Arts Award Bronze: Thinking outside the box
BY: Guest Writer
24 Jan 2022
On the blog this week we hear from Lucy Worthington, drama teacher and Arts Award adviser at Rossendale School in Bury, Lancashire who shares with us some creative ideas for delivering Bronze Arts Award…
Rossendale School is a small SEN provision set in the beautiful hills of Bury. It has always been my passion to teach drama because I firmly believe that it helps to build self-confidence and self-belief in young people and for SEN students in particular it offers an alternative way of teaching the curriculum following a far more practical pathway. When I first began working at Rossendale there weren’t many vocational options or art subjects to help the students express themselves and explore. There was a need for students to learn valuable independent and social skills and for the staff team to support students’ communication skills through a variety of practical activities such as workshops, role play drama and creating art work. This led us to start delivering Arts Award to support students’ development within these areas.
We now deliver Bronze Arts Award as a Key Stage 4 timetabled option lesson over two years, to support our young people to learn in a more practical way and allow them to express themselves through the arts.
Our young people complete Part C of Bronze first and for this they create a small project around their chosen arts inspiration. What particularly works well in this section is gathering the research and then asking the students to create a pretend ‘Facebook profile’ for their chosen inspiration. Another approach to this section that really engages the students is creating a biography of their chosen inspiration through a piece of art they’ve created. For example, presenting a biography on a top hat when their arts inspiration was the ring master of a circus!
We then move onto Parts A and B where the young people participate in a variety of arts activities. They have had the opportunity to create their own special effects make-up, which is always a fun lesson and supports young people to further understand a wide variety of other art forms.
They also review a performance of Blood Brothers and have the opportunity to learn about what helps shape a show like this.
Our young people finish their Bronze journey with their arts skills share for Part D, where each student is supported to pass on their skills to their classmates. This is documented through photos and video.
Arts Award supporting growth
Arts Award has supported Rossendale School to expand their vocational pathway and support our students to learn in a more practical way, enabling them to build on their confidence, self-esteem, communication, independence and leadership skills.
The difference I have seen in young people from the beginning of their Arts Award journey to completion is an honour and a privilege. They not only develop skills, they learn to express themselves and start to understand who they are as people. This is my favourite part of delivering Arts Award because you see a student grow and it’s just magical.
Some challenges I faced were around adapting the delivery of Arts Award during the pandemic given our approach to learning at Rossendale School. This was tricky to overcome, however with the use of technology and Zoom we were still able to deliver and set various practical tasks to complete whilst at home. An example of one of these was asking the young people to create a script including five objects they found around the house, which they really enjoyed.
My top tips for delivering Arts Award are to always allow the journey to be unique to the individual and for it to be an opportunity where the student can explore and express themselves by directly connecting with the arts.
When delivering the different parts of Bronze, I have always found it easier to complete the research tasks (Part C) first so we can then focus on the practical elements for the rest of the year. My top tip is that you can complete the parts of Bronze in a different order; in a way that works best for you and your young people.
Comments & Replies
BY: Alan Lynch
BY: Annabel Thomas