Art and Cultural Project
In July 2015, we employed a lead artist, Mr Quinn to work alongside our staff and pupils during a four term project to enhance our children’s speaking and listening skills and to introduce our children to a wider range of Arts and Culture.
Two years later we are proud our school places significant amounts of time and budget on developing the Arts with our children; Since September 2015, 90+ art and cultural activities engaged every child in school in a rich participatory arts programme, working with 15 different cultural organisations and professional Artists, including teachers’ CPD to embed the changes.
All staff worked alongside Artists, bringing culture into their classrooms. Families were invited to arts’ events in school and in the wider locality, including; Family Sculpture Day, Enchanted Parks, Juice Festival events.
Over 18 months we have begun a strategic change to the school’s outlook on, and delivery of, the Arts across the whole curriculum. We have witnessed our children being inspired by Artists and measurable improvement in the children’s core learning skills of speaking and listening across every year group. We are planning to develop more links and arts based partnerships in the forthcoming academic year.
We have decided that we are school worthy of Arts Mark and these are some of the reasons why we are currently applying for the Arts Mark Platinum award.
We have seen first-hand the benefits of integrating Arts and Culture within our curriculum. We participated in research to evidence the success of arts based learning to improve core learning skills and we are convinced that the arts helps us to deliver a curriculum that actively involves and enthuses our children.
‘… by giving children access to a range of Arts to broaden their experiences and explore Culture, to work with a variety of people to help children develop their skills and off CPD to staff to ensure longevity of Art in St. Joseph’s.’ ( SIP2017)
Applying for Artsmark will help us remain focussed and passionate in our aim to engage our children in their local arts and culture. Artsmark will be something that the whole school community can be proud of and a tribute to the all for the commitment and enthusiasm they are developing for arts and culture.
We recognise the value of Arts Awards, validating the children’s learning development. As Cultural Leader I trained to become an Advisor, delivering the Discover and Explore elements of Arts Award. This means that 90 children so far have achieved their life’s first qualification during their time at St Joseph’s by achieving their Arts Award. Our strategic aim included in the SIP is to ensure every child achieves Arts Award by the end of Yr6 at St Joseph’s.
Through a project with Historic England in 2016/17, one of our classes had the chance to explore the role of Public Art and learn about the 80+ sculptures locally in Gateshead. Working with two artists, the children discussed, photographed, drew, then held a hypothetical debate about which sculptures should remain over others. We were amazed by the level that their debating skills improved as they became passionate, articulate champions for the authenticity of each piece of art work. Artsmark would help to validate the use of arts as a driver for whole school improvement in these core skills.
By applying for Artsmark our children will realise the importance of the arts in our school life and in the learning they take forward when they leave. In our strategic planning we involve children in many organisational issues to help them ‘thrive’. e.g. recruitment of staff, they now have the opportunity of becoming cultural commissioners leading on the selection process and interviewing artists as we seek to commission a piece of sculpture for our school. This shows that they are capable of making their own cultural decisions.
We will be keeping our website up-to-date with the projects that we are involved in as well as advertising local Art and cultural events in our local area.
Our journey so far…
A selection of our children were interviewed about their experiences and here are some of their answers: