At Allens Croft, the arts are taught both as explicit skills sets in their own right and to support learning across the curriculum. Each discipline is taught with three core principles in mind, whether it comes under the umbrella of performing arts, visual arts or digital arts. The core principles are:
Across each of the arts disciplines, children have opportunities to create something that expresses their ideas, feelings or thoughts. This is then presented either formally through showcase performances or exhibitions. The children have opportunities to respond to excellent examples of art, music and performance and also experience evaluating their own creations as well as that of their peers as part of a cycle to develop and improve the quality of their work.
In order to develop creative skills, play is a core part of our arts provision. Children need to explore trying out different materials, ways of working or play with ideas before being expected to make informed choices about their creations. Each unit of work incorporates opportunities for children to just "have a go" in a safe environment where "mistakes" are welcomed as learning opportunities.
Children's learning is tracked longitudinally through their school career with us to ensure a smooth learning path. Ongoing formative assessment takes place each lesson in order to tailor subsequent lessons to match the needs of the groups of children in each class. This can include - but is not limited to - observational notes, digital recordings of performances and records of self and peer evaluation through our "Showcase" system.
In order to give our children a voice in decision making and suggesting ideas, we have established an Arts Council, who meet each week to discuss relevant matters arising from each class. Each Key Stage 2 class has one representative, whose job is to gather the opinions and ideas of the children in their class and feedback at council meetings. They are also asked to perform various other responsibilities throughout the year, such as sitting on "judge" panels to respond to the quality of singing or drama work during our termly showcase opportunities.
Testimony From Our Arts Council
Our Arts Council explain some of the things we do at Allens Croft in their own words. Take a look at the video or click the links and scroll down the window below....
Take a look at the video
In Year 3, children learn how to play pitched percussion instruments like chime bars, glockenspiels and xylophones. In Year 4, we build on this musical foundation by learning ukulele as a whole class and then Year 5 get the opportunity to learn how to play steel pans and begin to create musical ensembles, who perform at various points throughout the year to the school, parents and wider community.
The children also get opportunities to present their learning in regular "showcase" lessons, which build on their expertise within core music lessons.
We were awarded the PLATINUM Artsmark award by Arts Council England in February 2020. This demonstrates our commitment to putting arts and cultural provision at the heart of our school life, which was also recognised in our most recent Ofsted inspection report (January 2019). We have recently undertaken another Artsmark cycle currently and our Platinum Arts Mark award has been renewed in 2023.