In 2017 Wildern School achieved Artsmark Platinum for its opportunities and promotion of the arts and a commitment to continue supporting these.
The Platinum award is the highest recognition and was awarded in all of the following areas:
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
Wildern’s vision and journey for the arts remains a top priority within the School Development Plan. The arts are an integral part of Wildern life. Wildern students have access to a high quality arts curriculum throughout their Wildern life and this will not change.
Within the quality of teaching and learning development plan there is a clear objective for all staff to work to uphold of ‘maintaining the principles of creativity to encourage and support student learning through role play and drama, sound and music, moving image and media, movement and dance, visual imagery and art and heritage and culture.’ All staff are engaged in keeping this central focus alive and allowing students to access the arts in all subject areas. Regular monitoring and observations by Directors of Learning and the Senior Leadership Team ensure that this is taking place.
Our journey so far has been full of wonderful and exciting opportunities for our students as well as opportunities to share our vision and ethos for the arts with local schools, communities and outside agencies. These opportunities have been available to us because the culture of the school ensures Wildern is at the forefront of the arts.
Our Artsmark journey has been even more successful than we had anticipated and one of the main reasons for this has been our ability to reflect and identify ways to continue to move forward. Wildern School’s vision ensures the arts continue to flourish not just on site but within our partnership schools and the community.
One of Wildern’s aims is to maximise the opportunities students have to access the arts and culture alongside ensuring our learners experience ‘real life’ opportunities. This was no more apparent than a unique opportunity offered to the Wildern Dance Department to perform in the BBC ‘Ten Pieces’ Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in July. Wildern was one of 5 schools to be invited to perform at this prestigious event following participation in the BBC Ten Pieces project. Wildern’s passion and drive for the arts ensure opportunities like this take place and highlight Wildern as a flagship school for the arts.
Wildern’s journey has also had even more of a positive impact on the arts provision of the local community and primary school cluster than we had envisaged. An example of this is through timetabled primary outreach time we have been able to regularly support our cluster schools to provide high quality arts provision and establish strong roots to build outstanding arts education from non-specialist teachers at a primary level. This has also enabled the primary schools to begin their own Artsmark journey and embed our ethos of valuing the arts across all subject areas.
We are pleased to be able to reflect on our journey so far and see that we have exceeded our own expectations in ensuring the arts flourish in our school as well as across our local community.
Both the Artsmark statement of commitment and continuation with the Arts Award have influenced change at whole school level and with the new partnerships established.
Wildern actively promotes and encourages participation in arts and culture as well as providing students guidance in these areas as a career choice. Students participate in arts careers days with local colleges and theatres and have opportunities to meet and work alongside people from arts and culture industries such as actors, dancers, choreographers, artists, musicians, composers, and directors.
Wildern’s Artsmark journey has triggered a review of what we can offer to other secondary schools and feeder primary schools to support their growth and development in the arts.
Wildern has begun to support feeder primary schools by offering them the opportunity to have teachers of music and dance lead lessons focussing on building specialist skills in these subjects. As well as providing primary children with high quality teaching and learning in the arts it has developed as a CPD opportunity for primary staff to enrich and build on their ability to teach across the arts. Primary staff have been able to reflect on their pedagogy and apply the methods and techniques used in these sessions to enhance their own teaching and learning in the classroom and beyond.
The art department have supported two local secondary schools in leading CPD sessions on different techniques in GCSE Art and Photography as well as assisting in planning schemes of working and sharing resources. This has enabled these schools to have a much clearer idea of how to plan for high quality teaching and learning and created strong links across the community.
Schools without specialist facilities have been offered opportunities to host arts focus days in the Wave lecture theatre and perform in the Berry Theatre to give their students ‘real life’ high quality experiences in the arts. This allows Wildern to take a lead in pushing arts and culture to the forefront not just in its own school but within the bigger teaching community.
The School has seen innovation and change across all subject areas. Each department has reflected on their pedagogy and made changes to the delivery of topics across the school. In English Romeo and Juliet is not only being analysed in the classroom but also performed from a script to allow students to access the text in different ways. In humanities planning, filming and editing animation videos has helped to develop knowledge of key events.
As well as promoting the arts through the school there has also been a focus on creativity through whole staff meetings. The Senior Leadership Team lead a meeting focusing on creativity in the classroom using colour, and a diverse learning space with trampolines and a filmography based activity to inspire staff to be imaginative in their planning. The ethos at Wildern is to lead by example and from this session staff were inspired to implement more.
Wildern has been awarded the Music Mark to acknowledge and celebrate the hard work they do to ensure that pupils are able to access and engage with a high-quality music education.
We were nominated and supported by Hampshire Music Service who have recognised the value that we place on music and requested that we become a Music Mark School Member.
Wildern is and always will be a flagship school for arts and culture.