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The Artsmark Award is the only creative quality standard for schools and education settings, accredited by Arts Council England.  It supports settings to develop and celebrate their commitment to arts and cultural education. Artsmark is available to Primary, Secondary and Special Schools, Pupil Referral Units, Youth Offending Teams and Sixth Form Colleges.

Artsmark gives a clear framework to plan, develop and evaluate arts and cultural provision. It provides evidence for Ofsted on settings meet its spiritual, moral, social and cultural requirements, supporting the wellbeing of pupils.

The process is light on paperwork and flexible to each individual setting. Teachers and educators receive professional support, advice and resources to help strengthen their arts provision, motivating and inspiring teaching staff. Schools and settings also gain access to the Artsmark Partnership Programme – a network of national cultural organisations offering specific support for Artsmark settings.

Visit the Artsmark website


Artsmark case studies from across the region have led to a wealth of learning as to how Artsmark can benefit not only your setting, but also the wider community.

How has the Artsmark journey impacted your school?

It is 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. The Artsmark journey provides a great bedrock for Arts Award delivery across the setting and allows individual pupils to gain qualifications while the setting gains its Artsmark award.

What partnerships have developed as a result of Artsmark?

We have developed partnerships with varied cultural institutions including an international arts institute which has enhanced our students’ engagement with overseas culture and encouraged multilingualism. We have also developed a new partnership with a University who have delivered a ‘creative futures’ talk to students in KS4 and KS5. They explored the range and diversity of creative careers and courses available to our students after A-level and beyond. Large displays and corridor posters have been installed in school based on communicating information about progression into the 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 further developing our whole school links to the creative industries.

How have you worked with artists as part of Artsmark?

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. Artists were invited in to work with students in Textiles, Photography and Art to enable students’ personal progression, introducing them to new techniques and ways of working to enhance their understanding of visual communication. Artists supported us to develop artistic techniques combining new and old technologies, exploring the traditional ways of working along with using computers and ink jet printers.

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, and gained valuable insight into working within the music industry beyond college. Musicians 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 students performing in an ‘open mic’ event in a festival style setting. This incorporated the local community, sharing opportunities for wellbeing, arts stalls and performances.

What impact has Artsmark had on staff development?

We have delivered CPD to 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. Artsmark can support staff wellbeing in the setting, and allows for staff to take on leadership opportunities when they share their learning and expertise with other schools across the MAT or school networks.

How does Artsmark impact cross-curricular work in school?

Arts have worked with the science department 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 jellyfish, scanned and laminated photographs of colour coded litter, and macro photography. The jellyfish 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 ongoing 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.

Arts make life better

Norfolk & Norwich Festival brings tens of thousands of people together in celebration – it has been doing this for 250 years. Through our May Festival and our year-round arts education work, focusing on children and young people, we lead and support celebration, creativity and curiosity in communities across Norfolk and the region.

This year we begin an exciting new initiative, Festival Connect & Create that will bring creative opportunities to those schools and communities with least provision. Creativity transforms people’s lives. It builds cohesive communities, develops vital skills and supports health and wellbeing. We want more people to have access to creative opportunities.

Please consider donating to support and develop this work. With your help we can increase access to the life changing power of the arts.

Registered Charity No. 116442

Amount to Donate £ 0