Arts Rich Schools and how to become one

Date Created: 15th Sep 2021

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After such a challenging year, we wanted to look forward together with a positive, inspiring and practical event for teachers across the South East. Jane Dickson, Education Development Manager for Brighton & Hove, East and West Sussex and Surrey, explains more:

Our final online CPDL of 2020/21 explored how raising the profile of arts and creativity can energise teaching and learning for the whole school community. The event drew on the Royal Society of Arts’ (RSA’s) research into ‘Arts-Rich Schools’ published in January 2020 and was led by Samantha Cairns, Co-Director of the Cultural Learning Alliance in collaboration with our Education Development Managers alongside some powerful contributions from a range of South East schools.

Over 60 teachers joined our webinar to hear about the RSA research and the practical approaches that some schools have taken to embed creativity and why its important for their communities. Delegates were invited to consider various discussion points in small groups including how they might adapt some of the examples as they planned for the year ahead.

Sam Cairns, Co-Director of the Cultural Learning Alliance led the RSA’s Arts-Rich Schools research project which visited arts-rich schools across the country to learn more about the strategies they used to maintain a strong arts offer. To open the event, Sam reflected on the key findings of what characterises these arts-rich schools, for example:

  • Giving the arts high status within their school
  • Prioritising dedicated arts spaces
  • Developing a range of partnerships to facilitate curricular and extra-curricular offer
  • Maintaining curriculum breadth at secondary school
  • Prioritising specialist staff
  • Timetabling to put the arts at the centre of school life

Over the last year, the RSA team has revisited this research and their further report will be published shortly.

Michael James – Art Lead at The Loddon School, Hampshire shared an inspiring film showcasing the central place that arts and creativity have at the school and why it is so important for their students.  The Loddon School® was established by Marion Cornick MBE in 1988 as a charitable trust to provide a much-needed school in the South of England for children who can no longer live at home because of their exceptional support needs. The Loddon School® is both home and school for 28 children who have the most severe and complex learning difficulties. Many children also have additional problems associated with autism and epilepsy, including self-injury, aggression and disruptive behaviour. The children live at the school 52 weeks a year so The Loddon School® is a home which provides education, leisure, play, outings and holidays. All children live in small family groups with their own staff who are responsible for their care and support programme and their social development. The school offers a curriculum rich in arts experiences and proudly displays its pupils’ work.

Mhari Smith, Arts Lead for KS2 and Kelly Myatt, Arts Lead for KS1 at Queens Park Primary School, Brighton are lead advocates in the city for the arts and for good, embedded practice and partnerships as well as in establishing strong pupil voice. This strong creative team has particular experience in art, drama and photography as well as supporting Arts Award and Artsmark and their presentation outlined this holistic approach and the importance of having strong support from the Headteacher and Senior Leadership Team. Queens Park Primary are currently working with Artswork as our DfE-funded Artsmark and Creativity Champion in Brighton & Hove.

June Bates, Lead Teacher of Arts & Design, Astor Secondary School, Kent explained how arts and creativity were central in supporting the schools’ priorities and maintaining its strong professional skills in the creative arts developed over many years. Astor Secondary School is a coastal, non-selective school in Dover, East Kent with above average numbers of PP, SEN and EAL students and the arts have remained as a fundamental entitlement for all. The school is committed to visual literacy and creative thinking skills as well as maintaining a curriculum with a broad arts offer that inspires and challenges whilst preparing students for the future. Examination results in the arts are amongst the best in the school with strong progression routes for many students into the creative industries. However, June also emphasised how the value of the arts had been further demonstrated over the last year in supporting student wellbeing.

You can find out more about all of these approaches in the recording and powerpoints. Please let us know how you are developing as an Arts Rich School – we would love to hear from you. Contact your local Education Development Manager here.

To view the recordings and presentations, click here.

SAVE THE DATE for our first online CPDL event of the next academic year.

Tuesday 19th October 2021, 3pm – 5pm

Further details and booking information available shortly.


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