Creative Arts Across the Federation
At Westminster Special School; College Park and QE II Jubilee School we believe that the Creative Arts can be used in many ways to enhance the learning of our students. The Creative Arts are accessed in a number of ways; in their own right, as a conduit to other curriculum areas and as part of the integrated curriculum.
We aim through these areas to create positive learning experiences that enable our students to express themselves and celebrate their achievements as a part of our school community.
Art as defined by Westminster Special schools
- Art and Design
Westminster Special schools cater for the needs of students with a variety of needs and as such the progress is anchored within each student, and pertinent to their individual needs.
A generalist guide to progression is provided below; the model below is designed as guidance only. Westminster Special Schools meets the needs of a diverse group of students and as such notions of progress are different for each student and pertinent to their needs. We use a range of assessment tools to identify these and suggest the trajectory of development.
Our primary curriculum is as sensory based curriculum. The Creative Arts are taught discreetly within this curriculum where the Creative Arts are used to scaffold early years development, the main focus of this is to use the arts as a conduit for students to develop precursor learning skills; expressive and receptive language and to support cognitive development . Students experience a broad and balanced Creative Arts curriculum that is exploratory in nature with a focus on process.
Lessons are planned and differentiated to meet individual needs and are designed to support and facilitate development; students will explore materials actively. This creates a context where students will be introduced to a range of tools and be encouraged to use these in an appropriate manner, both musically and artistically. Students will develop agency through cause and effect by using these tools this will develop greater understanding of what they can achieve. Drama and dance allow the students to respond in a sensory fashion and explore developing understanding of how their body’s move supporting both fine motor and gross motor development and responding to another person, organising themselves to follow routines etc. Drama is used to explore and extend imagination and experiences of dressing up add to these. This is particularly important at supporting these important developmental stages that may be impaired within the SEN population.
From this a range of opportunities will be offered so that a child’s urge to create will be extended and learning will be formed around the child so that they can reach their potential, responding to a number of stimuli’s such as music, cultural experiences, artists, dancers and musicians.
Where appropriate students are taught core skills and good practice to enable students to access examination courses in years ten and eleven. In response to the needs of the students a range of courses are made available to ensure that all students access the most appropriate course that enables them to have a positive outcome at the end of their school year.
The upper school curriculum supported by the students experiences during the primary curriculum and extended; the skills and knowledge acquired is extended but pertinent to the child. The Creative Arts curriculum will look to extend skills that support the students agency; i.e. understanding how to develop ideas and problem solve to make art, dance, drama and music. These skills are supported and extended by a culturally rich curriculum that explores different genres of Creative Arts, extended by visits and working with a number of practitioners.
A broad and balanced curriculum
The students receive a broad and balanced curriculum with exposure to outside agencies and individuals to enhance learning. The schools deliver a range of experiences that reflect a range of different practices within the Creative Arts reflecting different cultures, artistic approaches and genres.
We offer a broad and balanced exposure to the Creative Arts incorporating trips to galleries, concerts, theatres, dance halls etc ,and other outside agencies and visits from individuals that offer specialist knowledge.
Westminster Special Schools - A culturally rich environment
Westminster Special Schools are located in central London, a culturally rich and diverse City and our school community reflects this diversity. As a school we aim to demonstrate this within our curriculum to raise self esteem through the provision of a stimulating, enjoyable and diverse provision affirming the different cultural backgrounds found within the school. The Creative Arts provides a rich context for valuing diversity and community.
Celebrating the Arts
The Creative Arts are intrinsically celebrated throughout the school by means of display boards and art is displayed in prominent positions throughout both schools. Performances are also integral and diverse, taking many different forms such as theatrical productions, film making, sensory stories and class assemblies, planned performances where governors, parents and carers are invited to celebrate the student’s achievements
Creativity in the curriculum
We constantly pose the question of what is creativity and how this can impact on the curriculum. At Westminster Special Schools this is an area that we are constantly exploring; from pedagogy to the tasks and context that motivates students to engage and learn to creative problem solving. We hope to facilitate students developing and satisfying an intrinsic urge to create and for them to develop agency and enable self actualisation.
The staffing structure of the Creative Arts
There is named person designated as a Lead Practioner for the Creative Arts. This person is responsible for the development of Creative Arts across the Federation and for monitoring the impact of projects as well as the class based work set in our integrated curriculum.
There are opportunities across the federation to access professional development. The federation has a rolling programme of professional development to ensure that the department is continually developing and responsive to the needs of our school community.
In our school we have specifically trained staff with specialist knowledge in the following:
- Theatrical Studies
At Westminster Special Schools we have dedicated art rooms, drama/dance studio, music rooms and sensory rooms. Drama is taught in a number of different situations and settings and several productions are delivered across the year. Dance is taught in the hall or in nearby available studios.
All departments are well resourced, this is based upon an area development plan where need is identified and targeted. Resources are aimed at ensuring that all students can access the curriculum, this includes the purchase of specialist equipment to ensure inclusivity.
The Federation works with a large number of partners who support the provision of exciting projects including national orchestras, dance companies, theatre companies and arts groups. Local arts companies also work with the school on more local projects.
There is also a programme of Family Learning in which families may come to school and take part in shared arts/and craft work with their child.
Evaluation and Assessment
How we assess
Within the Art department we assess:
- Assessment for Learning (AFL) is embedded within lessons and used as a response to individual student’s to extend opportunities
- Students receive formative assessment throughout their learning
- Students receive summative assessment; Assessment of learning (AOL) of at the end of unit and at the end of examined courses and in annual reviews
- Ipsative assessment by students to evaluate and improve their own learning where appropriate
- Where appropriate pivats are referenced as assessment tools in levelling a student’s academic progress
- Each academic year a report is sent home to communicate levels to parents and carers.
- Work with outside agencies is evaluated to inform future learning
- Lessons are observed to inform development and highlight future CPD needs and share best practice
Schemes of work and medium term planning link to the termly topic in each school and inform teaching and learning. Lessons are planned with student specific learning objectives to promote progression and teaching and learning is scrutinised regularly to enable barriers to learning to be identified and targeted.
Lesson observations are undertaken by members of SMT in each school to ensure the quality of teaching and learning and Peer to peer observations are being developed to ensure the effective sharing of good practice
Professional conversations take place regularly and encompass a wide range of educational issues and are central in developing and promoting good practice.
Performance management is strategic in implementing the vision of the Creative Arts and developing pedagogy that is innovative and creative.
We have an evaluation document that we use to monitor the impact of our work with outside agencies and to maximise the impact of future working.
We have an inclusive approach, a focus on process and a proactive, problem solving approach that maximises participation in the Creative Arts.