St. Aidan’s sees the Arts as a vehicle to engage with self-expression through opportunities in music, dance, drama, art, creative writing and design and cultural experiences. St. Aidan’s see the Arts as a means of preparing a child for the skills and attitudes required for contemporary life by exploring creativity and imagination, to develop confidence and self-esteem and to experience joy, beauty, and wonder. This creative process involves verbal and non-verbal communication.
Access for all
All pupils are timetabled to have access to and participate in the Arts regardless of level of Special Educational Need. Talent is nurtured through use of visiting specialists and opportunities for performance in key events and weekly assemblies. Student voice is enabled through ‘school council’ and through ‘open’ dialogue with staff. Children are awarded leadership opportunities in class i.e. ‘Art Monitor’ and other ‘backstage’ responsibilities to support school productions.
We aim to ensure children receive a rich curriculum by organising extra-curricular events such as school trips to the theatre and to a range of educational and interesting places, and by inviting visiting performers to the school. We collaborate with outside companies to develop our skills and display our creativity for others to enjoy in the wider community. Choirs have performed at the O2 and other Choral Festivals. We welcome theatre groups including Ten-Ten Theatre, Bigfoot Education and acclaimed artists including Brian Moses.
There is also a wide range of after-school clubs offering diverse approaches to the Arts.
The National Curriculum for music aims to ensure that all pupils:
• Perform, listen to, review and evaluate music
• Be taught to sing, create and compose music
• Understand and explore how music is created, produced and communicated.
At Saint Aidan’s Catholic Primary School, the intention is that children gain a firm understanding of what music is through listening, singing, playing, evaluating, analysing, and composing across a wide variety of historical periods, styles, traditions, and musical genres. Our objective at Saint Aidan’s is to develop a curiosity for the subject, as well as an understanding and acceptance of the validity and importance of all types of music, and an unbiased respect for the role that music may wish to be expressed in any person’s life. We are committed to ensuring children understand the value and importance of music in the wider community, and are able to use their musical skills, knowledge, and experiences to involve themselves in music, in a variety of different contexts.
At Saint Aidan’s, the music curriculum ensures students sing, listen, play, perform and evaluate. This is embedded in the classroom activities as well as the weekly hymn practice, various concerts and performances and the learning of instruments. The elements of music are taught in the classroom lessons so that children are able to use some of the language of music to dissect it, and understand how it is made, played, appreciated and analysed. Through Sound start, students learn how to play an instrument. In doing so they understand the different principles of each method of creating notes, as well as how to read basic music notation. They also learn how to compose focussing on different dimensions of music, which in turn feeds their understanding when listening, playing, or analysing music. Composing or performing using body percussion and vocal sounds is also part of the curriculum, which develops the understanding of musical elements without the added complexity of an instrument.
Whilst in school, children have access to a varied programme, which allows students to discover areas of strength, as well as areas they might like to improve upon. The integral nature of music and the learner creates an enormously rich palette from which a student may access fundamental abilities such as: achievement, self-confidence, interaction with and awareness of others, and self-reflection. Music will also develop an understanding of culture and history, both in relation to students individually, as well as ethnicities from across the world. Children are able to enjoy music, in as many ways as they choose- either as listener, creator or performer. They can dissect music and comprehend its parts. They can sing and feel a pulse. They have an understanding of how to further develop skills less known to them, should they ever develop an interest in their lives.
At St Aidan’s, we appreciate that Art has a large part to play in the whole child ethos, that children are provided a wide range of abilities other than just academic opportunities for their social and emotional wellbeing.
We implement the following:
· Children take part in regular weekly Art lessons, where children are exposed to a range of different media and can demonstrate their skills and ideas in both a free thinking but also guided activities.
· We are able to provide a whole school Art Day in the Summer term to explore children’s skills further and expose them to different methods of working within Art through visiting different classes and teachers.
· Each classroom has their own Art supplies to work with on a daily or weekly basis. This offers opportunities for the children to apply their skills and ideas according to the current project in their classroom.
· Children in KS1 use Art regularly within their usual lessons as well as more specific Art lessons when necessary. In KS2, children are organised into a whole class guided Art lesson but still given the opportunity to use their own ideas within the lesson.
· There is an extra stock of Art supplies available in School co – ordinated between the TA who orders Art supplies and the School’s Art co-ordinator who is currently a KS1 teacher.
· Occasionally there will be a request for materials from home such as recyclable materials to aid the school in a larger project and we expect families to help support us in this by providing where possible, the relevant materials.
By the time children leave St Aidan’s we hope that they have both an appreciation and enjoyment of Art, as well as gaining extra skills or trying new ideas that they would not otherwise have had the opportunity to do. We hope this will have a positive impact on all areas of the curriculum in the children’s presentation skills and organisational skills.
Teachers are provided with time to plan the Art curriculum. As part of this planning process, teachers plan many activities and co-ordinate with each other through staff meetings to ensure full coverage of the overall School curriculum and to make sure there is no overlap or repetition of artists or activities.
Teachers must assess children regularly against the School’s Art assessment programme on a termly and end of year basis. These regular assessments inform planning and allow teachers to identify any gaps in provision.
Teachers are supported in their assessments by the Art co-ordinator.
Volunteers are a welcome asset particularly during our whole school Art Day.
Through the teaching of Art, our aim is for children to be able to have some basic skills by the end of Key Stage One. By the end of Key Stage two, children have developed their skills to use finer details and techniques. This way, children can focus on developing their individual talent and interest for Art as they move through the school. Attainment is measured by outcome using the school’s assessment at the end of Key Stage One and Two. These results are kept as a record in house and to determine where improvement in the curriculum is needed. We give all children the opportunity to practise the mindfulness of Art and to enhance their interest in Art as a recreation but also as a life skill. We promote Art as part of our wider school curriculum and ensure that bright and encouraging wall displays are regularly changed and meaningful to all the children in our school. Children are encouraged to develop their own love of artists and styles and to critique their work objectively. This enhances an enjoyment of Art, galleries, multicultural displays and personal opinions or choices as part of the children’s British culture; for the wider community that they live in and their future life as young adults.
Every year, each year group has an opportunity to perform ‘on stage’ to a wider audience: children in Reception and Year 1 perform in a Nativity; Children in Year 2 and Year 3 in a mid-year production; Year 5 perform the Easter Passion Play; Year 6 an end of Year production.
Dance is taught through the Val Sabin scheme and as part of the P.E. Curriculum.
In addition to the class led dance sessions our pupils are also able to attend the ballet and tap/modern after school classes.