Aspiring to Artsmark as a governor

When I first heard that Bourne Westfield Primary Academy was going for Artsmark status, and needed a governor to provide strategic challenge and support for the school on its journey, I was only too happy to volunteer.Having worked in the education sector for the past 15 years as a PR consultant I have seen time and again, the reputational value for a school in acquiring Artsmark status and the opportunities it brings for both pupils and teachers.

I can also testify first-hand to the impact of arts and cultural education – it’s not just aimed at people like me who end up in the creative industries, it can help all young people to unlock their creativity, enabling them to become more rounded and articulate individuals. So you could say I’m a fan.

As a school we are striving to achieve Artsmark Platinum status this year. Our plans have been 12 months in preparation and we are extremely lucky to have our Arts Director Becky Beavis, who is passionately dedicated to the development and ‘hands on’ delivery of our overall arts strategy.  Without her, we would not have progressed against our strategy towards Platinum status as much as we have done.

Here are five aspects of our Artsmark journey that I would encourage other arts governors to consider in their first year:

Arts champions 

Do you have a ‘Becky Beavis’ type figure in your school who has the drive and energy to bring the arts to the fore and importantly, bring colleagues along with her? If not, I suggest you need to find that person or people. In our school we have designated arts leads who take overall responsibility for the planning of art in line with curriculum policy, and who liaise with year group teachers and teams on implementation.

Strategic Driver 

Is Artsmark status directly referenced in your school’s vision? Creative arts is in our School Improvement Plan, and also mapped as an inclusive part of wider curriculum teaching. There is an expectation that art pervades all other aspects of the curriculum, but particularly English through dance and drama. Children enjoy creative curricular lessons and visits, an opportunity to work with specialists and professionals from across the arts, and a broad range of before and after school clubs. There is a particular focus on Pupil Premium children to support their engagement and attainment, especially in English.

Action planning 

What is your school’s action plan for achieving Artsmark status? For us, we already had an enviable reputation in our locality – as was evidenced by the award of ‘Music Department of the Year’ by Lincolnshire Music Service – but we needed to extend this expertise into other areas, especially art, dance and drama. External partnerships have been a huge part of our strategy. For example, our partnership with the Royal Opera House outreach projects has ensured that children access quality cultural activities. Year 4 pupils participated in the Nutcracker project which involved the children choreographing a ballet and Year 5 in a ‘Create and sing Carmen’ dramatic singing programme.

Confidence and skills 

Are you investing in the development of staff in the delivery of arts and cultural education? We undertook an initial audit of skills competencies covering art, dance and drama and organise termly CPD to reflect individual needs. For example, a session was recently run on the use of sketch books and critique. Making time for staff around their development in these new areas is paramount in = improving your Artsmark journey.

Tell people about it 

How are you communicating your arts strategy and related initiatives? Reputation is formed by a combination of what you do plus what you say. We bid for, and won, The Mighty Creatives’ Creative Learning Award which brought external recognition and independent endorsement of the activities which are driving our Artsmark bid. A full off-timetable annual Arts Week alongside many collaborative partner activities and workshops from outside professionals also brings a clear opportunity to engage parents.

School data

Finally – and going back to the core ‘challenge’ of governance – whilst achieving Artsmark is the end goal we need to understand how the overall arts strategy impacts the children. I’ve asked for, and the school’s leadership team is providing, meaningful data (including the raising of academic standards in writing) about the impact of all these activities on learning. Make sure this challenge is there.

END

If you want to find out more about supporting a cultural education in your school as a governor, you can download Arts Council England's guide for governors on Cultural Education

 

Share: 

Add new comment

Recent posts

Rosie Gill, a Year 9 student at Ballard School, is one of the youngest people to achieve Distinction as an associate of the Royal School of Music and Trinity Music College. Victoria Gray, Director of Music and Performing Arts, introduces us to Rosie and tells us how she inspired a mentoring programme that helped the school on their journey to Artsmark Gold…

(10/10/2017)

We are extremely proud to have Dame Reena Keeble, who has made a significant contribution to the education sector throughout her career, as a valued member of the Artsmark Levelling Panel. We invited her to close our first ever Artsmark Celebration Week with a special announcement...

I am delighted to announce that as of today, Friday 13 October, we have awarded 181 more primary and secondary schools with their Artsmark level. There are now 3133 schools on their Artsmark journey, either having received their award, or working towards it.

(10/10/2017)

As we launch the first Artsmark Celebration Week, Arts Council England's Chief Executive, Darren Henley, blogs about the important role arts and culture has on a young person's development, and has a special message of thanks for our Artsmark schools. 

Work with, for and by children and young people is at the heart of the Arts Council’s mission. It’s one of our five goals and underpins everything we do. 

(06/10/2017)

This National Poetry Day, Art Coordinator Sharon Palfreyman from Corrie Primary School, talks to us about how two inspiring arts and poetry projects helped them achieve Artsmark Gold…

Corrie Primary School is based in Tameside, Greater Manchester, and when the tragic Manchester attack happened in May, pupils at our school wanted to honour the victims, and we as educators, needed to ensure we were promoting cultural diversity, equality and tackling racism in schools.

(28/09/2017)

Phil smith, a governor at Bourne Westfield Primary Academy, blogs about five top things you can do as a school governor in the first year of your Artsmark journey.

(28/06/2017)

Follow Artsmark

Twitter   Facebook

Cultural education gives children and young people the opportunity to develop their creativity, both individually and collectively, and that's why our goal is for every child and young person to have the opportunity to experience the richness of the arts.

Darren Henley
Chief Executive
Arts Council England

It's so important that children have the opportunity to learn and enjoy arts and culture from an early age. It develops their creativity, inspires future careers and enriches their childhoods.

Artsmark does fantastic work in school across the country, bringing high quality arts and culture into the classroom.

Matt Hancock
Minister of State for Digital and Culture
Department for Culture, Media and Sport