“People are willing to support the arts…everyone comes together!”
Background Charnwood College, based in Loughborough, Leicestershire is part of the David Ross Education Trust. The school has a mixed demographic of students aged 11-18 years, with around 1,400 on roll.
The Challenges Prior to its Artsmark Journey, Charnwood College was keen to address the way its community valued the arts. The school had found that families often did not appreciate its arts offer until they came into direct contact with it – through exhibitions, tours, and performances. This was particularly important when marketing their offer to students in feeder primary schools. Previously the school had a more difficult relationship with the community than it does now, with a reputation built on un-truths and by-gone experiences. Charnwood College also wanted to develop the aspirations of students for life beyond the school using the arts to support this aim.
How did the journey begin? Shortly after the school had achieved its SportsMark status, the Headteacher went to an Artsmark briefing to understand more about how the arts could be elevated across the school, much in the way a range of sports were. They returned enthused and brimming with ideas of how Artsmark, and Arts Award, could support their next steps, and the school signed up to Artsmark shortly afterwards. Their Artsmark journey was supported by the Group School Offer from The Mighty Creatives, whereby numerous schools from across the trust began their Artsmark process together.
What happened? Charnwood College worked to elevate the expectations and attitudes of primary students by striving for excellence in all contact with them. This included opportunities for students to connect with Charnwood College’s specialist sites and equipment, inspiring them to undertake arts provision in their primary setting. Secondary students were provided with opportunities to work with external partners, increasing the breadth of professional work they experienced; enhanced the students’ expectations of what high quality arts experiences look and feel like.
The outcome Artsmark, and the activity the school has undertaken, has helped to build relationships (and a sense of community) across school staff that is not evident in other areas of school. Staff are fully involved in the Artsmark programme and willing to support the arts: – Historians lead the film club, Scientists make the set of the school show, staff ask to join in on trips – everyone comes together. Charnwood College saw an increase in the numbers of students engaging in the arts during weekly enrichment time, and increases in the take-up of arts subjects and enrichment at Key Stages 4 and 5. Artsmark has enabled the school to invite the wider community in and show evidence of the positive work the school creates, and in turn kickstart positive conversations about the school in the community.
At a glance The school was keen to address the way their community valued the arts. Their Artsmark journey was supported by the Group School Offer from TMC. Students were provided opportunities to work with external partners, increasing the breadth of professional work the experienced; this enhanced the students’ expectations of that high-quality arts experiences look and feel like. Artsmark has empowered Charnwood College to invite the wider community into the school and show evidence of the positive work it school creates.
“Share the vision the Artsmark process with all your colleagues. Bringing them on board at an early stage kickstarts dialogue and the opportunity to collaborate and connect across the setting”
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