At Molehill, we firmly believe that the Arts are a vital part of a child’s education and are integral to the development of well-rounded, balanced individuals. From the outset, our journey towards gaining our Artsmark status has been an overwhelming success in our school community, predominantly with the ‘arts’ being more readily respected and raising greater awareness of the talents of some of our young people. A fundamental change began when improving the arts curriculum and offering was included in the school improvement plan, thus creating a clear drive and commitment for improvement in this key area. We have developed an Arts leadership team and an Arts council made up of pupils from across the school who drive the development of Arts together.
The children at Molehill Primary Academy have benefited from our Artsmark journey in many ways. Participation in clubs and extracurricular activities has risen and as such a greater variety of clubs are now on offer to our pupils. Our Young Voices choir has been gradually gaining in numbers since we started in 2017 and in 2020 we had our biggest choir to date singing at the O2 arena in London. We are looking forward to taking our choir along again in 2022 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Young Voices.
Amongst all the children, there is a much stronger sense of pride and enjoyment in celebrating art in school and art work is much more visible both in school and on our online platforms. The children’s sketchbooks show a much greater progression of skills than previously seen at school and they also offer an insight into the wide experiences of the arts children are now getting at school through our broad and balanced curriculum. Pupils at Molehill Primary Academy are always enthusiastic to take part in competitions and initiatives set up and through our Arts Council; they are now a strong driving force behind what they learn and experience.
Our Arts Factory on Google Classroom, which was set up during the first national lockdown, was hugely beneficial to our pupils throughout 2020 and 2021. This online community was a place that allowed children to express themselves creatively, share any work or projects they had completed at home and maintain a sense of togetherness even though they were apart. All children who participated showed great pride in the work they posted and took many risks in trying the different creative activities suggested as well as supporting each other with positive comments and feedback.
Our Challenge Partners visit once again celebrated the success of Art throughout the Academy, ‘ Pupils enjoy the arts in school. This is because the curriculum allows them to express their creativity and emotions through various mediums. Their art portfolios clearly demonstrate a focus on techniques and application of new skills and knowledge’.
When sharing the news that we had been awarded Artsmark Gold, the assessors shared that: ‘It is clear that you value the Arts and recognise their contribution to your ethos at Molehill Primary Academy. Although some of your plans were evidently stymied by the impact of the pandemic, you have made adaptations by using online platforms so that children have been able to showcase their artistic achievements and build a sense of community. The re-launch of the use of sketch books, with a focus on progression across the school, is allowing pupils to see their creative journey and to reflect on their work … Music is a strength of your provision, with specialist music teaching; instrumental tuition for pupils in year 5; and extra-curricular clubs’.