ArtsmarkCockburn School’s provision in the arts has been recognised in the renewal of our Artsmark Gold status in recognition of the school’s commitment to, and excellence in, arts education.

Artsmark Gold is the highest award presented by the Arts Council of England, designed to celebrate and reward the continuous high level of creative opportunities available for our young people within lessons and as part of our enrichment programmes. Arts Council England aims to ensure that every child and young person has the opportunity to experience the richness of the arts and they have recognised Cockburn as being a top provider. The process was incredibly rigorous and we are thrilled with their decision as we know just how creative and talented the young people here are. The assessor was particularly impressed with how we have provided many rich opportunities for our students to work with arts education professionals across all areas of the Arts.

The arts have a vital role to play in the educational and personal development of young people; equally, they can contribute hugely to the dynamism, vibrancy and identity of a whole school. Artsmark Gold status acknowledges the exciting contribution that collaborations with arts organisations and artists can make to a school’s provision. The award gives us outstanding evidence to support the cultural aspect of Ofsted’s requirement that a school promotes students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.

The award demonstrates that we:

  • have an excellent arts and cultural offer
  • are forward thinking and open to development
  • are committed to investing in our staff and young people
  • are committed to listening to our students and providing opportunities for our community
  • have an effective approach to building sustainable relationships with arts and cultural organisations
  • value the arts and culture through a broad and balanced curriculum.

To achieve Artsmark, we had to undergo a rigorous application process, followed by a validation visit from a professional arts consultant. We were assessed on many areas of our provision including arts in the curriculum, extra-curricular arts activities, how we work with artists and arts organisations and how well our arts provision impacts on staff development and the wider community

The Artsmark external assessor was particularly impressed with the following:

  • support from the Senior Leadership Team and ‘the vision for the arts as a lever to move forward attainment across the school’
  • how we provide ‘opportunities that are pertinent to the growing business sector of creative and digital media industries’
  • that ‘many of the children at the primary schools already know their Arts teachers by the time they come to high school’
  • that ‘students were very confident that they had a voice in leading activities and opportunities to develop arts leadership experience and skills’
  • how ‘student progress is assessed regularly and accurately with AfL and questioning within the classroom providing a high level of immediate feedback’
  • ‘Students viewed the school as a “very big family” with no “us and them” division between the students and staff’
  • ‘Links to the creative industries are particularly well developed and these partnerships are significant and of great quality, helping to reinforce the school’s aim to provide facilities and support of “industry standard” professionalism’
  • how ‘new skills and knowledge acquired by the teachers involved with projects and partnerships had impacted on curriculum delivery’
  • that the ‘arts flow into other curriculum areas’
  • that students said that they were ‘treated as professionals’
  • how we have ‘great potential to be a focal point for developments in capacity building within the city and beyond in training arts based teachers’.