Case Study: St Mary’s Primary School

Case Study: St Mary’s Primary School

Picture of Alan Lynch

BY: Alan Lynch
05 Sep 2018

So far, 13 children at St Mary’s Primary School in Suffolk have achieved awards with a focus on visual art. The school plans to build on this success and use staff’s expertise in other art forms to expand their Arts Award offer to include music and drama for Year 5 and 6 children.


The approach to Arts Award at St Mary’s is individual to each child. Children are encouraged to find out what inspires them and they are guided to pursue their interests. The school has organised for children to visit galleries and museums to further their interests and the current Arts Award cohort are taking part in a range of activities such as animation, graffiti art, 3D modelling, installation and mosaic. Children have arranged and presented their work in front of the school and parents during an assembly and have been very engaged by this child led ethos.St Mary's Primary School pic 1

Arts Award Explore is offered to 9 to 11 year olds through a weekly art club run by Year 3 teacher and Arts Award adviser, Helen Seed. The school offers instrumental tuition including violin, flute and guitar which will also be included in the award. In the autumn term, Arts Award Discover is being offered to Key Stage 1 children through a project called 'Lullaby' with the City of London Sinfonia.

A link with a neighbouring school, Hadleigh Community Primary, provided Year 3 and 4 pupils with the opportunity to attend an artist-led workshop. As part of this, St Mary’s pupils created art in the style of Monet. Due to the success of this, Hadleigh Primary now have plans to offer Arts Award and the two schools will continue to arrange joint events with visiting artists.

St Mary’s Primary will also be linking with their local high school to arrange a series of workshops for pupils from both schools taking part in the Discover, Explore, Bronze and Silver awards. Pupils will take part in art forms including composing, performance, printing, sculpting and film. There are plans to strengthen existing musical links with the high school through Arts Award.

St Mary’s Primary worked with local Arts Award Supporter, Ancient House of Thetford life as part of a World War 1 project. They have also arranged a six week photography workshop programme for Key Stage 2 children with Imaging Partnership.

There are also plans to expand St Marys’ relationship with Ipswich Museums. As part of their Explore Award, children visited the Ipswich Art Gallery and Museum where they learnt about illustrators and the different styles of illustration. A selection of art work from children’s arts logs will be posted on the Colchester and Ipswich museums website to advertise the link between Arts Award, schools in the area and the museum service.


Arts Award has engaged children in art forms they are interested in and has encouraged them to progress at an individual level and pace.

Aiden, a Year 6 pupil, realised an interest in clay sculpture. Before taking part in Arts Award Explore, he found it hard to reflect on and improve his work. While working towards his award, he took three months to plan and create a clay sculpture inspired by Wallace and Gromit. With support, he persisted and reflected, improving his design every week to create a figure that he was very proud of.

Another pupil, Sam, arrived late into the year, but showed a gifted ability in graffiti art. He took part in this through a continuation of a creative writing activity in class, looking at the work of Banksy. Sam developed his interest in graffiti during art club and branched out into 3D sculpture. As recognition of his interest, the Deputy Head took a diversion during a school trip to London this summer; taking Sam and the rest of the class to see the graffiti art at South Bank.

‘Arts Award enables children to spread their wings and find out more about themselves through the arts. It is a joy to see children achieving and gaining in confidence through art. To measure the impact Arts Award has had on our pupils, all you have to do is see how confident, engaged, independent and ready for high school they have become.’ - Helen Seed, Teacher

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