Arts Award transforming lives

Arts Award transforming lives

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BY: Guest Writer
21 Mar 2022

We love to hear how taking part in Arts Award has benefitted the young people you work with. Mark Harrington, the Lead of Creative Arts at Manor Green College - a Trinity Champion Centre based in Crawley - tells us how their delivery of Bronze Arts Award has been life-changing for many of their students.

Success and opportunity for all is our school motto and this also informs what we strive for when delivering Arts Award. We are a SEND school based in West Sussex and we work with students aged 11-19 who have moderate to profound learning difficulties.

The beauty of Arts Award is that it enables us to adapt to each student's way of working; we are able to meet their individual needs, understand their specific interests while allowing them to work at their own pace of learning. This is immensely rewarding for our students; it gives them ownership over their work and they then take so much pride in being creative.

Opening doors

We have been delivering Arts Award for over 4 years from Discover up to Bronze level. We first discovered the scheme after struggling to find a suitable means of recognising the hard work our students do within the arts when they are not able to access arts GCSEs. Arts Award ultimately opens many doors for our students that had been firmly shut for a long time, and it has given our less academic students a chance to flourish.

Poster image for Play Virtual Live RealOur pupils have had many exciting opportunities and experiences as part of their Arts Award journey. This has included regular trips to galleries, theatres, art exhibitions, school arts events, in-house workshops, working with artists, theatre and dance groups, and having opportunities to produce premiere performances of plays. We are recently able to have a virtual call with the Theatre Dresser from Broadway's musical theatre production of Wicked, and our play Play Virtual Live Real was reviewed by Dame Judi Dench, who recognised the students' work as "extremely dedicated".

I believe that our Arts Award delivery is successful because the Creative Arts department staff at Manor Green College are so dedicated to the work they do to give our young people so many amazing and rewarding opportunities. Our students can see the enthusiasm for the arts from the staff and this is passed on to them and encourages their passion for the arts.


Arts Award has changed many of our students lives. For example:

  • a profound learning student displayed their artwork in our local gallery
  • a low-verbal student remembered and recalled words to a song
  • a non-reader successfully applied to a foundation arts course
  • a school refuser auditioned for The BRIT School.

Arts Award gives our students the chance to see what they can achieve if they put the hard work in - it gives them the support and guidance to see that so much is possible!


My top tip when doing Arts Award at any level is to have a logbook or diary to keep an account of the students' progression when they're creating their projects. We find that, when students have 5 minutes to reflect on their work and vision their next steps, it is key to their success. It is always good for the student to look back at the end of the project and see how it has developed but, equally, how they have grown as a person through the process.

If you are wondering whether you should start Arts Award with your students, I recommend that you sign up to a course now and just do it! You won't regret it. I have always felt supported by the Arts Award team and they have always been at the end of an email or call to give me advice, discuss and idea or answer a question.

Arts Award is a way of expressing our community, our students' worlds and, most importantly, who our students are as individuals.

To see more of what we are getting up to, see @mgc_create or


Photo Manor Green College students

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