Blog: Arts Award - Building positive learning relationships at Hebburn Comprehensive School

04 July 2017

Arts Award in schools across the North East

Hebburn Comprehensive School

Siobhan Woodcock, Support and Inclusion Manager at Hebburn Comprehensive in South Tyneside, works with children who follow an alternative curriculum. Here, she shares her experience of how Arts Award can strengthen young people’s wellbeing, confidence and self-esteem. 

Arts Award - Building positive learning relationships at Hebburn Comprehensive School by Siobhan Woodcock, Support and Inclusion Manager

I’m responsible for a small cohort of pupils placed on an alternative curriculum, that requires them to spend part of the week gaining unpaid work experience, and the rest of their time in a specialised unit working towards GCSE qualifications.

I first experienced Arts Award through The Customs House when my daughter completed a Discover Arts Award in just three days! This involved her studying and meeting an artist, carrying out some independent research about an arts venue and finally, producing some beautiful artwork. She really enjoyed this experience and has continued to engage with arts, including stage make up and costume design. Even though at the age of 11 she may change her mind, it has given her the aspiration to become a special effects make up artist for films.

Although Arts Award has previously been delivered within the mainstream setting in school, I use it as an integral part of building relationships with my pupils. By working on Arts Award tasks, I’m able to find about their skills, talents and most importantly, about them. Pupils really enjoy these tasks and gain confidence, so we can push boundaries to make their ideas into a reality. All pupils who‘ve completed their awards have taken pride in and ownership of their work by making presents for their families, including mother’s day gifts and Christmas decorations. The pupils enjoy their Arts Award lessons, without the pressure that sometimes comes with other coursework. And they gain a recognised qualification which sets them apart from their peers, giving them something extra to add to their CV or applications to college, apprenticeships and jobs.

I’ve enjoyed using Arts Award both on a personal and professional level, and believe it has allowed us to make some great memories. I honestly believe it’s a small price to pay to help children find direction, passion and developing an interest in the arts. 

​Share your Arts Award passion with teachers and build your school’s profile

Are you a teacher who delivers Arts Award either in your school or with a cultural organisation like a museum, gallery, library or music education hub? Can you talk confidently about Arts Award and its impact on your students and school, like Siobhan or Ruth? CBNE, together with The Learning and Participation Team at The Customs House, is seeking expressions of interest from teachers who have successfully had Arts Award moderated, who’d be willing to share a conversation on camera.

Please send expressions of interest by 28th July to This should include your Arts Award experience and why you want to advocate Arts Award to other education professionals. Filming will take place next academic year.