Holy Cross wins Artsmark Silver Award school

Holy Cross School are excited to announce that we have achieved the Arts Council’s Artsmark Silver Award. 

This Award recognises our commitment to superb teaching and exploration through the arts.  The two-year Artsmark process has been an exciting one for both staff and students, as we broadened our use of the arts as a tool for exploring the curriculum, ourselves and our beliefs.

Over the past two years we have refreshed our curriculum, and the arts have become a driving force for enabling our pupils to imagine a positive future for themselves: growing their resilience and self-belief. Throughout the process, we have not swerved from this focus. We believe that for all Holy Cross pupils to trust that they can achieve their dreams in life, the curriculum needs to be broad, so that pupils are provided with many opportunities to shine.

Teachers have cited that during Arts lessons, pupils appear more willing to ‘own’ their learning; and their dependence upon adults is lessening. Again, this makes teaching easier and more rewarding as pupils are thinking more and thinking in more creative ways.  Governors, through their questioning of pupils, have noticed that pupils talk with greater animation about their learning than previously. They have noticed the impact of the Arts on RE and the quality and depth of understanding shown in pupil-led worship through the Arts.

Arts Week gave our older students the opportunity to work with and encourage their younger peers, and we saw the benefits of producing a written response, which had firstly been explored through music, dance, drama and the visual arts. It is exciting to see how the cross-pollination of arts and more academic disciplines can produce higher quality, more engaged outcomes.

During our two year Artsmark journey, pupils and staff have been supported in their Arts development through working with a range of professional artists and organisations: musicians from Red Butler School of Music; artists and makers from Same Sky; NADFAS; art consultant, Judy Grahame; Forest School teachers; and specialist music teacher, Daphne Starnes.  All of our older students have also had the opportunity to shine in ukulele lessons; giving them a taste of the joys of music-making and developing their confidence. In addition to this, the school has drawn on the expertise of its own staff members, including the Headteacher, who has a BA Hons in Fashion and Textile Design and worked in Europe as a designer before becoming a teacher.

We are very proud to have achieved Artsmark Silver status, and are excited as to where our creative explorations will take us next!