Arts Award in Scotland: Aberdeen Primary School Takeover
BY: Sarah Longfield
10 Oct 2016
In October 2016, a very special Arts Award project occurred.
It came about from a Discover & Explore adviser training session in Glasgow. The trainer was Sarah Longfield, and she expressed a desire to do an Arts Award Takeover in a primary school where the P1-P3 (equivalent of reception to Y2 in England) did their Discover, P4-P6 (Y3 – Y5) did their Explore and the P7s did Bronze. “I just need to find a school who is up for it!” she exclaimed. Luckily, musician, university lecturer and all round wonderwoman, Pauline Black was in the training session that day and said she’d find a school.
Within a month, Sarah was on the train to Aberdeen to meet the headteacher of Kaimhill Primary School.
With funding secured through See Think Make (a social enterprise and the Arts Award training, support and development agency in Scotland) from Awards for All and Time To Shine (Creative Scotland), the team, led by Sarah and Pauline, took over the school for the week. The theme for the week was ‘Jump in and run with it’, which was a useful mantra for both the young learners and the staff team.
Here’s some of the things they got up to:
- We brought in 5 local artists (hip hop, dance, theatre, traditional music) who ran workshops. Each class took part in at least 2 different workshops.
- We also brought in a Jazz Quintet and a Percussion Trio. Every learner watched a performance and got to have a try at playing the instruments.
- Pauline ran digital arts workshops with every class using different apps including Garageband, iMovie, Tellagami, DoInk and Book Creator.
- With the help of the fabulous Mr Rafferty (P7) we choreographed a flash mob dance which happened all over the school throughout the week.
- 120 learners achieved their Discover Arts Award, mostly in P1, P2 and P3
- 117 young people have completed their Explore Arts Award in P4, P5 and P6
- 36 young people achieved their Bronze in P7
- 3 teachers were trained as Arts Award advisers, complementing the trained team of Pauline, Jack and Sarah.
- The University of Aberdeen Education School evaluated the project
Teachers looked at the impact of the project:
“I think the biggest thing I did a lot more of during the week was using the iPads and just letting the children sort of run with it. They were in groups more… and again in terms of my IT knowledge and what they can do they’re a bit more confident to try things”
“Another thing is… I’m going to have a block of time, probably on a Friday, where we are just going to do something arts based… and not feeling guilty about it, not thinking I could have been spending that time doing more maths or I could have been spending all that time doing spelling for the 5th time this week. Just saying, you know what, expressive arts are just as important and we are going to spend an hour and a half doing music or art or something, just to make sure it is in there every week.”
They used Arts Award logbooks and SeeSaw for the portfolios. The use of SeeSaw brought an unexpected impact in that parents/carers could scan a QR code in the SeeSaw app and then view any photos or video that their child was tagged on. It provided a safe and effective digital link between home and school, which they continued to use after the project.
The project had a wider intention of providing inspiration and clear planning for other schools to do something similar. They shared all the lesson plans online, with links to the relevant Experiences & Outcomes on the Curriculum for Excellence, alongside hints and tips for creative digital evidencing. See Think Make also ran follow up CPD sessions for trained advisers across Scotland.
The last words though, should go to a couple of the young learners:
Arts Award in Takeover week: “I’d say it’s changed my life because I used to feel like art was just drawing. It’s so hard and it’s so fun and it takes so much time, I wish we could do this again.”
“Best. Week. Ever”