Victoria Education Centre are one of our 2015-2016 Good Practice Centres. Adviser Belinda Ellicott has written a guest blog giving an insight to the early stages of their Arts Award project, and how they’ve built various levels around BBC Ten Pieces!
Victoria Education Centre is a day and residential Special School in Poole, Dorset offering specialised, high quality education, therapy and care for young people aged 3-19. The school has been delivering Arts Award for a number of years and has gradually expanded from just offering Bronze to delivering Discover, Explore, Bronze and Silver and, starting this year, Gold.
This year we decided to use the BBC’s Secondary Ten Pieces as the starting point for our Arts Award project and whilst in the past we have had specialist options for our Bronze and Silver students this was something we had not tried with our Explore students. So this year we combined all our Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4 and Post 16 students who access Explore, Bronze and Silver into one large group and offered them the choice of three specialist groups:
Within each group there are different abilities, different levels of Arts Award and different outcomes so we had to think very carefully about the planning and co-ordination of the project, so that all students achieved their award.
We devised a rough planning document for the whole project that included times working on specific areas of the awards so that all groups were working towards areas of the awards at the same time to ensure that staff support was consistent, and that each part was completed to deadlines. But at other times the specialist groups were able to go at their own pace as they needed to complete their work. We were fortunate that our Senior Leadership Team were supportive and saw the potential of trying this new style of working and so all the Creative Arts Team were allowed to be involved in the delivery of the project. So we were able to use specialists and technicians from each art form to ensure high quality delivery and support for the students. All of these staff, plus the senior teaching assistants for the classes involved, have had Arts Award training at Discover, Explore, Bronze and Silver level so are fully aware of all the criteria when delivering, supporting and evidencing.
The First Term – how it went
In the first week all students listened to the pieces of music, selecting both their favourite composer and the specialist group they would like to join. We created a Boardmaker sheet to help students make their choices and staff worked to support them throughout. We also discussed the different pieces of music and composers of these works and specialist group leaders gave overviews of what each group would be doing to enable students to make informed decisions.
The rest of the first half term, students worked to complete their Part C (Arts Inspiration) for Bronze or Part B (Explore) for Explore using the composer they had chosen. This culminated in a grand sharing that took a couple of weeks but enabled all the students to appreciate one another’s work and discover more about all the composers. Some students even managed to get a telephone interview with Gabriel Prokofiev and used this to create a radio show about him. Our Silver student, in the meantime, was busy planning his leadership sessions that he would be delivering to the film/drama group – as he was going to teach them how to film, download and edit using iMovie.
When we returned after half term the DVD from the BBC had arrived and so we all shared the film, which inspired us to go into our different groups and begin workshops in the art forms that had been chosen.
The film/drama group learnt about iMovie from our Silver student, so that they could film and edit their drama pieces.
The art/design group had a series of workshops on different forms of 3D construction that were based around the BBC film. These included dot patterns on clay pots inspired by the West Side Story animations, a sculpture of a road inspired by the Prokofiev introduction section and miniature worlds inspired by Night Ferry.
The music group learnt about different music production methods inspired by the different ways that music had been created and composed for the 10 Pieces. These included DJ scratching workshops inspired by Gabriel Prokofiev, songwriting/voice workshops inspired by Verdi, and using music technology to add accessibility to practical music making.
We were very pleased with how this has all worked and all the students have completed a section of their Arts Award and have started to work towards the next section. By combining different delivery methods and using staff in a targeted way for the different sections of work, the students have had maximum support to complete what they needed to by deadlines that we set.
Now that the students have learnt some skills within their chosen group they are beginning the process of creating their own creative responses to the BBC’s Secondary Ten Pieces. These will form Part A (explore the arts as a participant) for our Bronze students and Part C (create) for our Explore students, whilst our Silver student will use the time to start extending his own practice by planning his next steps.