Pupils at Northampton school join pilot scheme to boost cultural experience

Abbeyfield School in Northampton has gained an Artsmark award
Abbeyfield School in Northampton has gained an Artsmark award

Abbeyfield School in Northampton is taking part in a national cultural challenge.

It is one of nine schools in the East Midlands which have taken part in a nationwide pilot of the Arts Council’s refreshed Artsmark award, showing their commitment to providing a strong cultural education for students.

All the pilot schools were supported by The Mighty Creatives, one of 10 regional organisations across the country helping to connect schools, children and young people with arts and cultural activity.

At Abbeyfield School in Northamptonshire the arts are seen as crucial part of learning for students, inspiring creative thought and expression across all subjects.

Pupils at the school have had the opportunity to learn from national theatre and dance companies, such as the Royal Shakespeare Company and Motionhouse, as well as visiting cultural venues, including, the Royal and Derngate and Tate Modern.

Assistant principal Laura Parker said: “Artsmark has allowed us to explore new methods of teaching and curriculum design in order to provide students with inspiring and engaging stimuli by introducing them to arts companies and professionals,”

Through the Cultural Education Challenge the Arts Council wants to make sure that all children and young people everywhere have access to great arts and culture, and that every child can create, compose, and perform; visit, experience and participate in extraordinary work, and be able to know more, understand more, and review the experiences they’ve had.

Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England said: “A great arts and cultural education gives children and young people the confidence and creative skills to thrive, as individuals, as members of our society, and as the next generation of creative talent. All children and young people, wherever and whatever their start in life, should have the opportunity to have an arts and cultural education that nurtures innovation and unlocks the vital skills that are helping to drive our world leading creative industries.”

Nick Gibb MP, Minister of State for Schools, added: “An introduction to the arts from an early age is vital to producing well-rounded and well-educated individuals, able to make a positive contribution to this country’s rich cultural heritage. That is why we have ensured the arts are a key part of a broad and balanced education for all young people, and this was reflected in this year’s GCSE results, which showed an increase of 3.4 per cent since 2010 in entries to art and design GCSEs.

“The Cultural Education Challenge represents a great opportunity for local arts organisations, schools and colleges to come together to ensure all young people can enjoy an excellent cultural education, regardless of their background.”