Counting back to a perfectly timed Arts Award project

Counting back to a perfectly timed Arts Award project

Picture of Natalie Christopher

BY: Natalie Christopher
10 Oct 2022

One of the things we love about this time of year is hearing about the new Arts Award projects planned and the enthusiasm our advisers have for getting them underway. However, for projects where there is a very definite end date, particularly where the young people taking part aren’t going to be in contact with you afterwards, it is important to consider when the portfolios are going to need to be completed by and when the moderation will need to take place so that you have the certificates ready to present at the end of your time together. In these circumstances, we recommend the ‘counting back’ method to planning your delivery.

When do you want to present the young people's certificates?

If you have a date in mind when you want to present the young people's Arts Award certificates, this is when you need to start counting back from. We recommend advisers allow the following timescales for receiving certificates:

For example, if we were to say that you want to present the certificates during the last week of the summer term (week commencing 17 July 2023), you would be looking at ordering your Discover certificates or booking your moderation to take place, at the latest, around the following dates:

All portfolios must be completed and assessed before ordering the certificate or before the moderation/sample confirmation date.

When do you need to book your moderation?

Of course, the dates above only refer to the moderation or sample confirmation dates – you will need to have booked and enrolled the names of those young people being entered for moderation in advance of this.

Bookings for standard (face-to-face) moderations need to be made at least 8 weeks in advance of your chosen moderation date.

Sample confirmation dates for online and postal moderations are released on a rolling basis meaning that, as one closes, another opens. Bookings for these close three weeks prior to the sample confirmation date, or as soon as they reach capacity. To be sure of securing the sample moderation date you want, we advise booking your moderation up to two months in advance.

Enrolment of names for all moderation types must be completed no later than three weeks prior to the moderation or sample confirmation date.

If we continue using the examples above, we see the timeline counting back as follows:

When do portfolios need to be completed?

This will entirely depend on how many portfolios you are going to be assessing, how many advisers there are to do this, how extensive the portfolios are (ie a Gold portfolio is likely to take considerably longer to assess than an Explore) and what capacity you have. The portfolios do not have to be completed or assessed at the time of booking the moderation, but they do need to be fully assessed by the moderation or sample confirmation date – otherwise the young person will be marked as ‘absent’ on the moderation day. For online or postal moderations, if any portfolios have been marked as below pass, or are going to be incomplete or unavailable for moderation, please notify us prior to sample confirmation. For standard moderation, you may flag these with the moderator on the day.

When does the project need to start?

Again, this is going to be dependent on the level of award being taken and with whom, what you have planned for the project, the amount of time you have with the young people and, in some cases, their ability to work independently. Shorter term projects, particularly at Discover and Explore levels, are perfectly viable, as highlighted in blogs by advisers at Maidstone Museum and Brave Bold Drama running Discover in a Day, and our How to: Explore in a week post. However, if the project needs to run over a greater length of time, you will need to take this into account in your planning.

Are you running Gold Arts Award? If so, are any of the young people on your project wanting to put the UCAS points available towards their university entry for next autumn?

In order for the UCAS points available with Gold Arts Award to be applied in time for the following autumn’s university entry, the moderation typically has to have taken place by the second Friday in June. You can find more information about the UCAS points available with Gold and the moderation deadline for this on our website.

Do you need to moderate before the summer holidays?

Generally, if you are working with a group that you won’t be seeing beyond the end of the academic year, the answer to this question will be ‘yes’. But the summer term can be busy enough without adding the pressure of needing to assess a large number of portfolios too. Arts Award runs moderations throughout the year, including August, so it’s worth considering whether booking a moderation for during summer holidays or at the start of the autumn term might work better for you.

There is much more information about the types of moderations available and how to book on our website. You can also find lots of planning tools, including activity mapping tools and portfolio building templates in the Resource library of the Adviser hub.


Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

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