BLOG: Arts Award and Artsmark - Building relationships - inspiring success

10 February 2020

BLOG: Arts Award and Artsmark - Building relationships - inspiring success

By Ruth Brown, Head of Creative Arts Faculty, Duchess School

It’s vital that children have the opportunity to learn and enjoy Arts and Culture from an early age. It develops their creativity, helps to maintain wellbeing, inspires future careers and enriches their childhood.The curriculum development and promotion of the Arts at DCHS is central to the shared belief of raising achievement and aspiration through curriculum and extra curricular creativity , enrichment , cultural opportunity and engagement for all. The commitment to the shared ethos of the Creative Arts Faculty and Performing Arts provision is held within our ArtsMark Gold status and aspiration of achieving ArtsMark Platinum. Artsmark has given us a powerful voice and platform to celebrate the excellent work across all areas of our school, build capacity in teaching, learning and student resilience and develop leadership skills. It has also given us the status to be even more outward facing with our offer and opportunities within our region to support other schools and providers with their provision offers.

With this in mind, CREATE was born. Create is a bespoke Arts Curriculum for Year 7 which enables students to explore the Arts and Culture through Art, Photography, Music and Textiles.  We believe that the creative and performing arts make a unique contribution to the education and well being of young people, community and staff in a commitment to life-long learning and self belief. Arts, cultural and heritage education at DCHS is an entitlement for all students both within the formal curriculum and through extra-curricular and community activities to raise engagement and cultural capital for all. The aim of the CREATE curriculum is to use the Arts and Arts teaching to inspire, build confidence and skills which Year 7 can build upon and use across all subject areas. We used Arts Award Explore (all students will receive this at the end of Y7) and the 5 Habits of Mind (Inquisitive, Persistent, Disciplined, Imaginative and Collaborative) to underpin CREATE to give our young people an opportunity to build skills, leadership and creative capacity, whilst hopefully having fun in their learning. Through our work on culture and creative learning, we were delighted to be mentored by Paul Collard from CCE, to help deepen our understanding of the 5 Habits of Mind, High functioning classrooms and the powerful impact creative learning can have on young people to inspire, engage and support learning across all areas. This has had a massive impact on the delivery of the course and how we have incorporated Arts Award Explore - the results have been astounding. Student interest, enthusiasm and engagement is high and Year 7 have just curated their first exhibition for parents and the community.

Culture, Creativity, Heritage and external opportunities are all at the heart of this curriculum model.  As we enter our third year as a comprehensive, we continue to evolve, not only as a school community but in the development of curriculum models to best support our young people. Arts Award and Arts Mark continue to be at the heart of everything we do, opening doors and opportunities for all learners and hopefully opening their eyes to the world and talents around them.