BLOG: How Artsmark inspired our school to continually develop how we teach the arts

12 November 2020

By Hannah Oxnard, Art and Music Lead, Burnopfield Primary School

Burnopfield Primary School registered with Artsmark back in 2019 and we are currently on our journey to gain our very own Artsmark award! Here at Burnopfield we have always valued the arts and their importance in children’s lives and education. We registered for the award to not only recognise all that we do here at Burnopfield, but also to celebrate our children’s creativity across the curriculum. Since registering for the award, we have worked hard to further develop how our children access the arts and their appreciation for dance, drama, art & design and music. 

During the Artsmark development day I was introduced to a wide range of ideas and contacts to improve our teaching of the arts and expose our children to new ideas and skills. One of the main points that came across in the development day was the idea of getting professionals into school to meet and work with the children. We love to inspire our children at school and one of our main curriculum drivers at Burnopfield is ‘aspiration’, so meeting professionals was the perfect start for them! 

We have had a range of local artists come to work with our staff and children and the experiences have been fantastic! The children have been able to ask questions, develop their skills and interest in the subject and see that they can achieve anything if they put their mind to it! Our little nursery children have worked with an artist creating their own little characters linked to a story. Reception children were able to learn all about observational art and then continue their observational skills in our provision! Year 2 children created some beautiful watercolour paintings with local artist Alan Reed and also developed their sculpture skills during a Picasso workshop with local Artist Susan Warlock. Some of our Key Stage 2 children also enjoyed a sculpture workshop, where they were able to work with clay and explore this area of art.

“I like playing and making things. It’s relaxing.” – Reception Child 

It was not only our children who loved taking part in these workshops and meeting local artists, our staff loved it too! After working alongside professional artists, teachers found more confidence with teaching the subject and took on board some helpful tips for future lessons. 

“The children absolutely loved working with the artist and the finished artwork looks brilliant! It was very helpful for me too for teaching future lessons.” - Teacher

We have also enjoyed working alongside a professional dance coach in school! Our Year 1 children absolutely loved their lessons with the coach and have been able to really show their creativity through dance. They were able to create a brilliant dance to the songs from ‘Matilda’ and this year, the children have been working on creating a dance to the song ‘We’re all in this Together’, which is looking great so far! 

As well as art and dance, the children also enjoy developing their skills in music and drama. Here at Burnopfield we aim for all of our children to feel confident and have a voice. The teaching of speaking and listening skills is vital and begins with our youngest children in Foundation Stage. Children are encouraged to engage in role play activities and we even have our very own ‘Chatterbox Corner’ and ‘Talking Tipi’ to develop the children’s confidence and speech. In other year groups the children often take part in whole class speaking and listening lessons including reciting poems they may have written or acting out some drama from a class text! Some of our Key Stage 2 children took part in a really interesting workshop with a local professional based around ‘freeze frames’. They enjoyed dressing up, creating a freeze frame with a story behind it and then sketching the finished pose! 

“I love Art. You get to put all of your emotions onto a page. It’s creative and you can’t make any mistakes.” – Key Stage 2 Child 

These are just a few examples of how Artsmark has inspired our school to continually develop how we teach the arts and support our children’s Cultural Capital. I can’t wait to continue our journey and see how much more our children can enjoy and achieve!