Cultural Learning Alliance

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ImagineNation: The Case for Cultural Learning


Arts Award Contributes to School Objectives

Based on feedback from many specialist schools running Arts Award, the booklet profiles six schools in detail.

"Schools often express the view to inspectors that examinations do not always capture students’ developments in and through the arts. However, schools which offer Arts Award often provide convincing evidence of schools’ personal journeys and wider achievements." Ian Middleton, HMI

"Arts Award really helped me to find my independence when working in an artistic setting – it gave me more confidence and organisational skills and allowed me to realise the range of opportunities available to young people in the arts." Rosie, Gold Award Achiever, Beckfoot School

"Arts Award builds skills students may not always have access to in the curriculum and enables different pathways through a subject area" Fionnula Rogers, Director of Specialism, Willingdon Community School

Arts Award is a range of unique qualifications open to anyone aged up to 25, and is managed by Trinity College London in association with Arts Council England working with 10 regional Bridge organisations. Schools report that Arts Award has a positive impact on students’ literacy, engagement and attendance. As well as deepening students’ art form knowledge, the award develops their creativity, leadership and communication skills. There is a choice of four qualifications that are recognised on the Qualifications and Credit Framework. Accreditation starts at Entry Level 3 and goes up to Level 3, which has 35 UCAS points attached. There is also an introductory level. Students can progress through all five levels or start at the stage that best suits them.

The quotes above come from the publication, Arts Award: developing creative students in specialist schools (SSAT, 2009). Based on feedback from many specialist schools running Arts Award, the booklet profiles six schools in detail.

Researcher Marina Castledine poses the question, ‘Can Arts Award support… applied learning, community cohesion, inclusion, partnership working and transition?’ And the answer, in different ways, is YES, as the following examples demonstrate.

Applied learning
Roding Valley High School (Essex) talks of offering Arts Award to all students in years 8 and 9, to stimulate arts participation and contribute to personal learning and thinking skills (PLTS). The staff believe that Arts Award gives students the freedom to direct their own learning, evaluating their own work and setting high standards for themselves.

Community cohesion
Chingford Foundation School (London) links Arts Award with family learning at their Saturday Arts Club with an Arts Award Parents Forum supporting students’ activities. Arts Award provides a framework for young people to organise community arts events and be involved in running activities in local primary schools.

Royal Manor Arts College (Portland) offers Arts Award to young people in their special needs unit who might not otherwise work towards an arts GCSE subject. Through Arts Award, these students grow in confidence, developing oral skills and bonding as a team within practical projects.

Find out about Arts Award at

Request a hard copy of Arts Award: developing creative students in specialist schools (SSAT, 2009) from


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Gold Arts Award students at Bodmin College, Cornwall. Photo by Kirstin Prisk
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