Delivering Arts Award as part of the Artsmark journey
BY: Julie Neville
10 Nov 2021
The Artsmark Award is the only creative quality standard for schools and education settings, accredited by Arts Council England. The Artsmark award supports settings to embed arts, culture and creativity across the curriculum and the school community.
We regularly promote the value that Arts Award can bring to the Artsmark journey by providing a framework for arts and cultural activity across the curriculum and wider school. Our dedicated resources support Arts Award centres to write about their delivery as part of their Artsmark statements of commitment and impact. You can find out more about how the two programmes compliment each other at our Artsmark and Arts Award webinar on 16 November 2021.
We’ve been speaking to Formby High School about their own Artsmark journey, how they have been delivering Arts Award as part of the Artsmark goals they have set for the school, and how the principles of Arts Award map to the Artsmark criteria. Victoria Harrocks, Community Arts Co-ordinator at the school explains more:
At Formby High School our Arts Award offer links to several Artsmark goals as we aim towards Platinum for the second time. In recent times when external opportunities have been limited, we have involved teachers as mentors across a wide range of arts and technical subjects which has encouraged strong cross-curricular links. The recent addition of the Bronze Arts Award to our timetable has expanded our curriculum offer and Arts Award has inspired us to forge important partnerships with arts and cultural organisations.
Children and young people engagement
Our students are enabled to talk enthusiastically about their arts and cultural experiences as part of their Arts Award journey. We give our students the opportunity to inspire and share skills with younger students. At Bronze level, our students share their skills by making video tutorials and at Silver and Gold levels the culmination of the work is shared as a showcase. We can demonstrate clear arts engagement through each process. Our students have responsibility for collaborating with others and by sharing their knowledge and understanding they become young leaders of arts and cultural activities. Bronze, Silver and Gold projects develop youth voice and youth authored work.
Cross Curricular Delivery
At Formby High School, one outcome of the pandemic is that cross curricular links have been further strengthened. We have sought to support our young people using in-house Creative Arts and Technical Support teachers to encourage growth and learning. For example, as part of the Gold Arts Award journey, our Design Thinking teacher recently mentored an Architect student, teaching him technical drawing skills and our Music Technician mentored a singer/songwriter enabling them to edit their own music.
We have traditionally formed partnerships with industry specialists from our PTA who have donated opportunities for work experience and lectures from their specialisms which have contributed to the Arts Award criteria. During lockdown we sought out available professionals and arts and cultural organisations who generously gave their time to host zoom lectures, such as a West End director who ran directing workshops, and Edge Hill University who offered discussions on the creative industries and a dance workshop.
As part of our Platinum Artsmark journey, we have a whole-school commitment to arts and culture which we share with other schools. Bronze Arts Award became part of our curriculum after the Creative Arts teachers pulled together to successfully deliver the award during lockdown. Our curriculum now contains one hour a week of Bronze during Year 9 for all students. So far participants have created a showcase performance for Part A in the form of a musical theatre revue which was filmed and streamed to our local feeder primary school. They then made tutorials for Part D in either singing, dancing, acting costuming or set design to share the skills they had learnt while making the performance. The primary students followed the tutorials and created their own revue show.
Aligning with the Arts Council Quality Principles that underpin Artsmark, we develop ownership and belonging among students taking part in Gold Arts Award by encouraging them to work individually as an artist or to collaborate as a group of artists. Gold level students become invested in projects which align to real world scenarios. This benefits their personal statement or CV and provides important life experiences gained through work experience, workshops, research into their field and in creating and experimenting with their own art form to make new work.
Finally, offering Arts Award allows us to gather important evidence that is needed to demonstrate the impact of our Artsmark journey ready for submitting out Statement of Impact. The project based approach to Arts Award means that student portfolios are filled with evidence of their skills development and progression as well as their own valuable self-reflection and review material. Impact can also be measured in the form of Arts Award attainment data, staff CPD through adviser training opportunities and audience feedback at arts events.
You can take a look at the Gold Arts Award showcase created by students at Formby High School here.
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