Schools get creative to STEAM-clean Eastbourne Beach

Date Created: 18th Apr 2018

Close up view of some of the litter collected on the beach including metal bottle tops, plastic wire, plastic bottle caps, wrappers and foam

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Just before the Easter break, 150 students from six secondary schools in Eastbourne headed to their local beach to spend the day working with artists, scientists and teachers, researching and exploring the impact of plastics on our beaches and marine life. Our Education Development Manager, Jane Dickson, caught up with them to find out more.

The first part of the day was spent collecting, sorting and clearing plastic and other rubbish from the beaches, with help from Eastbourne Borough Council, Surfers Against Sewage, STEM Sussex and the Marine Conservation Society. Then, from the iconic Spyglass beach hut, the team from Photoworks led a programme of creative photography activities, designed to help students investigate the collected debris.

View the film of their day here

The activity was part of a wider schools STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) programme, supported by Artswork as part of their Department for Education Networks Programme.  Running over the Spring and Summer Terms 2018, the programme is led by an alliance of Eastbourne schools with Photoworks and STEM Sussex. It sees art and science teachers collaborating with photographers and marine ecologists to plan and deliver cross-curricular projects, using both creative and scientific activities to help the students learn why urgent change is needed to protect our oceans and coastlines from plastic pollution.

The schools taking part (Cavendish School, Ratton School, Eastbourne Academy, Eastbourne College, Willingdon Community School and Seaford Head School) are members of the Eastbourne Schools Partnership. In looking to long term sustainability and establishing these new ways of working in the schools and across the partnership, the programme also incorporates extensive teacher training and development, and all schools are working towards achieving Artsmark as part of the programme. Alongside this, participating students will gain Arts Award accreditation and their work will be showcased in a public exhibition at the end of June in Eastbourne.

Group of young people walking along the beach on a misty day, collecting litter and carrying a tray for developing cyanotypes

Photoworks Learning and Participation Curator, Juliette Buss, says, “We are thrilled so many children will be using photography to think about their environment in new ways and learn about the difference they can make by working with such an incredible range of artists and scientists”.

The Eastbourne STEAM Network will facilitate a strong link between the arts and sciences within participating schools that will support cross curricular and project based learning.  The programme will deliver workshops and creative activities exploring coastal themes and environmental issues. It will involve a continuing professional development (CPD) programme for teachers and practitioners, enable children and young people to gain Arts Award, and support participating schools to register for the Artsmark award in recognition of the value creativity has to engage learning and the quality of their arts provision.

The Eastbourne Schools Partnership was formed in 2014. Its mission statement is that: ‘by linking our resources, expertise, enthusiasm and commitment, we aim to develop projects and ideas that inspire, excite and offer creative opportunities for children and young people. In so doing we hope to enable our pupils to work together for mutual benefit and the benefit of others across our town.’

If you would like to find out more about how to better embed the arts in your school, get in touch with your local Education Development Manager here

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Arts Award Artsmark South East Bridge

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