Students and staff at Iffley Academy, Oxford, celebrate after receiving a prestigious Artsmark Platinum Award in recognition of the school’s outstanding performance and contribution to arts education. It is the highest artistic award given to schools by the Arts Council and Iffley Academy is just one of six schools across the country in 2021 to receive a Platinum award.
Artsmark is the only creative quality standard for schools accredited by the Arts Council England. The Artsmark program encourages schools to develop and celebrate arts and cultural education throughout the curriculum, bringing learning to life for children and youth.
In order to obtain its Artsmark Prize, the Iffley Academy had to integrate its artistic and cultural offerings into its entire curriculum. They came up with a school-wide program of activities that ranged from renaming each key stage group after different galleries (The Tate, Louvre, Guggenheim and MCA) to involving students in the design of the new plan. school building art.. Iffley Academy has also worked in partnership with Oxford University Gardens, Libraries and Museums (GLAM) to deliver the school’s arts and culture program.
Iffley Academy is a special community academy for children and youth up to the age of 18 with complex special educational needs and disabilities. Deemed Outstanding by Ofsted in February 2019, the Academy was designated a teaching school in 2018 and is part of an ambitious Multi Academy Trust – The Gallery Trust, a community of specialist schools dedicated to providing education and exceptional support for young people with special needs and disabilities. The Academy is Oxfordshire’s largest special school with over 175 students from across the county.
Iffley Academy worked closely with Oxford University Gardens, Libraries and Museums (GLAM) to support the achievement of their Artsmark Prize. Students were able to visit GLAM sites, often at times when public access was restricted, where they were able to explore the GLAM collections. GLAM has also co-organized project work with the school’s teaching staff for student qualifications for the Arts Award, organized artist-led workshops, developed relevant SEND career events, and provided access to curators and to collections care staff through GLAM. Project work continued throughout the Covid crisis, with digital projects delivered online.
Since the inception of the partnership between Iffley Academy and Gardens, Libraries and Museums in 2016, it has proven to be an exemplary model of collaborative practice, the impact of which is felt both in organizations and in their communities at large. . Every student now leaves school with at least an arts degree and a better understanding of potential careers in the cultural sector. More than 200 Iffley Academy students have won Arts Awards since the partnership began.
The pioneering nature of their collaborative partnership was already recognized by the Museum + Heritage Awards when it received the second Partnership of the Year award in 2020. The Durham Commission on Creativity and Education also cited the partnership as a best practice case study in its October 2019 Report.
Participation in structured arts activities has been widely shown to stimulate children’s cognitive abilities, support their emotional and physical well-being, and increase their employability. However, children with SEND are statistically the least likely to participate in creative experiences outside of school, as families may be discouraged by emotional, medical and logistical challenges and by the perception that cultural places may not. be accessible and welcoming.
The dedication of students and school staff will inevitably lead to even more impressive and ambitious future projects, including the creation of a museum case at the school itself, which will be co-hosted by GLAM staff. in collaboration with students and teachers, the project work around the current Meat of the future exhibition at the Natural History Museum at the University of Oxford and an ambitious and immersive project in collaboration with the Bodleian Libraries Exhibition North Sea crossings in collaboration with the local artistic organization Flash of Splendor.
The Artsmark reviewer praised the Iffley Academy and said: enabling students of Iffey Academy to access exciting new learning opportunities and in particular new and exciting spaces such as the gardens. “
By receiving the prize, Tom Procter-Legg, Head Teacher, Iffley Academy, said: “We are extremely proud to have won our Artsmark Platinum Award. We are committed to providing high quality arts and cultural education, and we look forward to continuing to grow with Artsmark. “
Miranda Millward, Head of Artistic Engagement, Oxford University Gardens, Libraries and Museums said: “It has been an honor to be able to develop the Iffley Academy partnership with my team of Learning Leads at GLAM. We really enjoy working with the staff and students of the Iffley Academy and GLAM greatly benefits from this collaboration. The Platinum Award is a testament to the journey we have all made together over the past few years. It is a privilege to work with a school community that embraces creative learning.
Dr Darren Henley OBE, Executive Director of the Arts Council, said: “I would like to congratulate the Iffley Academy on its Artsmark Platinum Award. Becoming an Artsmark school demonstrates that by offering a broad, balanced and creative curriculum, young people have the opportunity to develop their character and resilience, increasing their knowledge, curiosity and skills that will stay with them until adult life.
What is the Iffley Academy?
Iffley Academy is a special community academy for children and youth up to the age of 18 with complex special educational needs and disabilities. All of our students are individuals and we pride ourselves on taking a personalized approach. Students have education, health and care plans with a range of needs, but we primarily work with students with moderate cognitive and learning difficulties, autism spectrum disorders and / or social difficulties, emotional and mental. The Academy is part of an ambitious Multi Academy Trust – The Gallery Trust, a community of specialist schools.
About the Artsmark Prize
The Artsmark Award is the only creative quality standard for schools and educational institutions. This can help unleash the potential of young people, building their confidence, character and resilience. Artsmark’s clear and flexible framework can be used to embed creativity throughout the curriculum, meet school improvement priorities, and bring learning to life in every lesson. Artsmark is open to primary, secondary and special schools, student guidance units, juvenile offender teams, and sixth grade colleges. Artsmark is awarded at three levels; Silver, Gold and Platinum.
About the Arts Council of England
Arts Council England is the national arts and culture development body across England, which works to enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities in the arts, museums and libraries – from theater to visual arts, from reading to dance, from music to literature, and from crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspire us, bring us together and teach us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £ 1.45bn in government public money and around £ 860m from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.