Last awarded in NOVEMBER 2019:
Cockburn School’s provision in the arts has previously been awarded Artsmark Platinum status in
recognition of the school’s commitment to, and excellence in, arts education. Artsmark is Arts Council England’s award recognising excellence in cultural education. It celebrates schools’ commitment to embracing arts across the curriculum and bringing creative learning to life for children and young people.
Cockburn School has a long standing involvement with Artsmark and has previously held the Artsmark Gold status (detailed in the Archive section of this page below). The Platinum Award has been achieved following two years of development, which began with an assessment of the arts and cultural experiences already on offer in the school. Cockburn School are currently in the process of renewing this Platinum status for 2023/24.
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 the school were assessed on many areas of their provision including arts in the curriculum, extra-curricular arts activities, how they work with artists and arts organisations and how well their arts provision impacts on staff development and the wider community. They are thrilled with the decision as they know just how creative and talented the young people of South Leeds are.
In previous reports, the assessor was particularly impressed stating that “Cockburn School demonstrates a strong and longstanding commitment to maintaining an arts rich curriculum.” The school’s partnership with the Leeds SCITT and Leeds Trinity University was seen as a huge strength. This partnership trains arts teachers of the future and is extremely successful. The assessor also highlighted that Cockburn School “acts as a leader and influencer for other schools within your MAT, regularly reviewing pedagogy and policies to extend the high quality arts provision to a larger percentage of students within the South Leeds area. You plan collaboratively as a MAT to ensure consistency. It was very encouraging to hear that a lead inspector for Ofsted was extremely impressed with the arts provision and drew particular attention to the confidence and enjoyment in the Arts by boys. Also, in March 2019 the Local Authority conducted a one day review and concurred with the Ofsted inspection that there is exceptionally strong practice at school noting that the provision in the Arts drives the school and has a significant impact on student progress and attainment. Congratulations on your Artsmark Platinum Award!”
Darren Henley, Chief Executive of Arts Council England, said:
“I would like to congratulate Cockburn School on their Artsmark Award. As an Artsmark Platinum school, Cockburn School exemplifies how the Award can help schools to achieve a broad and balanced curriculum, ensuring that each of its pupils is given the opportunity to explore and build a love of the arts that will remain with them as they go through adult life.”
Rob Dixon, Head of School at Cockburn School said
“The Platinum Artsmark attests that arts and cultural provision is flourishing in the school, and there are so many more creative prospects lined up for the coming academic year and beyond. I am extremely proud of the professional work that our students and staff create. 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 high aspiration for pupils is very well understood and shared by all staff. Central to this purpose is the idea that Cockburn School must inspire its pupils. Leaders meet this aim through the design and delivery of a broad, rich curriculum. Pupils’ creativity is nurtured and developed through an arts curriculum that is rare in its scope and ambition
The rewards system is connected to extra-curricular activities. As a result, this encourages pupils to take part in the extensive extra-curricular offer that leaders have developed."
OFSTED OUTSTANDING FEB 2022
Cockburn 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 was 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’.