Artsmark is the creative quality standard for schools, accredited by Arts Council England. This accreditation is awarded to schools which demonstrate a wide range of arts opportunities to their students. It requires schools to go above and beyond the current curriculum expectations and push for arts to be taught throughout all areas of the curriculum. Artsmark describe their award as being hugely beneficial to schools as it ‘encourages the children to have the opportunity to create, compose and perform, as well as visit, experience, participate in and review extraordinary arts and culture.’
We have had to work hard to obtain our Artsmark ‘Silver’ award. We self-assessed our practice to ensure we met the necessary criteria by planning, developing and evaluating our arts and cultural provision. We dedicated an entire week to ‘everything arts’ and hosted an ‘Arts Week’, where different key stages focused on an artist and took part in a week of arts-themed activities based on that artist. The children worked in groups and on their own and learnt drawing and painting skills. The children also took part in ‘Art History’ sessions and visited an art gallery where paintings and information on the artists were displayed. The children also participated in workshops and used music, drama, literacy and art skills in each of the activities. At the end of the week, we created our own art gallery and opened the school to the public where we were able to showcase our work.
In addition to this, we have further embedded the arts into our everyday teaching across the school and within extra-curricular opportunities, such as whole school theatre trips, trips to museums and galleries, sending our Young Voices Choir to the O2 and our range of after-school clubs, including the use of ICT.
When accrediting our Silver award, Arts Council England commented,
‘the panel commends your ongoing commitment and development of the arts, which has resulted in bringing the school and wider community together. The benefits of developing creative curriculum with a range of opportunities for pupils to share, and in some instances, lead, appear to have had a positive impact on the motivation of staff and pupils. In the future, the panel would hope that you can sustain this positive momentum by developing further partnerships and embedding a wider range of opportunities within the curriculum. Congratulations on your Artsmark Silver Award!’
School Sports Games Mark
The School Games Mark is a government led awards scheme launched in 2012 to reward schools for their commitment to the development of competition across their school and into the community. Participating in this process allows schools to evaluate their PE provision and assists them in developing an action plan for future progress.
Each School Games Mark application is divided into four sets of questions and they cover the following basic topics.
- Participation – how many young people at your school are being engaged in sporting activity?
- Competition – how many different sports are being played and how many competitions are being entered?
- Workforce – how many pupils are involved in leadership activities alongside taking part in competitions?
- Clubs – how many local links does your school have with clubs or establishments from the area?
To achieve the Gold Standard Award, primary schools with between 51 and 120 students in Key Stage 2 must:
- Have a ‘B’ team
- Promote the School Games inclusive of physical activity to parents and the local community at least once a fortnight using newsletters, website, social media or local press.
- Engage a representative group of students in leading, managing and officiating in School Games activity
- Have a School Sport Organising Committee in place that influences provision.
- Utilise sports coaches to support school sport and physical activity
- Complete the self-review tool and can demonstrate some of the principles of an active school
- Have active links with at least five local community/pathways/leisure provider
- Train and engage wider school staff in the delivery of school sport and physical activity
As a school, we have worked really hard over the past two and a half years and are very proud of the Gold standard criteria we have met for the last two years running.
Junior Road Safety Officers (JRSO’s)
The JRSOs keep a scrapbook and record details of the road safety activities that they have been involved in during the year. Based on the scrapbook submitted, gold, silver or bronze certificates are awarded (in June) by Suffolk County Council Road Safety Team.
So far this year, the JRSOs have organised: Walk to school, Brightness Day, Crossroads (learning how to cross the road safely) with ABC Pre School, Crossroads with Kingfishers Class, Road Safety Week and Speed Checks with the community.
For the academic year 2016-2017, our JRSO’s were awarded the Gold Mark.
We are very proud to have achieved the Green Flag for our Eco-schools work.
We now have an established and hard working eco-committee and have an eco-code; we have made vast improvements in the way we re-cycle and compost as well as making small changes such as educating children and adults on saving energy (for example, switching lights off and making sure the taps don’t drip!) We have also ensured our grounds are well maintained, tidy and free from litter.
The Linguamarque programme is devised by language professionals and provides a targeted approach to teaching modern foreign languages in primary schools.
We are very proud of our Bronze Linguamarque which was achieved by raising the profile of French language teaching throughout the school. All classes in Key Stage 1 and 2 receive at least one hour French teaching each week and there are French language displays around the school including examples of the children’s work. In addition to this, the teaching of French raises the children’s knowledge of the French culture as well as other languages through learning different songs and celebrating European Day of Languages.
We are now in the process of aiming for our Silver Linguamarque.