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BY: Guest Writer
15 Dec 2017

Shakespeare Schools Festival performance.jpg

Good Practice Centre Abbey Catholic Primary School will be blogging their Arts Award journey as part of their Good Practice Centre year. The school runs Arts Award at Discover through to Bronze, enjoying the challenges and celebrations of achievement the award brings to their pupils. In their first instalment, Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA) and Arts Award lead Rebecca Lonergan, discuss how they got started with their programme.

It’s that time of year again, we’ve all settled into a routine with our new classes and are ready to start our Arts Award club. At Abbey Catholic Primary School, we have run Arts Award for the past three years as a voluntary after school club. No two years are ever the same – we always try to link the activities to our Shakespeare Schools Festival (SSF) work but also to the interests and needs of that particular cohort of children. Shakespeare Schools Festival supports schools to perform abridged Shakespeare plays in professional venues across the UK and is an Arts Award partner supporting schools who wish to run Arts Award alongside their SSF programme.

This year we have decided to run Bronze and Explore clubs on the same night enabling both staff and pupils to collaborate and support each other. Our Discover club will also run on the same night, commencing in the spring term. At the moment, there is a real buzz around the school as Year 6 prepares for their Shakespeare performance at The Old Rep in Birmingham, forming a significant part of our Bronze Arts Award work. 

Abbey Catholic Primary School - Matisse

We are planning to include a wider range of art forms this year (in the past we have focussed on drama) and have started to map out a rough weekly plan. Past experience tells us it is really important to allow plenty of time for reflection and portfolio building – we find it is much better to do this as you go along, so we have factored it into our timetable. It is also important to be flexible with your delivery. Although we have our overview and plan for what we want to achieve each week, we know that this will change and we need to be comfortable with it. If we are going to make sure children get the most out of their Arts Award experience we need to constantly adapt according to their needs. This could be by supporting how they complete their portfolios, helping them to collect evidence or the order in which they complete their Arts Award.

As I write this, we are waiting to see what the response is to our offer this year. There is always that worry if we’ve pitched it right. Will children be engaged and enthused by the ideas we have?

Abbey Catholic Primary School - wall

As children choose to join the Arts Award club, we never know the numbers from one year to the next even though they have been steadily growing. Sometimes it can feel a little daunting but once we are up and running the enthusiasm of the children and the pleasure of seeing them develop makes the worry suddenly disappears.

We look forward to updating you on our progress in our next blog post – stay tuned for more!

Abbey Catholic Primary School is an Arts Award Good Practice Centre for 2017-18. Find out more about our Good Practice Centres.


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