Arts Award supporting the progression route from first school to high school

Arts Award supporting the progression route from first school to high school

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BY: Guest Writer
10 Jul 2023

Continuing our Arts in the Community theme this month, we hear from teacher and Arts Award adviser Charlotte Jones from Newminster Middle School, a Trinity Champion Centre in Morpeth, Northumberland. She shares with us how they use Arts Award together with their wider arts offer to enhance their bridging role between the first schools and also the high school in their local area.


We offer all pupils the opportunity to gain a Discover, Explore or 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. 

Students at Newminster are given numerous and varied creative arts opportunities and experiences. Some experiences involve the whole school community, and some involve smaller groups of students, but all activities are open to everyone in our fully inclusive school. Pupils who have opted to do an Arts Award are able to use all of their arts experiences, both in and out of school, as part of the award and for our pupils in year 5 this extends to creative projects carried out at their first schools. 

Through our bridging role between the first schools and the local high school we are building ever stronger partnerships to provide a clear progression through the creative arts for our pupils, which includes continuing their Arts Award journey started at feeder schools. This year we have planned a Morpeth Partnership event, bringing all Morpeth schools together for our ‘One Big Performance'. This event will highlight the outstanding musical activities taking place across the Partnership with the aim of showing how music and the arts are fundamental to a young person's educational journey. The day, which will include workshops, singing, a musical quiz and ceilidh, will provide an opportunity to share a love of music, enthuse and inspire young people, create musical role models and strengthen school & community partnerships. 


Trinity 0682Last year we staged a performance of the ‘The Lion King’ musical which brought together the Arts Award groups and our Costume Design group with pupils from the high school to bring the performance to life. The high school production team came to support and train our pupils in sound and lighting engineering. The Bronze Visual Arts Award group created props, designed and painted the backdrop, and the Costume Design group made the main characters’ costumes and masks, along with creating headdresses, sashes and skirts using African patterned material.


We are currently working on our production of ‘Matilda the Musical’ which will have two past pupils - currently training in musical performance in further education - in the cast, who will also provide workshops for the pupils in the show. 


The local community came together to support the Morpeth high school pupils’ performance of ‘Annie the Musical.’ We took the Bronze Arts Award group to watch it as part of their award, and it was lovely to see our past pupils progressing in the arts. Pupils from this cast then came down and supported our production of ‘The Lion King,’ providing motivational role models for our students.


Our specialist staff team (which includes volunteers from the local community) of working musicians and artists continues to produce exceptional results and inspirational role models for our students. Over 50% of pupils are currently learning instruments through our peripatetic teachers. These instrumental opportunities are offered to all, with Pupil Premium money and grants being used to support or fund lessons where appropriate. Music teachers and art teachers provide workshops and demonstrations for pupils in their chosen specialities to encourage uptake of lessons along with giving pupils the chance to observe instruments being played by musicians in person.


Arts events open to the community are always publicised via the school bulletin, website, Twitter and Facebook, and articles about the creative arts events are regularly seen in the local paper.


The creative arts at Newminster Middle School nourishes and enriches the life of our school, drawing strength from its rich, supportive networks, and in turn we aim to share the joy of pupils’ creativity and performance with our local community.


Images: Newminster Middle School by Geoff Love

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