Top Ten Tips for Artsmark applications


To celebrate Music Education Solutions® 10th Birthday, we’re posting our top ten tips for different aspects of music and arts education each month during 2018! This month’s Top Ten gives advice on applying for Artsmark, and is written by Deborah Welch.

  1. Firstly – what is Artsmark? Artsmark is the creative quality standard for schools – it is accredited by Arts Council England and it provides a clear framework for teachers to plan, develop and evaluate arts, culture and creativity across the curriculum. The award is a practical tool for enriching the arts provision whatever the starting point.
  2. Who can apply for it? It can be delivered by secondary, primary, special schools, independent schools and Pupils referral units in England.
  3. So what are the benefits? Artsmark brings learning to life through arts and culture – pupil confidence can be increased with creativity in the curriculum, it can help encourage leadership skills and pupil voice and it can support children who do not find the curriculum easy.
  4. How will it help my school? Embarking on the Artsmark journey will support your school in accessing practical resources as well as connecting with local cultural organisations. It will also give you an opportunity to reflect on the current strengths in your creative work across the setting and identify future plans and direction
  5. But what do I have to actually do? Artsmark is all online so once you are registered you will be able to keep the paperwork in one folder – you can download the templates here. However, it is important to realise that Artsmark is very much a school development tool. It should be closely linked with your school development plan and once you begin to plan you should allow a minimum of 12 months to complete the award – the most successful schools take the full two years. You start by attending a Development Day run by your local bridge organisation. You can find your local Bridge Organisation here.
  6. Loads of paperwork then? Thankfully no! You start with a self-assessment document which helps you audit the level of provision you already have. Then you attend a development day (which is free) where you will spend time considering the two pieces of paperwork – the Statement of Commitment and the Case Study. The Statement of Commitment is the beginning of the Artsmark journey and you outline your plans in a framework of six questions – you can only use 500 words for each question. Once you have completed this and had it signed by your Headteacher and Chair of Governors you submit it to Arts Council England. You don’t submit the Case study document until you are ready for a level of the award.
  7. What are the levels? The levels are Silver, Gold and Platinum. Your self-assessment document will help you decide which level you feel your creativity and arts level currently reflects. It is important to remember that the level you are awarded when you submit your Case study is based on the impact your Artsmark journey has had on your school. Silver levels tend to reflect school that are emerging in developing their creativity throughout the curriculum, staff are developing expertise and there are clear results. Gold reflects schools that are really embedding creativity and developing best practice and Platinum school are those which are very much stretching both staff and young people, are able to offer advice and are making a big difference,
  8. So how long does the case study need to be? Well, actually – not very! There are five questions – each one with a word limit of 500 words This is a very reflective document – you have the opportunity to explain how effective your Artsmark journey has been and outline the difference it has made to your school in terms of attainment and progress. You will also have the opportunity to highlight unexpected outcomes from your original plans
  9. What else can I use to help me? You can use the Quality Principles to help you plan your Artsmark journey – they can be a useful tool while planning, delivering and reflecting upon your Artsmark journey.They are embedded throughout the new Artsmark award to better support schools to achieve their ambitions for high quality arts and cultural provision.
  10. Ok – I think this might really work for my setting – what next? You can find out lots more at here and subscribe for the regular newsletter. Contact your local bridge organization to find out what support they are offering – many will do free briefings before you commit. You can also find out about Artsmark Partners – organisations who will have a range of offers for schools who are enrolled on the Artsmark journey.

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