Cranborne Middle School in Dorset are one of the latest schools to achieve their Artsmark Award. Throughout the pandemic they have been working hard to develop Arts and Culture throughout their school and are proud to have been awarded a glorious Gold! Here is what their Art subject lead, Claire Everett had to say about their journey:
What difference has the Artsmark journey made in your school?
“At Cranborne Middle, we have always held the arts in high regard. What our Artsmark journey did is help raise the profile even more, help us plan even more enriching and meaningful arts experiences for our children, both in class and extra-curricular. It gave all staff and pupils a common goal.”
What do staff have to say about their experience of Artsmark?
“Here is a quote from Nicola Jennings, our Music Subject Leader. She says of our events over the last two years, ‘Our arts offer has gone from strength to strength over the two to three years, since starting our Artsmark journey. Together with Claire Everett, our Art Leader, I think it’s given us a confidence to reach out to other arts organisations. The highlight of the last two years has to be our school production of Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat and finding out our school choir would be invited onto the main stage at Wembley during Voice in a Million-which has been postponed due to COVID.”
What surprised you about your Artsmark journey?
“The confidence it gave me as an arts practitioner surprised me. Despite my many years of experience running a department, delivering Arts Award since 2011 and teaching every day, working as a lone Subject Leader in a rural school can become quite isolating. Actually being able to say we were working toward Artsmark and now having been awarded Artsmark Gold, it has really boosted my professional confidence. The future looks very exciting for the arts at Cranborne Middle and many plans have already been made for events and exhibitions!”
What was your favourite part of Artsmark?
“I think it had to be reviewing the impact of the last two years of our journey and reading the results of our whole school arts survey. It was then that I could see, at a glance, the impact that all of our cross-curricular units, performances and arts clubs had had on all of our pupils. Reading the children’s comments about the effect that these have had on their lives was very emotional, especially over the first lockdown.”
If you had once piece of advice for an education setting that’s new to Artsmark what would it be?
“I would not be afraid and reach out and join in. You start with looking at your current arts offer, which is probably a lot richer than you think and it will give you a chance to come up with a ‘wish list’ that you have always wanted to work towards. The development day was very useful, as was the support I received from my Bridge organisation. And you have two years to work towards it. The Statement of Commitment and then, two years later, the Statement of Impact wasn’t onerous to write at all. I asked for help along the way and it brought me and my arts colleagues closer as we worked towards the targets together.”
Have you got anything else you’d like to add?
“I would say the time is now, more than ever, to start your Artsmark journey. Post COVID, with different recovery curriculums beginning all over the country, it is essential that all children have access to the arts and culture in their schools, taught by passionate staff. This offer can and should complement the ‘catch up’ curriculum of the core subjects. The Artsmark principles and the Artsmark will really help to keep the importance of the arts ‘in mind’ during these uncertain times.”
If you would like to get involved with Artsmark, you can register your setting for the Artsmark Award here. If you would like to find out more about Artsmark you can get in touch with us at [email protected], or check out the Artsmark webiste here.
Thank you to Cranborne Middle School for sharing your Artsmark journey highlights!