I’m so proud to announce that my first four Arts Award students with my new business iColour Education have passed their Bronze Arts Award this week! This marks an exciting new beginning for me as I have chosen to follow my passions and set up bespoke creative education opportunities for young people in Monmouthshire. This recent success proves to me that there is a place for more creative learning in our lives and that our young people should have these opportunities.
Arts Award is a nationally recognised programme of creative learning. There are five different levels and the Bronze level sits well with Year 7/8/9 children who take part in arts based activities. Given that real GCSE options are so restricted these days the Bronze, Silver and Gold route offers a valuable option for creative young people who wish to pursue an arts rich curriculum as they progress through secondary school.
My daughter and her friends started to come around to our house to choreograph dance routines. I realised they would make ideal candidates for GCSE Dance but this option is simply not available for them anywhere in Monmouthshire. Schools have cut many additional arts subjects and governments have filled curriculums with other requirements. For example, it has been 15 years since I taught in a school which had two full time dance teachers and ran A Level and GCSE Dance for very large groups! I recently trained as an Arts Advisor and I realised that if we carefully framed a project the group of friends could extend their arts education and gain a qualification.
Through discussion with the group it turned out that two of the girls would be happier exploring a different pathway to choreography: they wanted to learn more about creative writing and how to become an author’. Over the summer term the group met challenge after challenge working on Saturday afternoons: choreographing, writing, visiting Hay Festival, taking part in workshops, recording their learning journey, researching established artists and their work. After a short hiatus (GCSE’s took over!), they proudly submitted their portfolios. These were then assessed by me, their Arts Advisor, and moderated externally by Trinity College London and one of their moderators.
So, what is next? I hope that the group will feel ready prepared to take on the Silver or Gold award in time which encourages them to continue their arts exploration. These higher levels introduce a leadership unit of work and more in-depth creative exploration and analytical work. But more importantly as a parent I can see that the way the award works the young people are encouraged to develop their own independent study habits. Setting goals, challenges and finding local opportunities that can complement their interests. True authentic learning opportunities.
I currently have one Gold student who is developing a project of their own linking drawing skills, mixed media art forms and who hopes to progress using SFX make-up and create a new piece of work. In time they will also plan, deliver a leadership project where they share their arts skills. The Gold level award carries 16 UCAS points and will be a very welcome addition to further applications for college or employment as their digital portfolio and blog will showcase their practical skills along with their logbook.
So, if you know a young person who already takes part in any creative art form (for example music, pottery, painting, drama, musicals, photography, batik, writing, cartooning, stop frame animation), you could consider if they might be interested in pursuing these interests to a higher level and gaining a qualification.
My role is to be their mentor and support the young person to plan, design and eventually document their learning journey. The all important log book can be developed in a bespoke way and can be created in any effective media form that suits the project and young person including digital video, traditional scrap books, annotated photographs. It is up the young person and does not have to be a written piece of work!
Drop me a line, or pick up the phone if you think you may be interested. I am happy to meet for a free, no strings consultation to scope out potential projects and grow the next generation of independent artists.