ARTSMARK PLATINUM SCHOOL
THE ARTS AT ROEBUCK
In September 2018, Roebuck Academy was successful in achieving an ambition to become an ARTSMARK PLATINUM SCHOOL. This is a great accolade for the children and staff at the school and recognises the journey taken in ensuring that the ARTS subjects have a high profile within the school's curriculum. We are excited to announce that in September 2023 we have been awarded Artsmark Platinum for the second time. We are very proud of our pupils, staff, parents and the community.
Since becoming the first school in Stevenage to achieve Platinum Arts mark status, we have continued to develop arts provision within the school. Staff have received in-depth training on an immersive curriculum and have linked the teaching of the arts to the wider curriculum as well as the needs and interests of our children.
Displays in classrooms and around the school reflect this.
We have developed new partnerships through arts collaboration which impacts provision for our children at the school.
Arts council feedback
Roebuck Academy is one that constantly strives to improve on its own personal best and is a strong advocate for the arts, promoting them well beyond the setting. Your commitment to research continues to influence change in practice. For instance, you have moved away from a topic-based approach to the curriculum to teaching foundations subjects discretely as subjects in their own right. It was great to hear standards in writing have improved due to work conducted with arts partners offering a range of experiences through ‘experience days.’ Developing drama skills with Trestle Theatre has led you to focus on Tier 3 vocabulary to describe emotions such as ‘startled, exasperated, sombre and bewildered’ resulting in pupils applying this vocabulary in their writing. Pupils’ suggestions influence subject planning and some pupils have been trained to be ambassadors for learning and training. Their suggestion of having an artist in residence has led to new learning opportunities for both pupils and staff. Your role in leading research in the arts has had many positive outcomes for your academy and other settings. In collaboration with the Royal Opera House, you led an enquiry-led research project on how the arts impact on language acquisition. The success of this resulted in you being awarded a further grant of £1,500 to research the arts and impact on the wellbeing of SEND pupils. Your most recent successful bid of £150,000 to the Paul Hamlyn project on ‘Create, Speak, Thrive’ in collaboration with Trestle Theatre is enabling you to develop further CPD in developing language and communication skills to remove barriers to learning. It will be exciting to hear of the outcomes in the future. You have continued to invest in your own staff’s training, and, in particular, leadership training of the arts, shared your knowledge, skills and learning with other settings. Your offer of arts support to other primary schools is making a difference to their practice and two of the schools you have supported have gone on to achieve Artsmark Gold and Artsmark Platinum. To consolidate Artsmark Platinum and to support your intention of developing the teaching and learning of equality, diversity and inclusion, you might explore strategies that use the arts and culture to minimise discrimination and promote values of tolerance and respect. We look forward to hearing more about how you continue to make a difference to others and your own setting in shaping and influencing arts and cultural provision and practice.'
Suggested next steps
Pupils’ suggestions influence subject planning and some pupils have been trained to be ambassadors for learning and training. Can you evidence the impact of this on pupils exercising independent creativity? Can you demonstrate their ownership of their learning, for instance in devising and delivering their own performances and exhibitions?
You could also consider giving pupils a greater role in supporting your advocacy work in the arts. Could they lead or speak at CPD events or act as coaches, advocates or ambassadors for high quality arts and culture provision within and beyond your setting?
Current projects include:
Year 4 are currently working with Trestle Theatre Company exploring mini masks and emotional regulation through drama.
Two teachers are working with the Create, Thrive and Speak project with the Paul Hamlin Project.
We will continue to share information about these projects in our newsletters.
We continue to work in partnership with the music service. Children have enjoyed learning to perform different instruments. We also embedded our new music scheme which will teach children how to play glockenspiels throughout the school. Some classes are learning brass instruments too.
Previously Royal Opera House and Roebuck Academy have been lead research agents in the arts. We have disseminated best practice across Stevenage, Hertfordshire other counties.
- Intent of Arts curriculum
Roebuck Academy’s Art curriculum is ambitious and is designed to give all learners, particularly the most disadvantaged and those with special educational needs/and or disabilities (SEND) or high needs, the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life.
- Ambitious subject leader partnerships with secondary schools to support transition.
- HLTA trained as a Para dance instructor.
- Music nurture group has continued this year with the music service to help a group of pupils with anxiety or have experienced bereavement.
- Arts First Research has been directed to support a class that experiences anxiety, mental health difficulties and have a high percentage of SEND.
- Roebuck Academy’s curriculum is coherently planned and sequenced towards cumulatively sufficient knowledge and skills for future learning and employment.
- Arts policy highlights transition arrangements.
- Arts practitioners in dream catcher assemblies to promote aspiration and the arts.
- Themed and arts weeks where practitioners come in and work with pupils and staff.
- Use of access art to promote knowledge and skills.
- Music scheme to promote knowledge and skills.
- Sports specialists to teach and promote dance throughout the school.
- Links being made with local theatres.
- Range of clubs provided to promote the arts.
Roebuck Academy enables learners to study a full curriculum in the arts. We ensure this by teaching a range of subjects for as long as possible, ‘specialising’ only when necessary.
- An arts week to promote drawing skills and an exhibition for parents.
- Music day led by specialists from the Music Service.
- CPD with Trestle Theatre group to promote drama.
- Links with the University of Hertfordshire where their students run a music enrichment week in school.
Roebuck Academy’s teachers have a good knowledge of the subjects they teach. Leaders provide effective support for those teaching outside their main areas of expertise.
- Leaders carry out learning walks and plan CPD based on the needs of the staff and pupils. Leaders take time to research and identify the best schemes of work to support teacher knowledge and learner’s needs, interests and engagement.
- External advice is sought through;
- Herts Music Service
- Trestle Theatre group, Royal Opera House and Specialist teachers at local secondary schools we have formed partnerships with. Leaders give staff updates after attending subject leader clusters once a term. Advice from newsletters received from Arts council and Royal Opera House are also shared.
Teachers present subject matters clearly, promoting appropriate discussion about the subject they are teaching. They check learner’s understanding systematically, identify misconceptions accurately and provide clear, direct feedback. In doing so, they respond and adapt their teaching as necessary, without necessarily elaborate or differentiated approaches. Teaching is designed to help learners remember in the long term the content they have been taught and to integrate new knowledge into larger concepts.
Examples; Systematic monitoring by the leaders identify needs for CPD. Teachers are given individual feedback and support such as coaching, observing other teachers or specialists is put into place as on-going CPD. Dance lessons spend a series of 6 weeks teaching and over learning skills to be shared in a performance. These skills are then developed and built on in the next round of lessons. Art skills are developed through access art, 10 minutes a day to over learn and practice drawing techniques with a range of Media. The Music Scheme builds in new skills which are revisited in each lesson.
- Teachers and leaders use assessment well, for example to help learners embed and use knowledge fluently or to check learning and inform teaching. Leaders understand the limitations of assessment and do not use it in a way that creates unnecessary burdens for staff or learners.
- Learning walks demonstrates teacher assessment and evidence being used effectively to inform teaching.
- Whole school assessment format has been simplified and needs to be reviewed further based on teachers and leaders feedback now it has been in place for a year e.g. Disadvantaged children, SEND need to be highlighted on each class.
- Staff could add the title of topic and discrete skills for each subject so leaders can see what has been taught and identify any gaps across the school in teaching of skills and knowledge.
Needs to be a whole school agreement and understanding of what Greater Depth looks like in the arts subjects-leaders to develop, see next steps below. Leaders need to refer to assessment sheets when monitoring through learning walks and book looks to match data with pupils and teachers assessment.
Teachers create an environment that allows the learner to focus on learning. The resources and materials that teachers select- in a way that does not create unnecessary workload for staff-reflect the providers ambitious intentions for the course of study and clearly support the intent of a coherently planned curriculum, sequence towards cumulatively sufficient knowledge and skills for future learning and employment.
Examples; A whole school art exhibition has shared the progression of skills and knowledge in drawing.
This now needs to be developed in the arts to ensure learning in the arts is shared and focussed on, e.g. whole school learning walls to show the sequence of developing skills, sketch books can be used and displayed, use of artists’ works with pupil voice sharing opinions.
Learners develop detailed knowledge and skills across the curriculum and, as a result achieve well.
Examples; Early years-exploring different Media and using the outdoor learning environment was filmed by the Royal Opera House as an example of excellent practice in developing knowledge and skills in the arts.
Learners are ready for the next stage or education, employment or training. Where relevant, they gain qualifications that allow them to go on to destinations that meet their interests, aspirations and the intention of their course of study.
- Key stage two are invited to take part in an Arts award run by two trained moderators at school. This course is delivered through a weekly club session over a year and results in a qualification from Trinity College.
- Past pupils have continued learning about the arts in further education and some have careers in dance teaching, music and arts such as fashion and design. We invite pupils to return to school to share experiences in our dream catcher assemblies.