Siobhan Sullivan, Artsmark lead and teacher at Canon Sharples Church of England Primary School and Nursery in Wigan, shares her view of the positive impact that Artsmark has had on school life.
Our Artsmark journey began over 3 years ago. With a good deal of dedication and hard work, we were awarded Artmark Silver in January 2019.
The journey began with a Development Day delivered by Curious Minds. Their team have supported us throughout this process, with guidance and advice on writing our statement of commitment through to finally bringing together our case study.
Achieving Artsmark Award has not only provided formal recognition of good practice within the school but has also made significant and long-term positive contributions to school life. Children have had opportunities to experience success through a broad and balanced curriculum that is creatively driven. This gives pupils the opportunity to become creative individuals - academically, socially and emotionally - with a broader world view.
Our school's ambition is to integrate the arts into all areas of the curriculum; putting it at the heart of everything we do, rather than an 'add-on'. Our School Improvement Plan outlines the importance of arts within the new curriculum and the need to build links to other subjects, to develop key skills, invest in resources, create partnerships and use the expertise of external organisations.
Using the arts to explore foundation subjects allows the children to become immersed and fully engaged in their learning. We also regularly deliver arts weeks, theme weeks and expose our children to high quality artistic and cultural experiences.
During a recent Careers and Enterprise week, the children came up with their own designs to sell to the wider community - raising awareness and understanding of finance and financial responsibility. This included jewellery designs, keys rings, textile work and sculpture. The children were inspired to think about creative careers, as professionals came into to engage the children in Q&A sessions and demonstrations. These included an actor, a fashion designer and a DJ!
Some quotes from the children included:
‘When I grow up I want to be a designer like Lisa."
"It would be so cool to be a DJ! I want to do that when I’m older."
"I would love to be an actor and be on telly."
As well as raising the profile of the creativity within the curriculum and influencing effective pedagogy, our school has also learned about the importance and long lasting impact of celebrating children’s achievements and involving the wider community. We have now established new partnerships, and continued to build on existing partnerships, to strengthen our school's offer of diverse cultural, spiritual and artistic provision to all children across the whole school.
It doesn't stop with the Award itself. At Canon Sharples we are determined to build on our Artsmark success. We have some amazing events planned for this year, including getting our glitter paint and wellies ready for ‘Canon Fest’, our very own festival! At this event, the children will be performing through a variety of different art forms, alongside local bands, performers and professionals. Everyone is very excited indeed.
Best of luck on your Artsmark Journey, wherever it takes you!