Curious Blog: Artsmark

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Curious Blog: Artsmark

St Ambrose Barlow - 7 June 2016 -6

Stepping up to the Cultural Education Challenge with Artsmark

By Emma Bush, Senior Manager for Programmes

The ‘Cultural Education Challenge’ is Arts Council England’s call for the art, culture and education sectors to work together in offering consistent and high quality cultural education  to all children and young people.

For schools, one of the most accessible routes to engaging in the Cultural Education Challenge is to sign up to the new Artsmark Award.

In September 2016, I was thrilled to join Curious Minds as their new Senior Manager for Programmes; one of which is the new Artsmark Award. I have been involved with Artsmark in a range of roles for 15 years – as a trainer, moderator and validator. A lot has changed for Artsmark in that time.

The new Artsmark has evolved into a more strategic programme, that is focused on quality rather than quantity. Gone are the percentages of curriculum time and having to work out what percentage of boys are doing dance in an after school club! The new Artsmark has been developed by schools, for schools. It is now a forward looking journey, aligned to the specific strengths and development areas of each individual school, rather than a retrospective audit of activity.

These changes mean that any school can start their Artsmark journey whatever their current provision, as long as they have the ambition and committment to broaden and improve the quality of arts and cultural opportunities within their school.

There are a wide range of benefits for schools in starting their Artsmark journey:

  • The streamlined framework supports you to focus your energies and resources in the areas that will have the most strategic impact on pupils and staff.
  • It allows you to develop meaningful partnerships with a wide range of cultural organisations and other schools through peer network opportunities.
  • It shows your pupils, parents and wider community that you are offering a broad and engaging curriculum, and that you value all pupils’ interests and abilities.
  • The award allows you to demonstrate quality in your SMSC provision, particularly Culture, for Ofsted.

Keen to get on board?

The process of registering and working towards the new Artsmark is much more straightforward.

  1. Register to start your Artsmark Journey via the Artsmark website.
  2. Pay the Registration fee. The fee covers attendance for two members of staff (including one member of SMT) to attend an Artsmark Development Day, which is an immersive day of understanding exploring and planning what your Artsmark journey will be. The fee also covers the cost of additional support along your journey and the administration of the Award.
  3. Attend an Artsmark Development Day.
  4. Complete a Statement of Commitment (3000 words) and submit it to Arts Council England, outlining where you are now and where you would like to be.
  5. You then have up to 2-years to complete your Artsmark Journey and submit your school’s Artsmark Case Study (2500 words).
  6. Your Schools is awarded a level by a specialist panel: Silver, Gold or Platinum, which is valid for two years

North West England is currently leading the way for the percentage of schools on their Artsmark journey, and Curious Minds is pleased to be delivering Development Day Training and ongoing support for schools across the region on behalf of the Arts Council England.

We are also working with arts and cultural organisations across the region to help them support schools to deliver exciting, meaningful and high quality cultural learning experiences.

To find out more, visit the Artsmark Award website or the Curious Minds website.

To find out where a Development Day is happening near you, click here.

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