We’ve been working in partnership with Children’s University to support arts and cultural Learning Destinations to offer Arts Award alongside their education programmes. In this blog we find out how the summer pilot went.
What is Children’s University?
Children’s University (CU) aims to raise aspirations by promoting exciting learning opportunities and experiences outside normal school hours for children aged 5 to 14. Delivery areas are led by local CU managers who work alongside the national CU Trust. Every school holiday, areas run a series of challenges that can be completed at their local Learning Destinations, and throughout the year participants can gain stamps in their CU passport for activities completed, which count towards certificates. Delivery is often focussed on young people attending with their families, however a growing number of schools are signing up to the scheme, offering extra-curricular activities often alongside local cultural organisations.
How does this link to Arts Award?
Seeing the potential for Arts Award to be delivered alongside CU activities, we created a summer holiday challenge aligned with the Discover certificate, together with an A3 Discover arts log and supporting information. Centres in Kent and Oxfordshire were involved in our pilot, awarding participants four CU credits on completion of their Arts Award Discover certificate. This autumn, Kent and Essex Children’s Universities will be continuing to offer Discover in a Day opportunities as part of their October half term challenge.
How does this work in practice?
Little Artists is a CU Learning Destination in Kent offering after school and holiday clubs for young people. During its autumn holiday programme, members will be taking part in six different arts activities, meeting a local artist and inviting their parents to a local gallery to hear about their experiences. Tanya Foy who runs Little Artists says:
"We have regular children attending Little Artists, gaining learning credits in their CU passports. I trained as an Arts Award adviser this year because I wanted to be able to offer the children the next step by gaining Arts Award Discover or Explore. When speaking to parents about the opportunity to achieve both, they were over the moon! For me I feel the two schemes running alongside each other helps with my advertising and in gaining family interest."
Nucleus Arts is an organisation promoting the arts in Kent and Medway. It delivers Arts Award at a variety of levels and this summer began offering CU credits alongside its planned Discover in a day activities. Participants had the opportunity to meet a variety of resident artists whilst visiting their studios. Using the onsite gallery, more art styles and genres were discovered by the young people who were able to create their own artwork in a workshop. At the end of the day the group had a discussion reflecting on their experiences of the day at the arts centre. The work is assessed by the in-house Arts Award adviser alongside giving out CU passport stamps.
Charlotte Ralph, Enrichment Co-ordinator at Nucleus Arts told us:
"Combining Arts Award and Children’s University learning is so easy as they complement each other incredibly well. It enables CU participants to access Arts Award at the same time as achieving their own learning journey criteria. It also benefits us as the host organisation by promoting the learning programmes we have to offer to the families signed up to CU. There is honestly no downside to offering the two programmes together."
On hearing about the partnership between Arts Award and CU, Dragon Discoveries in Oxford decided to use this as an opportunity to pilot Arts Award Discover, making use of the A3 template arts log. The Discover in a Day activity linked to its open-air exhibition of Taiwanese art and invited participants to try Chinese calligraphy, bamboo weaving and traditional puppetry. The experience has inspired Dragon Discoveries to begin registering as a Children’s University Learning Destination, in order to offer CU credits alongside Arts Award.
Whether you’re an Arts Award centre already registered as a CU Learning Destination or interested in getting involved, there’s a handy webinar for advice on how to link the Children’s University offer with Arts Award.
Emma Jenkins, Manager of Kent Children’s University at The Education People recommends aligning both opportunities:
"When developing partnerships, it is vital for us to think about the skills and attributes that a young person needs in order to achieve in life. We are thrilled to be working with Arts Award to look at ways that our opportunities for young people can come together to maximise impact. We are hoping to make the arts and creativity a real focus for Kent Children’s University this academic year so children understand the impact arts, creativity, culture, heritage and digital opportunities can have on their wider attainment and achievement - and working with Arts Award is crucial in that development."
You can contact Julie Neville, Arts Award Associate for Formal Education for further information and support with planning.
We always love hearing from advisers and centres, so let us know if you’re combining the Arts Award and Children’s University offers by commenting below, emailing us or sharing your work on social media @artsaward.