating as clearly as possible what is troubling you.
- If another child is involved please do not approach them or their parents directly with your concerns, but allow us to mediate.
- We hope that the matter will be resolved quickly and that you will be satisfied with the response. If however you feel that your concern or suggestion has not been considered fully or fairly then you can make an official complaint to Gabrielle Maddocks, Artistic Director,
who is designated Complaints Co-ordinator.
- The Complaints Co-ordinator will discuss matters with you in private, to hear whatever matters you wish to draw to her attention, and to resolve the problem in a mutually satisfactory way.
- In the event that you are dissatisfied with the Complaints Co-ordinator decision, you may renew the complaint before the Administrative Director, Steven Maddocks, who will hear in private your grievance and make a fresh and independent decision upon your complaint.
- In the event that the complaint involves allegations against the Complaints Co-ordinator, the Complaints Co-ordinator shall direct that the renewed hearing of the complaint shall be heard before the Administrative Director who will hear in private your grievance and make
a fresh and independent decision upon your complaint.
- After Complaints have been heard by the Complaints Co-ordinator and/or the Administrative Director, the matter shall be considered closed and any decision made is final.
- If you are not satisfied with how your complaint has been handled, then please contact Ofsted on 0300 123 1231.