Blog - Our Artsmark journey to Platinum, by Chantry and Newminster Middle Schools

06 November 2017

Blog - Our Artsmark journey to Platinum, by Charlotte Jones

As the Curriculum Leader of the Creative Arts at Newminster and Chantry Middle Schools in Morpeth, I feel the new Artsmark structure has helped us build stronger external partnerships with a more diverse range of organisations. These links are richly supplementing the internal arts offering with skills, knowledge and experience, and a redesign of the arts, which in turn deepens pupil experience. The two middle schools are situated on the same site, only feet apart, and by combining Arts Awards and Artsmark, we've brought the two schools closer together through the medium of the arts.

Artsmark has been central to developing the Morpeth Music Partnership and to our role as the bridge for pupils between first schools and high school. We've taken important steps to build strong partnerships with feeder schools to allow pupils to start the arts journey at an early stage and continue it through to further education. Our recent showcase event at The Sage Gateshead, and a planned Morpeth Music Partnership event with Music Partnership North have combined musicians from first, middle and high schools across Morpeth, strengthening this bond.

Artsmark has given the Three Rivers Trust an inspirational lift, encouraging cross-school cooperation. This has included the joint music ensemble offerings, choir, ceilidh band, jazz band and a samba band, as well as Arts Award projects including with the Laing Art Gallery. We've also held joint middle school charity events such as a whole schools dance for Comic Relief 2017, and a planned giant cake collaboration for Children in Need 2017.

Linking to the health and well-being of our students, we've designed whole school projects to encourage individuality. For example, this year, each pupil created a unique design on a pebble and put them together to form an outdoor sculpture. We've also taken part in the annual Sign2Sing project, for which pupils have learnt to sing and use Makaton sign language.

The many other participation opportunities, including competition entries, have helped in our efforts to raise self esteem, contributing to core values of creativity, achievement, co-operation, respect, and resilience.

Our Artsmark journey to Platinum has taken us to places we hadn’t yet explored within the arts. It has helped us to widen our resources and focus on putting all learners' experiences at the centre of our planning. We've gained momentum and a drive to continue to push forward the creative arts at our schools.