Bourne Westfield: Helping children ‘find their thing’ through Bollywood dancing, haute couture and bucket drumming

We visited Bourne Westfield, an Arts Mark Platinum school in the small historical market town of Bourne, Linconshire, during their Art Week. 

Needless to say, it was a lively colourful day with an abundance of visual arts, music and performing arts.

This year, the Art Week had a geography theme – specifically India. Staff were wearing saris. The students were getting excited about dressing in bright clothes and throwing coloured powder over each other.

Two dancers were visiting to train each year group on a Bollywood dance. The following day, the students combined to perform a coordinated dance in front of the parents, who were also there to enjoy the many other arts activities. The students had also participated in beatboxing workshops and Maypole dancing during Arts Week.

The school is linked to the Sajoni school in India. Three staff visited Bourne from India for three weeks before Covid. From our interviews with students and staff, we learned about the nature and value of this partnership. As well as being exposed to the Indian regional artwork that was gifted to the school, Bourne Westfield children and staff were taught Tamil and had yoga workshops. Year 6 teacher and oracy lead Katie Knott describes it as ‘such a spiritual time. They bought such calm and wisdom into school’. A return visit to India fell foul of Covid restrictions. However, the students told us how they meet with the Sajoni students on Teams, and exchange bits of school uniform, art works and other items.

Students across the school had produced a range of art works for the week including these kites, elephants and tie-dye t-shirts:

Year 5 had created dresses out of recycled items (crisp packets, newspaper, bottle tops, etc). The project was inspired by a study of local history, cultural and creative heritage, and the fact that ‘godfather of haute couture’ Charles Worth was born at Wake house in Bourne. 

The extensive planning work and sketches were also on display, evidence of an extended project that looked at the fashion industry and Bourne’s influential role in it.

Also on display during Art Week was this large quilt inspired by Charles Worth’s famous peacock dress. Each student had made a felt piece which had been sewn together:

We learned how Bourne Westfield has been arts rich (and specifically music rich) for many years. 

We met members of the school’s Rock Band. Music lead and Arts supervisor Becky Beavis (Degree in Music; background as an orchestral musician) told us how, a few years ago, she instigated the project to inspire some Year 6 boys who were struggling in other subjects but showed an interest in music.

For those boys’, Becky explained, ‘it was a cool thing that they wanted to do. It gave them a positive image.’ Over time, Becky worked with the boys to build their instrumental skills (drums, bass, guitars) and repertoire. Commitment to lunchtime rehearsals was insisted upon. The Band then started to perform in community settings. 

Becky talked about the transformation she saw in the boys: 

These boys were a group who were really struggling to engage with school on every level and desperately needed something to give them an identity and some self-belief. The first time I put them on a big stage, they were terrified. To see them in that position of vulnerability was quite a moment for them. But they came off the stage saying, “Can we do it again?”. And they loved it and that became their identity in school.’

When we asked a Year 6 focus group to tell us about some of the creative things that they do at school, the Rock Band was the first thing they mentioned. They mentioned that the band had performed alongside bands from other schools at the Old Town hall two days before. We spoke directly to the (now mixed-gender) six-piece Rock Band who told us about their specially designed jackets and how they have performed alongside secondary school students at external gigs. Other students attested to the band’s popularity around the school – ‘Everybody really likes them. They will listen to them, and they will sing loads of their songs.’

As well as the Rock Band, Bourne Westfield also has clubs for the Young Voices choir who had performed at Sheffield Arena, and Bucket Drumming which had been developed as an ingenious wipe-clean Covid-defying way to make music and teach rhythm. Years 3 and 4 had recently switched from recorder to ukuleles for the same reason. Members of the Bucket Drumming club told us about the three sizes of drum (soprano, alto and bass), performing ‘Seven Nation Army’ alongside the Rock Band to 100 people in a secondary school in Boston, and how physical it is (‘it really hurts your arms!)’. One of the players told us that they had broken their bin during an out-of-school performance and had valiantly kept on playing!

Assistant head teacher Gillian Goodwin also talked about the transformational power of the arts:

‘We’ve seen it work for lots of different children’ she explained. ‘I’ve just gone down to see a little girl who has major neurological difficulties and has just spent the whole week doing Bollywood dancing. She’s just in her element!’. 

Like Becky’s Rock Band lads, Gillian explained how this girl had ‘found her thing’.

Finally, Becky talked us through the many partners with which the school works – the Lincolnshire Music ServiceShakespeare for Schools, the Royal Opera HouseMusic for Youth and the Mighty Creatives – and explained the importance of these to Bourne Westfield:  

‘The world is bigger than just here. And that’s so important particularly when you’re a rural school. I don’t want these children’s minds, cultural visions, creative aptitude and passion to be limited by the opportunities within the area that they live in. So it’s really important that they learn that what we do links to a wider thing.’

Long may Bourne Westfield reach out, connect and inspire through the arts!

RAPS would like to thank Music lead and Arts supervisor Becky Beavis for her time, insights and organisation of the day; Assistant head teacher Gillian Goodwin; Year 6 and oracy lead Katie Knott; and all of the many students who contributed to our focus group interviews – the Arts Ambassadors, the members of the Young Voices choir, the Rock Band and the Bucket Drumming club, and the students from Years 4, 5 and 6.

You may also be interested in reading our Art, Craft and Design Rapid Evidence Review – a survey of published scholarly literature on art, craft and design in education.

Beecroft Garden: On a voyage of arts-richness 

We visited Beecroft Garden on a special day – their end of year Arts Exhibition where parents and invited guests could sample the school’s curated creativity. The exhibition was themed around ‘Take One Picture’ – every artwork was produced as a response to Claude-Joseph Vernet’s A Shipwreck in Stormy Seas (1773):

Firstly, let us guide you through this impressive range of paintings, drawings, sculptures and installations, a flood of media, techniques, approaches and ideas.

Reception students has produced these huge gestural drawings – expressive waves and foamy patterns that filled a large portion of one wall:

Reception had also created these ‘Baby Waves’ out of silver acrylic paint, clay, wire, plaster of Paris and … (wait for it) … silver leaf!

Year 1 were exhibiting these ships on a stormy sea. They had worked on creating a 3D effect in the waves and used cut-up and college to place them on their backgrounds with the ships:

Year 2 had looked closely (very closely!) at tentacles. Inspired by the story of the Kraken, they had created observational sketches before they chose and blended colours. Can you spot the messages in bottles?

Year 2 had also been busy creating this ‘Colossal Octopus’ out of wire, newspaper, Modroc and bottle tops. The felt fishes swimming by were made by Year 1 students.

These Year 3 pieces inspired by the work of Kehinde Wiley blend ‘the old and the new’. They used watercolour and a glaze before framing their seascapes using embossed copper corners.

Year 4 had made these clay coral pieces while learning about how climate warming is bleaching and destroying coral in the sea. The pieces were glazed and fired in the school’s kiln:

Again, on the theme of the environment, Year 4 had collected plastic waste to create this ‘Plastic Ocean’. They had fused the plastic bags and netting together using a hot iron and baking paper. 

Those busy Year 4s had also created the Pop Art signs that hung above our heads. They had been inspired by the soundtrack of the shipwreck ‘Take One Picture’ that had been composed by the National Gallery.

Meanwhile, Year 5 students had worked in groups to create these wall-length waves. They built up the layers using graphite, acrylics, oil pastels and, what appeared to be a Beecroft Garden favourite, Brusho!

Also on display were these Year 5 ‘fast fashion’ dresses made for a DT project out of fused plastic and a mix of recycled and natural materials.

Next to the dresses was this card and plaster Pride anchor inspired by Year 6’s involvement with Pride Celebrations and marches:

Elsewhere were these large lighthouses with rotating lights:

… and animations that captured the feeling of being in a stormy sea:

Our tour of the exhibition ended with this large boat hanging upside-down from the ceiling:

A series of poems were stuck to the inside of the boat:

Underneath lay a pile of small boats, symbolically sunk to the bottom of the sea on one of the many perilous daily trips across the English Channel by refugees, many of them children, just like those who had created this moving and conceptual artwork. 

During this busy event, we got to speak with a group of Year 6 students who talked us through their artworks and how they valued the arts at Beecroft Garden. On the walls surrounding our interview table were these self-portraits inspired by the work of Tamara Natalie. The students talked us through the process of creation (it involves photography and gold leaf). 

Many of them identified these pieces as their favourite and most memorable primary school artworks. They told us how they had already made space on a wall at home and how, with this piece in particular, they could express themselves. ‘It just feels like your own’, one of them explained: ‘It feels like it belongs to you’.

They also talked excitedly (‘You can be free. You can do whatever you want. There’s no restrictions!’) about the abstract work they had created inspired by the work of Frank Bowling.

They also enthused about the street art projects they had done after studying the work of Mr DoodleArt Mongers and making the most of the school’s links with Louis Masai and Lionel Stanhope.

Finally, we spoke with Arts specialist teacher Dilys Finlay (Fine Arts Degree from Goldsmiths) and Head teacher Graham Voller (Art Degree from Camberwell College. Art Specialism from Goldsmiths). Both are practicing artists.

They told us about how the school had been in special measures (It was called Brockley Primary at the time). Glenys Ingham was appointed as Head, Dilys as a supply teacher in Reception in 2009, and Graham as Deputy Head in 2010. Glenys underpinned the curriculum with accessible arts education for all children. When Glenys retired, Graham became Head and continued to make the arts and creativity central to the ethos and development of the school.

On the subject of their success as a flourishing arts-rich primary school with limited resources, Dilys told us that:

it starts off feeling really expensive, but if you got the right people there and the vision, the money makes itself. If you’ve got the right provision, you can sell the stuff and attract funding. You become an interesting entity and everyone wants to go to your school.’

Graham mentioned how parents are now queuing up to get their children into Beecroft Garden. ‘What parents want for their children’, he told us, ‘is for them to be happy and creative and think outside the box.’

On the subject of the many cultural and creative partnerships and visiting artists, Graham explained that: 

‘you have to make sure that you’ve got the rest of your community involved in what’s going on, which is why it’s so, so important for us to invite people in. You can’t be in a bubble and do this because you want your children to feel that they’re creating something that’s got longevity and an audience.’

Dilys stressed that ‘We always try and choose people who reflect the diversity of the children here’. She also raised the idea of fostering children’s life-long engagement with the arts: 

We need to have artists coming into schools because children need to see outside people making a living. This is a career opportunity. It’s a role model.’

Graham agreed: 

‘We live in London. The creative arts in London are massive. If you break down the economy of London, visual Arts, performing arts and cultural events make up a massive, massive part of the income of this city. Chances are the children are going to have some kind of role in the creative industry, so what better way than to kind of like start them off than with creativity?’

What better way indeed.

Our sincere thanks go to Arts specialist lead Dilys Finlay for inviting us to this special event, to Head teacher Graham Voller for his insights into heading up an arts-rich primary, to HLTAs Stacey and Sebastian, and to the Year 6 students for sharing their enthusiasm for the arts and the guided tour of the school.

You may also be interested in reading our recently-published Art, Craft and Design Rapid Evidence Review – a survey of published scholarly literature on art, craft and design in education.

New Bewerley Community School: A whirl of Arts and Music

New Bewerley Community School from the air

The whirling snail-shell design of the New Bewerley Community School building perfectly reflects the school’s dynamic and ever-evolving (and long-standing) arts-richness. The arial photo above also shows the sharp edge that represents the focus and purpose that drives the arts curriculum in this Beeston, south Leeds school. A side view of this innovative building would show that the wall-length windows in the classrooms let the light flood in. The school values are ‘Include. Create. Perform.’

We had the privilege of speaking with Headteacher Gary German (Art and Education degree), Arts Lead Paige Hurley (Theatre in Performance and Theatre in Education degree) and In Harmony/Opera North resident music and singing lead Elena Camblor Gonzalez. Between them we learned that, while maintaining their strong visual arts provision, the school is focussing on expanding their performing arts offer. From our focus group interviews with students, we learned all about the many creative and artistic projects taking place.

New Bewerley are one of five schools in South Leeds that are part of the In Harmony programme funded by Opera North to deliver first class music tuition to children who may not normally be able to access that type of cultural capital. They have been involved for six years. Headteacher Gary told us how the programme is not only a way to provide expert tuition for the children but also to up-skill staff. He described how ‘it took hold of the school. We have shaped our ethos and culture around it and have grown into a performance arts-focused school.

In Harmony display board

We spoke with resident In Harmony music lead Elena about her work. Students from Years One to Six have a choir session with Elena every week. She pointed out that, with at least 50 languages being spoken at the school by students and staff from many countries, ‘singing is a great way to includes everyone and make them understand the cultures of other people, and that singing is part of their daily lives.’ We saw Elena rehearsing a group of students on a complex operatic choral piece with actions.

The rehearsal took place in the dome centre of this snail building:

Domed roof of the main hall

We learned how students build their musicianship using the Kodály method which involves lots of singing. Years Three and Four learn stringed instruments, either the violin, viola or cello. At Year Five, they can choose to change to woodwind or brass. The big music room (‘the studio’) is full of these instruments. 

Instruments in cupboards

The older students can take theirs home; they learn how to look after and respect their instruments. We enjoyed seeing them arriving at school with cellos on their backs! When asked about the impact of the In Harmony sessions on the parents and family members, Elena told us that: 

‘Music is very powerful tool in the sense that it doesn’t only include the person who’s doing music, but it makes everyone around that person be involved and touched by music.’

As well as the substantial music provision, New Bewerley are also partnered with Northern Ballet, Leeds Playhouse and theatre company Wrongsemble

Leeds Playhouse and theatre company Wrongsemble. The companies spot talented children and invite them to workshops at weekend in order to further develop their skills. Gary spoke about his mission to instil skills in his students that could help them go further in performing arts in their future schools, universities and careers.

Speaking from a leadership perspective, Gary pointed out that ‘if we are investing in music, drama, dance and art, then that becomes the curriculum. It’s not an add-on. It’s not something we squeeze in and drop something else. We have to make sure that those opportunities are woven into our long term and medium-term plans, that they’re done properly, and that nothing else is sacrificed at their expense.’

Arts lead Paige guided us around the school’s arts displays and spaces. We were impressed by the focus on ceramics (note the kiln below). 

She guided us through the spiral curriculum where students build skills in specific media through regular revisits. For example, we learned how students make pinch pots in Year One and Two by drawing them out before adding detail with oil pastels. 

In Year Three they create a watercolour wash again adding oil pastels. By Year Four they make clay Saxon cups, scratching in their designs before applying the glaze before the go in the kiln.

Year 6 students had made these multi-media final pieces, representing London during the Blitz. They used clay tiles, oil pastels and pen. 

Year 5 students had created Anglo-Saxon broaches using clay slips, adding extra textures and embellishments before incorporating textiles in the form of weaving and sewing.

Students have also made these clay Remembrance Day poppies:

Year 3 had worked with artists Skippko on a six-week series of ceramic and multi-media Science-themed projects. Entitled ‘How does your garden grow?’, the work incorporated photography, flowers imprinted into clay, and creating and decorating clay pots with images of still life plants.

The school were also partnered with The Tetley Contemporary Art gallery in Leeds for which New Bewerley were a flagship school. Through The Tetley, Year Four had been investigating Ghanaian art, language and symbols.

The students’ sketchbooks were full of vibrant drawings and paintings, including these artworks produced after studying Jean-Michel Basquiat during Black History Month. In these activities, the students have used their reading skills of retrieval, interpretation and commenting on the creator’s choice to understand a variety of media. 

New Bewerley are working towards their Cultural Cohesion Quality Mark:

Students had created art and creating writing on the subject of inclusion with reference to murdered local MP Jo Cox:

Finally, Paige had recently created an arts ‘dictionary’ so that teachers and children can look up an arts-based word with which they are unfamiliar. Not only does it give students the vocabulary for critically engaging with the paintings, sculptures and other artworks, but it contains knowledge about art forms, artists and key ideas.

There is a clear journey to success that the arts-based curriculum takes us on’, Paige told us.

Many thanks to the students of New Bewerley and to Headteacher Gary German, Arts Lead Paige Hurley and In Harmony/Opera North resident music lead Elena for speaking with us.

You may also be interested in reading our recently-published Art, Craft and Design Rapid Evidence Review – a survey of published scholarly literature on art, craft and design in education.

Springfield Juniors: Giant Jewellery, Jubilee and Puppetry

Our visit to Springfield Juniors in Ipswich corresponded with their festival for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. All day, the school was buzzing with parents and family members. 

Musical theatre performances and choirs performed in the main Hall and also in the cool performance space (pictured above) that links the two main buildings. In other rooms, parents visited exhibitions of students’ arts and craft and soaked up the creativity that flows through this arts-rich school.

Up until this point in our visits, we had only heard about schools’ preparations for the big event. Today was the real thing! But as every teacher knows, and as Head teacher Louise Everitt explained, the performances and colourful displays of Queen-themed hats, cakes (being sold to raise funds) and other art works are ‘a combination of many weeks of work and planning’. 

Louise told us that ‘it’s great to have parents coming back in to see exactly what we’re doing’ and how the event was an opportunity to share the students’ learning and promote conversations at home. The school also has regular Tea Afternoons where parents can learn about what their children are learning and gain some skills alongside them.

Some background: Springfield Juniors (344 students in Years 3 to 6) is a Rights Respecting school on a terraced street one mile outside of Ipswich town centre. While the school has a long tradition of arts and creativity, and still retains a strong commitment to the visual arts, there has been a recent shift of emphasis towards the performing arts. 

We spoke with Assistant Head and Arts and Culture lead Beth Taylor (they also have specialist teachers for Music and Art). She described how her recent year-long training on the Leaders for Impact course with the Royal Opera House Bridge had reenergised her commitment to arts education. With only 12 to 16 places offered each year and a rigorous application and interview process, Beth enthused about the power of being immersed in workshops, sessions and networks of ‘like-minded amazing people’ who advocate for arts and cultural educational. 

I was passionate before,’ she told us, ‘but now feel like facilitating a cultural and creative education is my calling.’ Beth has now set up an Arts and Culture Network for leaders and teachers in local schools.

Clearly, Beth’s commitment to the arts and culture was contagious. Year 5 and 6 students talked enthusiastically about visits to and performances in Snape Maltings, a concert hall in a rural area about 20 miles from the school. 

They had also made ‘jewellery for giants’ out of ModRoc. These massive rings and trinkets could be found all around the school:

Jewellery for Giants: Author’s hand included for size!

Annually, Year 6 students work with the Young People’s Puppet Theatre (YPPT). The students told us how they had created their own knee-high puppet from a wooden kit. They had then chosen and made the clothes, created the hair, and painted the faces and hands. They told us how they had begun creating and decorating the sizable backdrops for the staging area, all the while learning how to operate the puppets and create scenes and stories.

Since our visit, Beth sent us some of the feedback from parents and students about the puppet performances:

‘YPPT helped me realise that just because we are young, it doesn’t mean we can’t do hard work. We can do anything we want now and in the future.’

‘What a fantastic opportunity for all the children. My son said it has been the highlight of his school experience so far.’

Read more feedback on this innovative project here (parents) and here (students).

Each of the other year groups has a half-term, timetabled project with an outside organisation or artist in addition to their regular arts provision. Year 5 work with the Shakespeare Schools Foundation/The New Wolsey Theatre (An Ipswich theatre); Year 4 with African drum-makers Wooden Roots and Year 3 with dance artist Sam Moss

The rest of the year is punctuated with additional opportunities as and when they arise. These include working with performance poet, author and script writer Murray Lachlan Young,  local illustrator and muralist Catalina Carvajal and local author Fred Sedgwick as well as trips to the local libraries and museums. 

Beth told us how the intention is to allow children to absorb as many cultural and creative experiences as possible so they are able to form opinions, a sense of self and learn transferable life skills.

We spoke with the Arts Ambassadors. They told us how they are involved in planning and shaping the arts curriculum. Their opinions, suggestions and ‘voice’ feed into a cycle of learning. Each cycle has to start with a ‘Wow’ moment – usually a trip or visit from an artist – and end with a product, performance or exhibition. Their planning documents were attached to their own dedicated Arts Ambassadors board:

The arts here are embedded into all subjects. It is the ‘golden thread’ that runs through everything. The students’ skills, talent and creativity were on show on the busy walls, filled with a wide range of media, and in their sketchbooks.

The Battle of Hastings was represented in these long 3D murals and as a comic strip:

Soil erosion had been investigated through dance:

We also learned about the ‘creative careers assemblies’ where students get to interview a range of professionals from creative industries. Beth told us how she was keen to ensure that ‘what we’re doing in school reflects the culture of our society and increases the cultural capital of the children in terms of experience and opportunity.’ 

We asked about how the school’s arts and culture impact on the local community. Beth explained how ‘some of the parents didn’t get the opportunities that were providing for their children. Every child in this building impacts a myriad of people because we’re talking about some really large families and communities in this area.’ 

She went on to describe how the school are ‘doing the same for the parents as we’re doing for the children. It is all vicariously through them.’ 

With the feast of arts on offer on this special day, it was lovely to see parents and family members fascinated, amused and sometimes moved to tears by the children’s creativity. 

We would like to thank Assistant Head and Arts and Culture Lead Bethany Taylor for organising our day and sharing her thoughts and experiences, Headteacher Louise Everitt, and the selection of Year 4, 5 and 6 students, and members of extra-curricular clubs that we spoke with.

Stained glass window with individual students’ self-portraits

You may also be interested in reading our recently-published Art, Craft and Design Rapid Evidence Review – a survey of published scholarly literature on art, craft and design in education.

St Andrew’s Church Primary: A Green School Without Walls

St Andrews Church Primary front

During our visit to St Andrew’s Church School, we learned about two main things; the influence that the school building can have on learning and wellbeing, and how students learn outside of the school walls. Both factors – the inside and the outside – have been the subject of considerable and ongoing research (much of it involving St Andrews) which has been put into practice at this creative arts-rich primary.

The school building (the school is bigger than just the building!) is located in central Bath just behind the iconic Royal Crescent and near to other Georgian buildings, such as The Circus, the Jane Austen Centre and other places of historic and cultural interest.

The Royal Crescent

Headteacher and Arts lead Jayne Rochford-Smith explained how St Andrew’s children spend extended periods (weeks) in theatres, galleries, museums and other cultural sites, learning alongside artists and the venue’s staff. 

St Andrew’s have been part of School Without Walls for about 11 years, a project developed by Dr Penny Hay and late Headteacher Sue East in collaboration with the Egg theatre in Bath with St Andrew’s as one of the founding partners. Jayne, who has a degree in Fine Art and a Postgraduate in printmaking, was Head of Early Years and Special Educational Needs Coordinator at the time. She worked closely with Sue and Penny to further develop the project. 

School Without Walls is underpinned by the Reggio Emilia and House of Imagination approach of allowing children to find and follow their fascinations with the adults facilitating this and scaffolding the learning though a method of co-enquiry. School Without Walls … places the children at the centre of their own learning. By transplanting them into a cultural setting, the conventions, behaviours and habits associated with the ‘classroom’ start to fall away.’

Jayne told us that the two questions that drive the school’s approach are: Where can creativity come from? and; What can we use in our city?

We learned about the initial phase of the project which took place 11 years ago in the Egg Theatre. Jayne explained how, all through the summer term (about seven continuous weeks), the children worked with the team at the Egg Theatre: ‘They worked with the lighting engineer. They worked in the café. They worked in helping people on the reception. They learn about roles and jobs. They learned about communication. They learn maths. They learn English through a creative environment.’ 

Following this longer project, the ‘School Without Walls’ research was developed into mini projects which allowed for the wider school to experience placements within cultural centres and to use the city for learning. Each class chooses where they want to go. On some of the projects the children then work with and an artist and a documenter.

Through research, we have learned how we learn alongside children, and we are the co-constructors, rather than the directors of learning. You’ve got to be responsive to what’s happening on the day. We take them on a creative journey’ Jayne explained.

Our learning journey – reading area

We learned about an actual journey to the Holburne Museum which took place when Jayne was teaching in Early Years. Fifty-four children were immersed in the theatre for a week. Jayne told us how ‘the 45-minute walk down to The Holburne and the journey back were as much of that exploration as the time there’. On their return journey, the children saw an old-fashioned horse-drawn carriage on the street transporting a couple to their wedding, which led to wedding-themed arts projects on return to the school.

This work has underpinned the development of the St Andrew’s Connected Curriculum. A curriculum designed and built around the City. We were shown a collaboratively produced map of the many local landmarks and cultural and creative places that can be walked to from the school. These include not only galleries and museums but parks, the hospital, a city farm, the council offices, the cinema and the train station. Children have also visited the Ancient Technology Centre in Dorset and have collaborative relationships with Age UK, the local church, secondary schools and Bath Spa University.

My job as a Head,’ Jayne commented, ‘is to maintain the collaborations I have with the city. And if you don’t do that, then the school becomes a very insular place’.

This outward-looking approach is balanced by the school’s research-based focus on their internal environment. As newcomers to the school, we were struck by the emphasis on plants, natural light and fresh air. The chairs, tables, floors and other elements of the classrooms and other spaces are made of wood and natural materials. The learning spaces are decluttered. 

Desks and chairs have been arranged so that every child can see outside the classroom. Classrooms are designed around a central outdoor space with a tree. 

We browsed the school’s extensive Green Classrooms (a ‘collaboration with the Universities of Bath and Bristol, and CaSA Architects to understand the impact of design on health, wellbeing and learning’) Report. This gives precise data about heating, temperature, ventilation, air quality, humidity, acoustics and other factors.

The report has been acted upon with new wooden floors, automatic window vents in the roof and practical processes designed to maximise the children’s learning and wellbeing (and that of the staff) through a biophilic approach. The attention to detail has produced calm, nature-focussed, non-reverberant spaces that we as researchers responded to very positively.

St Andrew’s is also an Eco School and a Stonewall School Champion.

Referring to Loris Malaguzzi’s ‘The Hundred Languages of Children’, Jayne observed that:

If you’re going to teach children, you need to know what language they’re speaking.’ 

St Andrew’s creative arts-rich child-led pedagogy is giving children the best opportunity to speak and be heard.

Our sincere thanks go to Head teacher and Arts lead Jayne Rochford-Smith for her time, insights and openness. Also thanks to Ellen Weaver (Humanities lead and Year 4 teacher), Niamh Collie (Music lead) and the Year 4, 5 and 6 children with whom we spoke during our visit.

You may also be interested in reading our recently-published Art, Craft and Design Rapid Evidence Review – a survey of published scholarly literature on art, craft and design in education.

Nancledra: How a remote Cornish primary stays connected through the arts and creativity

Nancledra School front

Despite being the most remote school in our RAPS project, and one of the smallest, Nancledra Primary is a great example of how the arts can be used to connect the students to big ideas while reflecting the creativity of the local cultures, past and present.

To set the scene – the school is located about four miles inland from St Ives on Cornwall’s north coast. We drove past farms and fields – down single-track lanes with high hedges. There are no nearby shops, pubs or amenities. 

Head teacher Rick Hill told us about the diversity of the 110-strong student body; farming families; alternative/creative lifestyles (off-grid, living in yurts, etc); families that own bars, hotels and restaurants; families who work for those who own bars, hotels and restaurants (the majority).

We were told how some students travel from Penzance and other towns and villages, attracted by the school’s arts-richness, small class sizes (15-20 in combined year groups), rural location, and the stability provided by long-serving staff (including Rick).

About 15 years ago, Rick and a group of other Heads of Cornish schools discussed how they could broaden their offer and better reflect the history and culture of West Cornwall. They agreed that the area has a long and ongoing legacy of attracting creative people – potters, sculptures (such as Barbara Hepworth), painters, poets and musicians. The continually updated arts curriculum reflects this local artistic culture. 

Art lead and Class 2 teacher Georgia Barker told us about the students’ visit to Penlee House Gallery and Museum. Studying the local landmark paintings there taught them about the centuries-old fishing culture. 

Craft, Percy Robert; ‘Hevva Hevva’; Penlee House Gallery & Museum

The gallery was full of ‘fishing scenes, widows who’ve lost their husbands, sea scenes and old cobbled streets. They do a brilliant thing where the characters come to life. A lady dresses up in a shawl and she talks about the paintings. We learned that, in the olden days, when the pilchards were in the bay, they would shout ‘Hevva! Hevva!’ from the top of the hill. That would mean they’d see an oily dark spill and all the men would run off to their boats.’

Rick, Georgia and Music lead Lucy Ainsley also told us about visits to Leach Pottery and Tate St Ives, which contains a gallery of local-themed art alongside the contemporary pieces. We also learned of a joint-schools singing performance at festival at St. John’s Hall in Penzance; and a guided tour around The Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Gallery in St Ives.

Lucy told us how, alongside other schools, the students of Nancledra has performed at the jaw-dropping open-air cliff-top Minack Theatre for the G7 partners and wives (and one husband!) when the conference was held in Cornwall in June 2021. Check out the BBC’s news report. Their performance – “Ocean World” – was about the migration of Humpback whales and the disastrous effects of plastic pollution in the oceans.

Minack Theatre

Despite these undoubtedly inspiring places and experiences, Rick stressed that ‘living at the very end of a very narrow peninsula with 270 degrees of sea around us’ offered relatively few places to visit. On a practical level, staff need a D1 classification on their licence to drive the mini-bus – automatic for those who passed their test 25 years ago, expensive to train and test otherwise. Parents and their cars are recruited for visits. 

In recognition of their geographical isolation, the school receives sparsity funding (based the on average class size and distance from other primary and secondary schools) via the national funding formula.

Rick, himself a keen musician and singer, also points out the damage that the pandemic and lockdowns have done to the performing arts: 

‘Singing used to be absolutely outstanding here three years ago. Before Covid, you could have come in on a Friday morning, and listened to our primary school choir singing with four-part harmony.’

Lucy and Rick assure us that the choir is regaining its strength. Students were learning ‘Singing in the Rain’ (from 1952) for the Queen’s platinum jubilee. 

Rick mentioned that he had set up a Dads’ Choir as a plan to compensate for the gender bias against boys in the school choir. Rick and the local farmer dads rehearsed once a week and sang in schools. Mission accomplished, there are now plans to start a Mums’ Choir.

Students told us about learning the ukulele and other instruments in school, taking peripatetic lessons, and playing and singing in a lunchtime school band.

As well as the visits and performances, we saw lots of evidence that Nancledra was reaching out and connecting through the arts. Like Newlyn Primary, Nancledra has a display of loaned art from Newlyn Art Gallery and Cornwall Council as part of the Think, Talk, Make Art project. These include Plasticine Painting (1995 Laura Godfrey-Isaacs), St Ives Crabber (1949 Kate Nicholson), Judith in Hospital (1986 Timothy Hyman) and Sirens (1930 Leonard Fuller) – all included below.

Arts lead Georgia had attended network sessions with Isabel Stephens, Head of Newlyn Primary, and CPD sessions with Melanie Cox from Gomersal Primary (see previous RAPS blog posts for Newlyn and Gomersal). She told us how the students were now using their sketchbooks in a more exploratory fashion. 

Georgia introduced us to the recently-arrived Ukrainian student, a sign of Nancledra’s openness to new cultures and new ideas. 

Finally, after our focus group interviews with the students, a Year 5 member of the school’s extra-curricular art club was keen to show us their artwork. We will leave you with this charming selection of their animals, and celebrate the skill, talent and teaching that produced them.

Many thanks to Head Teacher Rick Gill for his time and organisation, Art Coordinator and Class 2 teacher Georgia Barker, Music lead Lucy Ainsley and all of the students who spoke with us about the arts that they do at this fascinating school.

You may also be interested in reading our recently-published Art, Craft and Design Rapid Evidence Review – a survey of published scholarly literature on art, craft and design in education.

High View Primary: Plymouth’s thriving arts-rich community hub

Here at RAPS, we are fascinated by the role of the arts-rich primary school as a hub for community creativity. High View in Plymouth is an excellent example of how the arts can reach, engage and transform children, parents, families and wider communities.

As the name suggests, High View has a panoramic outlook on the landscapes and seascapes of Plymouth and its environs. This hill-top perspective reminds us that we are only three miles or so away from Plymouth’s iconic marinas and docks. We are in fact in Efford, a distinct community with its own cultural identity. Read on to find out how the students of High View are documenting their local community and its culture through art projects.

Built twelve years ago, High View is the result of the merger of two local primaries. Arts coordinator and SLT Jenny Hobbs told us how, as part of a building design team, the students were involved in the planning process, making decisions about the colours of the walls, the décor, the classrooms and toilets. 

Our base for the day was the music room. This space doubled as the stage area of the main Hall and could be separated by a retractable wall. The professional lighting rigs, sound equipment, hanging theatrical microphones, black stage curtains and raked seating, made it clear that this space was perfect for big performance assemblies (with students working the lights, writing scripts, dancing, acting and singing) and termly productions. In addition, the school had recently hosted a creative education network conference in this space.

As well as the sailing, horse riding and other extra-curricular clubs, we learned about the extensive provision for music instrumental playing. We spoke with Gem Smith in her role as the school’s creative education ‘guru’. She is the school’s dance teacher. High View students are also taught dance by Exim Dance in an extra-curricular club.

Gem, in her role with Take A Part, supports the school with arts/creativity CPD, and also helps link the school to community art projects, finds the right artists and crafts people, and helps with writing funding bids. Gem supported High View on their journey to become Plymouth’s first Arts Mark Gold school.

And while the performing arts were clearly thriving at High View, the visual arts had an equally high profile. 

Students had looked at LS Lowry for their perspective drawings, William Morris in the context of the Victorians for their own printed wallpaper designs, and Stone age cave art to create their own paints out of natural materials.

Year 4 had been studying Swiss painter Paul Klee. The students showed us their sketch books and talked us through all of the class discussions and arts activities that were inspired by looking at Klee. The class had made a wider study of Egypt and its art by discussing Klee’s expressionist painting Legend of the Nile and his travels in Africa. They had created a colour wheel, talked about the emotions of the artwork, particularly the emotions of colour, and expanded their emotional vocabulary which, Jenny told us, was linked to English, Oracy and PSHE.

The class had discussed their various opinions about Klee’s work and of abstract painting. Their in-class mini art exhibition, where they walked and talked about each other’s work, led to conversations about techniques, the intentions of the artist, interpretation, personal preference, and the subjective nature at art. 

Some of the students’ work on Egypt had made it to the High View Museum. The wide range of sculptures, death masks, mummies and hieroglyphic art works were created at home with parents in a no-pressure inter-generational project. Jenny told us about a child coming to school with a ‘whole entire pyramid, made out of clay bricks where the top lifts off and you can see Pharaohs in coffins’.

Headteacher Jody Trayte told us about Crazy Glue, a parent-and-child art group. Every month, parents come into the school to work with artists alongside their children on different art projects. These can open up community and city-wide opportunities for exhibition and projects, such as acting as exhibition tour guides for their peers on contemporary arts exhibitions like the British Art Show. The project originally targeted ‘hard to reach’ parents but has expanded to encompass a range of community arts projects and creative curriculum opportunities.

The school is also involved in the annual Children’s Parade as part of Plymouth’s Respect Festival.

Our bike rides (Liam has a fold up bike!) around Plymouth’s marinas, ports and The Hoe gave us a strong sense of the city’s maritime history, its continent-discovering past, and its ferry port-and-docks present. However, Gem told us about one of the school’s community art projects that was designed to map the cultural past and present of Efford.

Shortly, the students will begin work on a travelling museum. Gem explained how, with the artist Tom Goddard, ‘about eight children and their families are going to interview community members, gather stories and then make objects linked to those stories. They will walk the community and tell their own kind of stories and ideas about their area and its history’. This museum of art objects will travel around Efford and the two other communities involved (Whitleigh and St Jude’s) in a converted cargo bike.

Gem told us how important it was to collect these stories from areas such as Efford that ‘are not really told and aren’t represented in Plymouth story’. Just two or three generations ago, this area was farms and fields, giving it a cultural history distinct from Plymouth’s tourist branding around Francis Drake, the Mayflower and the Pilgrims.An old pub sign hangs next to the school. It used to sit across the road in the local pub but was found rusting away in nearby allotments. The team spoke to the landlord of the pub and got inspired by stories about why the landlord made people smile. This new one created by students working with artist Tom Goddard to capture the stories around the community.

‘I’m really proud of what we do here,’ Jenny told us, ‘… which is why my son comes here’.

‘I love the positivity that art can bring’ she continued. ‘I love what they can do for mental health and confidence. It’s so important to me that children feel valued’.

As an arts-rich hub for community creativity, Jody, Jen and Gem have set the arts bar high. Jenny summed up the school’s aspirations: ‘We just want to give our children the very best. That’s what we want the arts to do’.

We wish them all the very best in the work they are doing.

Many thanks to Headteacher Jody Trayte, Arts coordinator and SLT Jenny Hobbs, creative education ‘guru’ Gem Smith and all of the students we interviewed on the day.

You may also be interested in reading our recently-published Art, Craft and Design Rapid Evidence Review – a survey of published scholarly literature on art, craft and design in education.

West Rise Juniors: An incomparable Room 13, Bronze Age, water buffalo-herding school in Eastbourne

You may have seen one or two of the many news reports (Channel 4), TV features (Blue PeterCountryfile) or documentary films (School by the Marsh) about West Rise, an award winning primary school set in a large housing estate, two miles from the sea in Eastbourne.

Click picture to watch West Rise on Blue Peter

You may well have read the headlines about how the students are taught to use guns and knives, or how they forage for food and get to pluck, gut, cook and eat pigeons.

You may be aware that the school leases 120 acres of Bronze Age marshland from the council, on which they have installed a herd of water buffalo, a flock of sheep, cows, pigs, chickens, ducks and geese.

Water buffalo on The Marsh, West Rise Juniors

Or perhaps you’ve caught a whiff of the rumours about how students make art out of the bones of the dead sheep, the skins of the snakes, and bits of other deceased and rotting animals that they find on The Marsh.

Maybe you’ve picked up on the reputation of Headteacher (and current arts lead) Mike Fairclough, through one of his conference talks or books, seen photos of him riding a quad bike pulling a trailer full of kids, or maybe heard him defending the educational use of ‘dangerous’ weapons on mainstream breakfast television?

So why would we, the RAPS team, be at all interested in West Rise when our focus is on the arts?

Well, as we shall see, the school’s values – risk-taking, creative freedom, trust and the autonomy of the students – inform not only their extensive Forest School provision, (led by Helen Stringfellow – they also do ‘Beach School’ on their own beach!), but also the many arts activities that we were lucky enough to see and hear about during our visit.

If you were unaware of West Rise’s love of the rugged outdoors, then you might know them for their Room 13, a student-led arts space in which we conducted our interviews. This creative space is located in a separate building from the school. Forest School equipment is downstairs, Room 13 upstairs. 

Mike came to his Headship interview with the idea of starting a Room 13. With funding from the Arts Council, ten students, their parents, staff and governors flew to Fort William, Scotland to see the original Room 13 and find out how it works before putting their ideas into practice.

The arts provision at West Rise is supported by Karen Stephens, a Higher Level Teaching Assistant and Room 13 lead. She is also the current artist-in-residence at the school, following in the footsteps of a digital artist/animator, ceramicist and book illustrator who have worked alongside the children in Room 13.

The students who comprised the Room 13 committee told us of the benefits that the space and the creative ethos gave to them: 

‘It boosts our imagination, and a kid with a good imagination can turn into something amazing when they’re older’ one of them told us. 

‘It’s making us unique … we can make our own things. We can express ourselves freely and not just do what everyone else is doing’ another explained. 

All of the students in the school get to use Room 13 and from the copious materials, and stacks of art works either drying or in progress, we got a sense that the space was well used.

The school also has a radio station – ‘Sunshine Radio’. Students DJ and broadcast music from there during lunchtimes. Oh, they also have a dark room for photography.

Clearly the ubiquitous creative ethos and Karen’s input into the school’s project-based arts curriculum were informing the art works we saw. We enjoyed these Picasso-inspired one-line drawings, Year 4’s pencil work, and students’ explorations of Mondrian, Haring and other artists.

Some of the painting and drawings that we saw were linked to local geographical features such as the Long Man of Wilmington, a stone/chalk figure cut into a hill, the Snake River, The Wish Tower, the white cliffs of Beachy Head, and other locations strongly associated with the Battle of Hastings, the Napoleonic Wars and World War 2.

As well as smelting to create pendants out on The Marsh (see the Blue Peter video), the students had created pots, beads, tiles and other ceramic pieces in the style of the Bronze and Iron age communities that once lived so close to their school.

Relatedly, the older students had been involved in creating the Causeway and Bronze Age Roundhouse over the lake in The Marsh. Thatching, woodwork and installing large upright posts in water point to the school’s embrace of craft, and design and technology.

The causeway on The Marsh

Mike, Karen and the students also told us about the exciting outdoor arts they had done with Bill Leslie from Leap then Look. Students had participated in sound design and manipulation projects, made floating sculptures, created films and curated an outdoor exhibition. They had also made banners about creativity and the freedom of the arts which they marched around the lake while shouting slogans advocating the arts.

Mike explained that underpinning Room 13, the Forest School work and all of the other arts and crafts activities are the values of gratitude, kindness, resilience, wellbeing and positive psychology.

In the context of this powerful holistic vision, we can see that water buffalo were, indeed, essential!

The last word goes to Mike (from his book): 

I am an artist at heart … My school is my creativity’ (Playing with Fire, 2016: 28).

Our sincere thanks go to Headteacher Mike Fairclough and Room 13 Lead Karen Stephens for welcoming us into their school, and to all of the Year 4, 5 and 6 students for telling us so much about the exciting arts and crafts projects that they do.

You may also be interested in reading our recently-published Art, Craft and Design Rapid Evidence Review – a survey of published scholarly literature on art, craft and design in education.

Nottingham’s favourite outlaw has an arts-rich school named after him. Welcome to Robin Hood Primary

Robin Hood Primary is a lively arts-rich school in Nottingham. To be precise, the school is situated four miles north of Nottingham in the large Bestwood housing estate, not far from the local town of Arnold. 

Robin Hood Primary in Nottingham

Despite our previous visits to Robin Hood primary on other arts-related business, there were so many new things that we learned about the school during our visit there on a frosty day in January.

For example, we never realised that the school buildings are completely surrounded by green space. It’s perhaps no surprise that the school keeps chickens and that all of the children do Forest School activities in specially created areas. 

Arts Lead Kerry Whiting told us how the students had been making art out of mud and sticks. There was lots of outdoor space for on-stage performances and the reading/learning Tepees, as well as an impressive Gaudi-esque structure that doubles as learning space. 

On our tour, Kerry pointed out lots of individual outdoor and indoor areas that had been developed for break-out, chill-out and small group learning purposes. 

We spoke with Clare Farrelly who has recently started leading Key Stage 1 Music. She also leads the Forest School sessions. We knew that this school takes their music seriously, and it was interesting for us to find out more about how they had been working with Nottingham Music Hub for the past nine years. As we discovered, Nottingham is one of just seven cities running the In Harmony programme, part-funded by the Arts Council. Robin Hood’s KS2 students all get to play either violin, viola or cello.

Clare told us how her KS1 students were enthusiastically working through some of the BBC’s Ten Pieces units. She told us how the singing in class and in assembly, coupled with rhythm and pitch work, was providing a valuable foundation for the extensive instrumental and vocal work that the students do in KS2.

Classroom made of hay!

Unsurprisingly, Robin Hood has a large hall for group rehearsals and public performances. Both ends of the hall can be used as a stage. Like the other musical schools we have visited, Covid has had a profound impact on rehearsals and performances. In 2021-22, Robin Hood are redoubling their commitments to music, dance and drama. 

The school also has a decade-long links with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the associate artists in drama, dance and visual arts. The partnership has led to Robin Hood students performing a Shakespeare play in Stratford.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream display

The school also has long established relationships with Nottingham Contemporary. Working with Assemble – architects from London – students’ clay work will form part of a big exhibition there in the Spring. Robin Hood also partners with Lakeside ArtsNew Art Exchange and Nottingham Castle. We know that there has recently been a big Paul Smith (Nottingham-based clothes designer) exhibition at the Castle. So we were excited to see that the students of Robin Hood had been recreating Smith’s trademark stripes and designs in their sketchbooks. 

Lastly, Robin Hood has an artist in residence who is bringing out the play in everyone. Laura Eldret specialises in multimedia work, installations and play – paper play, water play –  and getting older children and adults to play as part of their art making. Kerry was excited at how Laura was introducing new activities and methods to get staff and students to think about art in playful productive ways.

The school is looking forward to further embedding their dance offer by working with nearby Park Valley Academy, and to working on arts projects for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this summer.

We would like to thank Head teacher Nicky Bridges, Arts Lead Kerry Whiting, music teacher Clare Farrelly and all of the staff and students at Robin Hood.

You may also be interested in reading our recently-published Art, Craft and Design Rapid Evidence Review – a survey of published scholarly literature on art, craft and design in education.

Everything with a purpose: Decluttering and decolonising at Billesley Primary

There is a sense of purpose at Billesley. Everything is done for a reason and often, that reason is research. 

The school’s 11-year journey from special measures to outstanding has involved centering the arts and embedding them in everything from the curriculum to the redesign of the physical infrastructure. Principal and Research Director Karl Rogerson, Vice Principal and Curriculum Lead Asima Iqbal explained to us how, working with Billesley’s then Executive Principal and now Head of Curriculum and Virtual School for The Elliot Foundation Multi Academy Trust Johanne Clifton, they made the decision to address issues of student engagement, behaviour and communication, and build morals and respect through a well-informed arts-rich approach.

Lead Practitioner and Arts Lead Angie Watson, currently studying for an MA in (Arts) Educational Leadership, told us how, as one of the Education Endowment Foundation’s 28 Research Schools, Billesley serves as a hub for educational research, sharing and discussing findings with other schools (including the other 28 schools in the Trust) through courses, webinars and coaching programmes. Research is also shared and utilised in the school through an extensive CPD and mentoring programme. 

Research on the impact of classroom design on students’ learning by the University of Salford led to changes that have included decluttering the learning spaces and corridors, making classrooms and reading spaces more comfortable and ‘homely’, adding lots of plants, softening the lighting and completely re-vamping the toilets. This is known as Biophilic design. 

Responding to the idea that the physical environment can improve not only academic success but behaviour and wellbeing (of staff as well as students), the school was ‘cleaned up’, redecorated and rebranded using just three colours – white, purple and green – the colours of the Suffragettes. Karl, Asima and others took an analytical child’s-eye view of the classrooms before removing anything that might distract the students from their learning by overloading their working memory. This included taking down many of the arts displays on the walls. We learned that the students had visited the nearby Digbeth Custard Factory and Selfridges store to get a perspective on what their new school environment might look like.

The critical analytical approach extends to the students. As part of the Philosophy for Children (P4C) programme, students regularly practice their skills in questioning, discussion and reflection, digging deeper into what they feel about the arts and what particular art works and artists might mean to them.

Billesley is also a Rights Respecting School (see also our blog post about Torriano). They have used their focus on the Articles of UNICEF’s Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) to frame projects on child refugees, child slavery and other issues. Asima told us how this works in practice at Billesley. Students not only know how their arts and other work links to one or more of the Articles, but also discuss how they can be proactive about their Rights. More importantly, Asima asserts, the students think about how to be proactive about the Rights of children in countries where they don’t have Rights, countries that have not ratified the treaty (such as the USA and Somalia). 

Billesley is a Rights Respecting school

Asima told us about a scheme in which the students boxed up presents and items for children in need. She told us how ‘that second level, about being proactive as a global citizen for children across the world, is probably more relevant for these children now because, even though we’re in an area which is quite deprived, they do have a standard of living and quality of life that wouldn’t be on the same level as children who haven’t in terms of Rights’.

Relatedly, Billesley has the Red Tree Fund, a charity set up following the death of a much-loved TA. The Red Tree Fund which focuses on developing the physical and mental well being of all children and has contributed towards developing ‘safe spaces’ across the school , and a Community House that distributes food boxes and serves as a comfortable space for families, carers and support workers.

Of course, we got to see some of the students’ art work, in their sketch books, in the corridors and on the new plinths. We also got to hear about their dance, drama and music lessons; Ray’s whole-class drumming sessions were proving very popular!

We aso learned about the school’s decade-long association with Stans’ Café who have worked on theatre projects, a giant marble run, the long roll of local neighbourhood-focussed art work that we saw on our visit, and the whole-school student-led research-based ‘What is a School?’ performance and book.

Billesley, which represents over 40 languages and 50 cultural backgrounds, also partners with Birmingham Rep, The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games (through the British Council), the RSA’s Performing Pedagogies, the Open Theatre (with a focus on autism) and is involved in other university research projects such as the Durham Commission and their research into creativity in education.

During the lockdown in 2020, Billesley conducted a thorough review of their curriculum, embedding the arts more deeply, and making sure that it reflected the needs of the ever-changing community. Decolonising the curriculum meant that Columbus and Darwin were replaced by radical women.

While there is comparatively little mention in this post of the specific arts activities in which the students are involved (rest assured, the students told us about plenty), we want to thank all at Billesley for helping us build a detailed and nuanced picture of what arts-rich schools do, how they reflect the community, who they link with, what they look, sound and smell like, and what they stand for.

Thanks to Lead Practitioner and Arts Lead Angie Watson, Principal and Research Director Karl Rogerson, Vice Principal and Curriculum Lead Asima Iqbal and the students of Billesley for sharing their thoughts and experiences and for welcoming us into their school.

You may also be interested in reading our recently-published Art, Craft and Design Rapid Evidence Review – a survey of published scholarly literature on art, craft and design in education.

The ArtsMap video for this school and the others in the RAPS project are available on the RAPS Youtube channel. The videos have been produced by students to showcase the arts in their primary school.