Delivering Bronze Arts Award as a mix of classwork and homework
BY: Guest Writer
29 Jan 2024
Lesley Morgan, Arts Development Manager at Sawston Village College in Cambridgeshire describes their unique Arts Award delivery model, which combines a high degree of self-study with classroom learning.
We were early adopters of Arts Award, beginning our delivery of the award here at Sawston Village College in 2007. Initially we advertised this in school as an extracurricular opportunity and left it to pupils to come forward to get involved, and inevitably it was the keen, highly motivated pupils who took advantage of this opportunity. However, we then went on to deliver Arts Award as part of National Lottery Heritage Funded projects and reached a wider mix of pupils, and created an Arts Award-in-a-Week programme for our summer schools for disadvantaged pupils. From this we saw the benefits to those young people of engaging in Arts Award and realised we wanted to support wider participation and engagement more regularly and so we set about looking at how we could deliver Arts Award within the curriculum.
Wide range of art forms
We decided to target our Year 7 cohort and support them to complete the Bronze Arts Award in their first year with us. As a school that values the arts highly, completing the Bronze Arts Award in Year 7 would support introducing our youngest pupils to a wide range of art forms (e.g. Ndebele art/steel pans), giving broader cultural awareness. It would also set an early expectation of achievement, develop confidence and set our pupils up well for their time in secondary school and beyond. We consulted with our then local Bridge organisation, who offered advice. We made booklets for our Year 7s to record their work in and we scheduled Arts Award lessons once a fortnight over the academic year, supported by homework, looking to have young people entered for the award towards the end of the summer term.
Doing Bronze Part A last
We had pupils begin with Part C of Bronze, where they had an open choice of arts inspirations. They then moved to Part D, where classes split into two to learn different arts skills (origami and the sevens rhythm) from short videos we created, then joined up with a partner from the opposite group to teach their skill. Part B then followed. To support completion of this, we brought a music performance into school, which every year 7 pupil attended, ensuring everyone had had the experience of being the audience. Finally we completed Part A, giving pupils a free choice of what they focused on for this knowing that, by the time they approached this part, everyone had had experience of lessons in drama, art, and music so would find something to focus on even if they did not attend any arts-focused clubs or groups as part of extracurricular activities or outside school. This approach worked well, and we found that, on average, about 95% of the cohort would complete and pass the award each year.
Then Covid came