Artsmark brings learning to life through arts and culture. We are thrilled to announce that Grange has been thriving on our journey to achieving the Artsmark award. Assessment of our wonderful arts and cultural journey jumped right past bronze and silver, landing us with a solid GOLD Artsmark award for everything we have been doing for the last two years combined with everything in planning phase for the next two years.
At Grange we believe that the arts have a vital role to play in the educational and personal development of young people; equally, they can contribute hugely to the dynamism, vibrancy and identity of our school.
Pupil response evidenced through newsletters and questionnaires shows high appreciation of participating in positive, inclusive experiences. 75% of students said they loved working with artists. 40% labelled their experiences as ‘inspiring’ with 60% marking ‘I like being creative, it’s fun.’ One pupil insisted “I like to go on lots of trips because I need them.” 65% recognised they learnt more than expected from recent trips with 48% identifying they now understand more about Bedford. 51% of students noted cultural trips helped them to enjoy practicing life skills such as bus travel, using timetables, maps. It is heartening to see pupils recognise their changing emotions (a daily struggle for most) and intriguing to witness the increase of supported risk taking during arts and cultural experiences both here at Grange and out in the community. “We love coming here, staff and pupils have so much enthusiasm!” Artists always leave happy about Grange’s engagement in projects.
Artsmark is a great way of acknowledging and encouraging these things as well as the exciting contribution that collaborations with arts organisations and artists can make to our school’s provision.
The most impactful project informing school wide curriculum design has been the gear up to opening our Sensory Garden to the community. Staff and pupils continue to plan for, upgrade, experience and utilise this space as alternative classroom/relaxing space for individual lessons or collaboration between subjects.
There’s a sense of school ownership and pride about the aptly named garden: ‘Ubuntu’ – we are who we are because of who we all are; quote made famous by Desmond Tutu).
We have successfully made community links for both specialism and funding of provision, amongst professional ongoing collaboration about the future of these for SEND pupils in our own and other organisations.
Pupil parliament are part of the arts journey, bringing ideas from their peers and being involved in decisions about experiences and suggestions about solutions to problems or ideas.
It’s not all just about artists and arts organisation however, Students have more opportunity due to staff upskilling/striving for excellence through this journey. Culture and creativity increases pupils’ confidence, critical and creative thinking, communication and literacy skills, improving attainment in core subjects like Maths and English.
Our Gold award clearly stated that students were “enabled to connect with their peers with the effect that their confidence has increased exponentially… students have increased their social connectivity, with the effect of improving their communication skills, physical development, mental health and well-being.”
Team Grange couldn’t be prouder.