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Art & Creativity

“Creativity is not confined to the arts, but it also entails what the Robinson enquiry called the ‘democratic definition’ of creativity, which ‘is equally fundamental to advances in the sciences, in mathematics, technology, politics, business and in all areas of everyday life’ and which has four features: pursuit of purpose, use of imagination, originality, and the exercise of discriminating judgements of value. The arts are incredibly creative, and properly pursued they achieve the aim of ‘exciting the imagination’ which features in our list of twelve aims. But we have also stressed that both creativity and imaginative activity can and must inform teaching and learning across the wider curriculum.” Cambridge Review 2010

Intent

This Domain is based on Art and Creative work across a wide range of platforms and domains. Work is derived and developed within:

  • Combined Arts
  • Dance
  • Literature
  • Music
  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Visual Arts
  • Library Study
  • Gallery Visits
  • Film
  • Contemporary Craft and heritage
  • Exploration

Through these platforms all children are encouraged to express their ideas and feelings, communicate with each other and engage within the wider community.

All of our work in the arts is based on the seven Arts Council quality principles:

  1. Striving for excellence and innovation
  2. Being authentic
  3. Being exciting, inspiring and engaging
  4. Ensuring a positive and inclusive experience
  5. Actively involving children and young people
  6. Enabling personal progression
  7. Developing belonging and ownership

Art

“Art, craft and design embody some of the highest forms of human creativity.” – National Curriculum 2014.

Our high-quality art and design curriculum engages, inspires and challenges pupils, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art, craft and design. Art and Design is taught as a discrete area and is often linked to topic work in other domains. We are increasing our use of ‘artistes’ in school to further enhance our creative curriculum and we use artistes in residence on a rotational basis across all year groups.

Our aim is for all children to:

  • Produce creative work, exploring their ideas and recording their experiences
  • Become proficient in drawing, painting, sculpture and other art, craft and design techniques
  • Evaluate and analyse creative works using the language of art, craft and design
  • Know about the great artists, craft makers and designers, and understand the historical and cultural development of their art forms. 

Music

“I would teach children music, physics, and philosophy; but most importantly music, for the patterns in music and all the arts are the keys to learning” – Plato.

Music plays an important part in the life of the school, and we are supportive of OFSTED’s claims that music can have a considerable impact on the whole school. Our aim is for all children to: 

  • Play and perform in solo and ensemble contexts, using their voices and playing musical instruments with increasing accuracy, fluency, control and expression
  • Improvise and compose music for a range of purposes using the inter-related dimensions of music
  • Listen with attention to detail and recall sounds with increasing aural memory
  • Use and understand staff and other musical notations
  • Appreciate and understand a wide range of high-quality live and recorded music drawn from different traditions and from great composers and musicians
  • Develop an understanding of the history of music

Children throughout the school are invited to join the choir and are able to perform to audiences throughout the academic year. Our large choir participates in many community and charity events, some of these are in partnership with other schools. There are opportunities to be taught to play a musical instrument by specialist teaching and visiting instrumental teachers.

All children have the opportunity to play untuned percussion instruments. We believe that children should be given the opportunity to showcase their talent and pupils are regularly given forums to perform e.g. Christmas Productions, Class Assemblies and the annual Arts & Culture Week performances to name but a few.

At Lowbrook, we use the Charanga Musical School Scheme to deliver high quality music lessons across the school. Charanga lesson plans aid both specialist and non-specialist staff to deliver outstanding music lessons, in line with the National Curriculum. The online scheme is innovative and interactive and enables children to learn about interrelated dimensions of music through a wide variety of genres, as well as learning music notation in age-appropriate and visual ways. Lowbrook has an excellent range of tuned and untuned instruments to support this curriculum.

Professional musicians are regularly used to extend and enhance the music curriculum.

Drama

Drama has an important part to play in the personal development of all Lowbrook pupils. It develops skills such as teamwork, creativity, leadership and risk-taking. Through Drama our pupils can explore a new role, try out and experiment with various personal choices and solutions to problems faced by characters in literature or historical figures or those that mirror problems from their own lives. This happens in a safe environment, where actions and consequences can be examined, discussed and experienced without the dangers and pitfalls that such experimentation could lead to in the real world. Drama stimulates the imagination and allows our pupils to explore issues and experiences in a safe and supportive environment; it teaches them the skills of empathy and sympathy. It promotes self-esteem and provides all pupils with a sense of achievement. Drama opportunities are exploited whenever possible through all curriculum areas, for example hot seating is a regular feature in lessons.

The Academy regularly uses our local arts centre, Norden Farm, to view and participate in performances. The Academy is currently an Artsmark Gold school and continues to develop creativity through this framework.

Implementation

The allocation of time set out below is the starting point for planning, however the art in teaching is not determined by time and it is expected that teachers will act professionally within these guidelines to allocate appropriate and effective amounts of time to each area as they feel fit. 

Some subjects or units of work may be taught in blocks; or more frequently during themed weeks, therefore the weekly figure is nominal only. In the Foundation Stage, the overlap of Areas of Learning makes hourly time allocation inappropriate. Pupils at Key Stage 1 have opportunities for child-initiated or directed play.

In line with the recommendations outlined within the Cambridge Review each class works towards 30% of the curriculum being designed around our own distinctive locality. The curriculum will be planned and delivered by the class teachers, specialist teachers, higher level teaching assistants, teaching assistants and where appropriate artists and musicians.

Art and Creativity is taught as a discrete subject through units of work, which are largely based on the National Curriculum objectives, and are often cross-curricular and linked to topic work in other domains, e.g., songs and artwork from other cultures studied in Place & Time.

Drama skills are facilitated through many other curriculum areas such as Language, Oracy and Literacy, lending opportunity to develop oracy skills through mediums such as poetry. Foundation subjects such as science are also enriched and enhanced through use of drama and role-play. The addition of the Philosophy for Children programme gives further opportunity for the development of oracy and drama skills through rich discussion and activities on ethical and topical issues.

Music objectives from the National Curriculum are linked to the units in the Charanga Scheme to make their learning experience more meaningful and relevant.

The Charanga Musical School Scheme and lesson plans aid both specialist and non-specialist staff in delivering high quality music lessons, in line with the National Curriculum and Ofsted guidance. Staff are encouraged to use resource materials as appropriate to the year group and child. The development of pupil skills and progression of learning in music can be seen explicitly in the Music Progression Matrices for each year group. 

Consultation from experts in the field such as Inspire Works; Berkshire Maestros; Norden Farm Centre for the Arts and Perform for Schools theatre company also informs teaching and learning outcomes.

Children can develop their skills in art, music, and drama through individual class assemblies, to which parents and families are invited. This provides an opportunity for children to showcase their skills in the arts through performing songs, choral pieces and displaying artwork. All pupils also participate in whole school singing assemblies with Miss Wetherell and Mrs Denham, which lends the opportunity to sing in a larger ensemble and develop singing skills. In addition, KS1 perform in an annual Nativity play while KS2 showcase their performance skills through Carols around the Tree; performing as part of the Lowbrook choir to local residents; and play performances at Norden Farm, local centre for the arts.

It is our belief that consolidation of learning and knowledge is fundamental; therefore creating ‘Awe and Wonder and providing opportunities to experience a wide range of cultures and genres from around the world through the arts is key to this. The development of the Arts and Culture Week has been hugely influential with our pupils in achieving this. Annually, we design a whole week of age-appropriate arts and culture activities, and lessons are designed into our curriculum. Children work with external experts and professional artistes who develop children’s skills and knowledge through running workshops. These may include local artistes, dance troupes, craft specialists and musicians. Class trips and visits to theatres and galleries are organised and parents visit the school to share their background and cultures. The week culminates with class performances and an International Food Fair which is attended by parents and pupils, allowing the opportunity for all classes to share their work with the rest of the school and community as a celebration of the arts.

Supporting Documents

Charanga Music Scheme