Age range: 11-18
Farlingaye High School in Woodbridge were awarded their Artsmark Gold in July 2018. We spoke to Tracy Hetherington, Head of Faculty Creative Arts about their Artsmark journey.
Tell us about your journey to Artsmark Gold?
We believe Farlingaye to be a centre of excellence for the Arts. We have found our Artsmark journey to be extremely useful in acknowledging and evaluating all that we already offered, but also in driving us forward in our provision to establish new traditions and develop new partnerships and experiences for the benefit of the students, staff and community. A drive on Creativity within school, backed by the Artsmark process, has developed across the curriculum.
Artsmark has been a valuable opportunity to re-evaluate, refine and develop our Arts provision, and to reflect on a whole school approach to creativity in education.
We are now a partnership school with the Goethe Institute to enhance our students’ engagement with German culture and encourage multilingualism. At the launch event attended by representatives of the German Embassy, the Arts were a focus, with musical performances given by our students in German, followed by our students experiencing a performance and workshop with German rapper Chefket.
We have also developed a new partnership with the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham, Surrey. This year they delivered a creative futures talk to 70 students in KS4 and KS5. This explored the range and diversity of creative careers and courses available to our students after A level and beyond. This has led to the development of creative partnership with UCA and Farlingaye as “Creative Business Partners”. This will be mutually beneficial to UCA and our school for supporting students’ progression into Creative Industries. Large displays and corridor posters have been installed in school based on communicating information about progression into Creative Industries. These include visuals created by Universities with examples of current courses including technical courses and creative new technologies, and an alumni board with statements and information about our former students who are now successful in the creative industries. We are now looking forward to planning a series of talks and workshops in partnership with UCA and in further developing our whole school links to Creative Industries.
Working with artists
Our Artist in Residence scheme has been longstanding, but has developed to include a range of artists visiting students to work in school with practical workshops, which we have now gained funding for through Woodbridge Arts Society. Three artists were invited in to work with students in Textiles, Photography and Art this year to enable students’ personal progression, introducing them to new techniques and ways of working to enhance their understanding of visual communication. Maggie Davis worked with our sixth form textiles students to develop printing techniques combining new and old technologies, exploring the traditional printing press along with printing onto fabric using computers and ink jet printers. Marjoke Henrichs worked with our A level photography students to create mixed media works incorporating digital photography and paint. Andrea Newman delivered a university style workshop for our A level art students engaging them in expressive drawing and painting, looking at the communication of an idea or emotion through mark making, colour and composition.
We have delivered a song writing workshop for our KS3 students in Yr9, providing an opportunity to work with a professional musician and past student. Students learned about how to develop their skills in the process of song writing, Adam Double also gave a valuable insight into working within the music industry beyond college. Adam also worked with our music department staff and students across the school to provide an acoustic concert where students were performing alongside a professional musician, with all students and staff invited as the audience. This was an open opportunity for students to experience performing live in front of an audience, and a huge boost for their confidence, and is an excellent example of one of the authentic experiences we offer to students. This idea developed further in the summer with our Farligaye “Minifest” with students performing on an open mic in a festival style setting. This incorporated the local community sharing opportunities for well-being, arts stalls and a performance by the artist “Caswell” who’s band include former Farlingaye students.
We have delivered CPD to 60 non-specialist trainee teachers on creativity in the classroom. This was developed as part of our ongoing teacher training and development in partnership with Initial Teacher Training organisations. This was well received as an integral part of a training day with visiting delegates, and demonstrates our desire to strive for excellence and innovation.
The process also highlighted the opportunities for more cross-curricular links. A project has been developed with science and our Green Council, which has included a local litter pick with an outside organisation. The litter has then been turned into art work to create two large installations to raise awareness of plastics in the environment, with our A-level Green Council members taking ownership of the project. This was then developed with our KS3 Art Club students. The litter has so far taken the form of a curtain of plastic jelly fish, scanned and laminated photographs of colour coded litter, and macro photography. The jelly fish will be installed in the main school entrance, and the photographs will create a temporary installation in the main school corridor to create a “river” of waste that students will travel through. This has been a successful project in involving the use of art and creativity to communicate a social message and engage students from the scientific and environmental community in a creative activity. This is an an on-going and developing project with a series of artworks rolling out into the future, and has now developed into a drive on STEAM in school, with a team developing the concept in collaboration between Technology, Science, English and Maths.