Artscool in Schools

We are all very aware of the challenges schools today face; the Governments academic expectations, squeezed budgets, limited time for anything other than the 3R’s. Yet OFSTED want to see ‘a broad and balanced curriculum’ fit for the 21st Century

Over time with a greater focus on numeracy and literacy teachers and students have had less training in creative subjects and now many lack the confidence and skills to teach these, yet we know that classrooms brimming with creativity bring learning to life and enable children to reach their full potential across the curriculum. Schools have reported that they have:

  • Inadequate teacher training in the arts leading to poor quality provision
  • Limited availability of arts toolkits to support non-specialist teachers
  • Unclear understanding of OFSTED’s expectations of creativity or definition of criteria for good and outstanding arts provision.

I’m encouraged and hopeful that leading figures are starting to speak out about the importance of the Arts and Creativity in schools including HRH Prince of Wales, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Vivienne Westwood, Bob and Roberta Smith and of course, the incredibly inspirational Art and Textiles teacher,  Global Teacher of 2018 Andria Zafirakou, who feels so passionately that she has invested her prize money to get artists into schools.

‘’we believe that every child should have access during their time in school to the benefits that arts and culture bring. If we care about social mobility, wellbeing and personal fulfilment- and if we want our creative industries to continue to flourish- every child must have a creative, arts-rich education.’’

Government statistics show Creative Industries contribute £91.8bn to our economy.

Artscool has been created by me, Abby. I am on a mission to get our children creating!  I aim to raise the standards of art education in Carlisle and Cumbria, whilst appreciating the realities, practicalities and challenges of everyday school life.

I too believe that all children are entitled to and benefit massively from creativity in their education; that art provides inspiring opportunities that enable them to thrive, enjoy and excel as well as developing skills in a range of techniques and materials. That children can realise and enjoy their own creative strengths and a sense of success; ‘I did that! I made that! I took part in that! Creativity in the curriculum can nurture children into rounded individuals by developing their ability to make independent choices, be innovative and to think creatively in all aspects of learning. That develops self-esteem and confidence, emotional resilience, social and communication skills.

I have 20+years of art teaching in secondary and primary schools, and 10 of those being an art curriculum leader. I have a fine art degree, years of knowledge and experience in a range of practical skills and techniques as well as a passionate interest in the arts and education.

From my experience of working with and talking to primary teachers two things stand out: Teachers know how important art is and how much children benefit from it, but many lack the confidence, time, knowledge and skills to teach it.  Yet by investing the time it brings the curriculum to life and deepens understanding and enjoyment.

I design bespoke and inspiring projects and workshops that combine skills, knowledge and enjoyment. Children gain experience in a range of media, techniques and design processes through investigating art history and visual literacy.

My suggestions and workshops are absolutely practical and implementable, because they are developed by an actual art specialist and school teacher.

I can:

  • Plan and deliver workshops, whether a one off or longer art projects, such as focussed art weeks
  • I can provide longer term art teaching or PPA cover.
  • Support you with Artsmark journey and I am a trained Arts award advisor- Discover, Explore, Bronze and Silver.
  • Provide staff training and workshops to improve confidence in practical skills, art history and visual literacy in your school or within a cluster.
  • Work alongside teachers to refine and improve existing art curricular
  • Input art elements and build on art contextual links in existing topic work
  • Provide afterschool sessions for children or teacher.
  • Work with you to generate ideas and create special or larger scale artistic creations, such as murals, centenary events, improving your local environment, working with your local community, and help you to source funding.

Yes, of course we need to satisfy the governments demands for attainment, we understand the importance of the academic subjects, but we need to balance this with making sure that our children know the importance of the Arts and Culture; that they can realise creative skills they have or didn’t even know they possessed! That learning is fun, exhilarating and exciting, it’s ok to make mistakes and to take risks. That they become rounded and marvellous individuals who have the creative mind-set to make the world a great and happy place to be. This is what the Arts provide, and this is what we want for our children!

If you want your curriculum to not just focus on Maths, Science and English, but to give children the confidence to explore, use their imaginations and take risks; to be adventurous and be inspired then please get in touch, I would be delighted to work with you!