Guest Blog – Bourne Westfield

I am the Arts Director in a large Primary Academy in Rural Bourne, Lincolnshire. I teach curricular music from Nursery to Year 6, coordinate our peripatetic provision and run our extensive extracurricular provision, as well as oversee the planning and delivery of the wider creative Arts.

Creative Arts are a very important part of school life at Bourne Westfield and we were determined to ensure that the pandemic did not stop our children engaging and benefitting from the Arts. We knew  that the ensuring this continuity was exactly what they needed in such uncertain times, and for some we have used the creative Arts for 1:1 interventions.

We set up ‘ Busking Friday’ which encouraged children to record a creative performance in Dance, Drama,  or music, parents sent it in school and we shared this remotely during  teams assemblies. It was hugely successful and developed to an entire Christmas video ‘ 12 days of Christmas ‘ which was a compilation of children’s performances at home. This really helped our school feel connected and encouraged children who wouldn’t have normally volunteered a live performance to ‘have a go’!

We set up weekly oracy challenges via our digital weekly bulletin, which have included talking about a piece of Art. This has been such a useful activity to improve Artistic vocabulary, and observation, whilst providing a fun accessible activity.

In the class room we had to look for alternatives to using a wide variety of percussion instruments, which are difficult to clean effectively. The children have loved the addition of brightly coloured household buckets with lengths of dowel for drumsticks. Home learners have been able to join in with saucepans, and whatever they can find for ‘bucket drumming.’  This has been so successful that I had to promise that as soon as we are able: I will run a ‘bucket drumming club’.

Although we have continued to sing outside, we have also started to use Makaton, which we call ‘singing with our hands’. It has been hugely beneficial to the children’s understanding of the importance of expression. Listening to music was always important but listening for well-being has been amazing.

This year has undoubtedly been a challenge, but I can say without reservation that it has also been a time for reflection and an opportunity to challenge and reinvent. Many of the adaptions that we have had to make have changed my practice for good and for the better, and further affirmed my belief in the vital role that the creative Arts have to play in the lives of young people.

Rebecca is a hugely passionate primary creative Arts lead and is always willing to share ideas and support. She can be contacted directly by email using: