Arts Award supporting mental health and wellbeing in schools
BY: Guest Writer
09 May 2023
We’re exploring the theme of mental health and wellbeing on the blog throughout May and to kick us off, Charlotte Jones a teacher and Arts Award adviser from Newminster Middle School, a Trinity Champion Centre in Northumberland, explains how this is at the heart of their arts offer…
We offer all pupils the opportunity to gain a Discover, Explore and Bronze Arts Award throughout their journey at Newminster Middle School. We love how accessible Arts Award is and how it inspires our students to pursue being creative with their talents.
The mental health and wellbeing of our pupils at Newminster is placed at the heart of all our arts offerings, and the Arts Award programme has become a key contributor in terms of the school’s core values. Whole child development is central, inspiring student personal development by broadening experience and supporting social, moral, spiritual and cultural learning.
The structure provided by the Arts Award framework helps our pupils to reference and examine the arts activities that are on offer at our school along with arts opportunities they have outside of school. They learn to set challenging goals, reflect on what went well and how they might have done things differently.
Singing plays a huge role in supporting the wellbeing of our pupils at Newminster and is used as a part of our Arts Award delivery. We use the Sing Up resources across the school during lessons and for assemblies. Pupils take part in the annual Sign2Sing event which raises deaf awareness and pupils learn to sign songs using British Sign Language and Makaton. They can carry this skill on with our extra-curricular sign-language club. Vocal lessons are offered through Music Partnership North (with support for our Pupil Premium pupils) and all pupils are invited to attend choir and musicals as extra-curricular sessions.
Along with Arts Award, choir and musical sessions, pupils at Newminster can take part in extra-curricular ensembles which include a jazz, percussion and ceilidh band, all of which support resilience. Through their participation in these activities there are many performance opportunities which boost pupils’ confidence and self-esteem. Through student voice opportunities, pupils are able to choose the musicals we do and influence decisions about the creative arts.
All pupils and staff have been engaged in whole school arts events such as the Sign2Sing, Platinum Jubilee celebration, Children in Need Art Show and Comic Relief full school Rock Choir. These events have been shared on social media, in local newspapers and some on local TV. Charity events provide an opportunity to talk about challenging issues in society more generally, some of which may be impacting the lives of students. Learning associated with these events helps to nurture empathy and respect.
Pupils in all year groups at Newminster experience the arts through ‘Health and Wellbeing Days’, ‘British Science Day’, ‘Remembrance Day’ and ‘Hopes and Dreams Day’, which included workshops with Mushroom Works, Dance City, The Baltic, Music Partnership North, Creative Circus, Sunderland and Newcastle Universities and Software City. These carousel days of events provide a chance for pupils to engage with adults other than the teaching staff, and support social and emotional learning and promote resilience.
Through these days, we offer many opportunities for students to take part in creative competitions, which this academic year have already included Remembrance Day posters for a local funeral director’s shop window, creative pumpkin designs, designing core value posters and Christmas performance ticket designs. Pupils’ entries are shared on our social media.
At Newminster we have an ethos and environment that promotes respect and values diversity. Pupils are able to use their Arts Award to document their creative journey, receive praise & recognition of their achievements and take pride in achieving the awards which all supports their mental health and wellbeing.
Image: Newminster Middle School by Geoff Love
Comments & Replies
BY: Guest Writer
BY: Alan Lynch