Connecting with local primary schools to deliver Arts Award
BY: Guest Writer
30 Oct 2023
Joe Carr from the Community Team at Britten Pears Arts shares with us how they delivered Discover, Explore and Bronze with two local primary schools and worked in partnership with other local arts organisations and artists.
Britten Pears Arts (BPA) is a heritage, music and arts charity which includes two sites; The Red House, Aldeburgh and Snape Maltings Concert Hall in Suffolk. The BPA Community Team use music and heritage to engage with people of all ages, from schools to young people and older generations. We were delighted to be accepted as an Arts Award Trinity Champion Centre this year, and we offer a range of opportunities for young people to achieve an Arts Award.
Aldeburgh Primary School
Aldeburgh Primary School is a small school located in the centre of Aldeburgh in Suffolk. We have developed a strong partnership with Aldeburgh Primary over the last few years through introducing Arts Award and supporting the school with Arts Award delivery and progression. We were pleased to have been supported by The Arts Society East Suffolk, who provided three years of funding to help the young people achieve this goal. Over the last academic year, I worked with class teacher, Mel Giddings, to develop a years’ worth of activities and resources to enable three classes to achieve Arts Award (which equates to over half of the school). We have worked with three groups; 25 pupils beginning their journey with Arts Award Discover, 22 pupils building on their Arts Award work by completing Arts Award Explore and 12 pupils committing to their arts progression with Arts Award Bronze.
The pupils participated in a range of visits, workshops and arts experiences which were developed and implemented by Mel and myself over the year. These included visits to The Red House to explore the historic site and develop their musical knowledge and understanding of Benjamin Britten and his life, in school workshops covering Roman and Tudor music, artist research sessions, trips to Aldeburgh Cinema to create their own film reviews and much more.
Music was key in the children's Arts Award and was linked through various topics in their curriculum. For example, workshops from Britten Pears Arts helped the children explore music and musical instruments from the Roman and Tudor period, and helped the children learn how to compose their own historical music, allowing the children to take part in a new arts activity. Artist research sessions also enabled pupils to work with museum and archive staff so that they could explore different ways to research their chosen artist. The children also learnt how museums record and analyse collections when learning about Benjamin Britten, Suffolk’s famous composer. Children were able to handle, accession and classify a variety of Britten’s collections, learning new facts and stories about him.
The Arts Award framework was embedded into the curriculum and lesson plans. The success of this implementation resulted in a collection of over 50 completed logbooks. The high-quality research, detail and implementation of Arts Award logbooks by the young people is a credit to how we have managed to ensure Arts Award is part of the planning process each year. We are also delighted that the school achieved Artsmark Silver.
We are currently planning a new year of Arts Award for Aldeburgh Primary School and are delighted that we will be at a stage that every child within the school will soon have achieved an Arts Award qualification!
Snape Primary School
We began the Arts Award journey with Snape Primary school in the last academic year. Working with class teacher Ruth Wharrier, I planned two groups of after-school Arts Award clubs, to run in consecutive terms. The first group consisted of year 2s and 3s and was a music focussed Arts Award club with 14 children beginning their journey with Arts Award Discover. Over six weeks children attended the Arts Award club after school to take part in a range of musical activities, with the overall aim to create a musical composition which would be presented and performed in a whole school assembly. I worked with the pupils to explore rhythm and musical layering, as well as developing skills using ukuleles and guitars. The children researched local Suffolk musician Ed Sheeran and had the chance to handle, explore and use a piece of machinery called a loop pedal. Being able to record and loop layers of music, the children created a final musical loop pedal piece which they were able to present to the entire school.
The musical piece that the children created was composed from a variety of layers of music, which the children had been exploring each week. Firstly, the children added sounds from the ukulele which they had learnt how to play in the first three weeks of their Arts Award club. They then added rhythms and beat which they explored in later weeks and finally added some melodies and vocals. All the musical techniques that the children learned over the term were incorporated into their looped piece of music.
In the following term the older group of year 4s and 5s began their after-school Arts Award club focussing on visual arts and developing new skills and techniques in pastels, watercolours and chalks. We were excited to welcome local artists to lead these sessions. The children had a session exploring their favourite artist through books and internet research. Using this as inspiration and taking advice from our local artists, the children developed their own final artwork. The result was a big variety of exciting art works which formed a final exhibition and group assembly to the school and parents.
It has been a rewarding process helping two local schools use Arts Award to develop opportunities for their pupils. The success of the two different projects has been clear; with pupils gaining confidence in exploring arts and achieving a qualification. We will be helping over 100 pupils from these schools over the next academic year.
Top right: Aldeburgh Primary School, creating Red House artwork
Top left: Snape Primary School, Years 2 and 3 after school Arts Award club - receiving their certificates in assembly
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