Holy Cross Primary School has won the Arts Council’s Artsmark Silver Award.
The award recognises the school’s commitment to “superb teaching and exploration” through the arts.
Holy Cross says the two-year Artsmark process has been an exciting one for both staff and students, as they broadened their use of the arts as a tool for exploring the curriculum, themselves and their beliefs.
The curriculum has been refreshed, and the arts have become a driving force for enabling pupils to imagine a positive future for themselves: growing their resilience and self-belief.
The school says: “Throughout the process, we have not swerved from this focus. We believe that for all Holy Cross pupils to trust that they can achieve their dreams in life, the curriculum needs to be broad, so they are provided with many opportunities to shine.”
Teachers say that during Arts lessons, pupils appear more willing to ‘own’ their learning; their dependence upon adults is lessening, and they are thinking in more creative ways.
Governors, through their questioning of pupils, have noticed that pupils talk with greater animation about their learning than previously. They have noticed the impact of the Arts on RE and the quality and depth of understanding shown in pupil-led worship through the Arts.
Arts Week gave older students the opportunity to work with and encourage their younger peers, and the school saw the benefits of producing a written response, which had firstly been explored through music, dance, drama and the visual arts.
“It is exciting to see how the cross-pollination of arts and more academic disciplines can produce higher quality, more engaged outcomes,” says the school.
Pupils and staff have been supported throughout the Artsmark journey through working with a range of professional artists and organisations: musicians from Red Butler School of Music; artists and makers from Same Sky; NADFAS; art consultant, Judy Grahame; Forest School teachers; and specialist music teacher, Daphne Starnes.
Older students have also had the opportunity to shine in ukulele lessons; giving them a taste of the joys of music-making and developing their confidence.
In addition to this, the school has drawn on the expertise of its own staff members, including the headteacher, who has a BA Hons in Fashion and Textile Design and worked in Europe as a designer before becoming a teacher.
The school said: “We are very proud to have achieved Artsmark Silver status, and are excited as to where our creative explorations will take us next.”