Arts, Culture and Creativity in schools – all areas that Bluecoat Beechdale Academy has a strong vocation to cultivate, both on site and within its community. We are proud to say that ongoing efforts have culminated in achieving recognition for the Artsmark Gold Award.
Artsmark Gold Award is a young person-led qualification that encourages creativity as well as independent learning. Not only does it encourage young people to develop their arts practice, it also means they will lead an arts project, investigate topical arts and get involved in the arts world. Developing a portfolio is a large part of the work produced which brings together all the new found knowledge, critical thinking as well as an array of other skills such as problem solving, communication and management skills. Much of the skill set developed is required for the working world, and therefore young people gain an insight into life as an arts professional – understanding the different roles in the art world while getting to grips with leadership expertise.
Gaining this prestigious award (Gold naturally being the highest level obtainable) has involved months and years of hard work in which the Arts, Technology and Drama Departments have worked on a number of stimulating projects. In the words of the awarding body itself we have demonstrated that, ‘through offering a broad, ambitious and creative curriculum, every pupil can create character and resilience, increasing their knowledge, curiosity and skills that will remain with them through to adult life.’ These observations ring true with the BBA Way ethos, launched this academic year and aimed at fostering an attitude where resilience, curiosity, kindness and positivity count. The hard work at BBA shows how these qualities are not just words empty of meaning, but are concepts that translate into real actions, embedded in our daily activities and which bring the BBA spirit to the fore.
In order to win this award, BBA had to think carefully about a broad and ambitious curriculum across art and culture provision with Mighty Creatives involved in the planning stages to make this a success. Certainly one of the strengths highlighted in gaining this award has been staff and student willingness to engage with their community to develop student skills; to mention just a few – RSC; UNESCO City of Literature; NAE; Young Creatives Award; Nottingham Playhouse and the Theatre Royal. Bluecoat Beechdale Academy grows alongside its many partners and wishes to embrace all opportunities to better student thinking and expression in the aspiring projects they choose to engage in.
Aiming for the Artsmark Gold Award has not only been impactful for students, but for staff too. It has built a closer relationship between the Drama and English departments while the Art department has worked with the New Arts Exchange on equality and diversity. The BBA Culture Day too was a celebration of all things centred on embracing diversity as we saw staff transform their classrooms, making curious connections with their subjects and learning from across the world. They worked alongside external professionals who delivered music, dance, design and art. Students are showing that they have ownership over what they choose to create and perform and their views are at the heart of what we do; the Express Event was a perfect example of this. Staff merely guided and suggested, the journey the students described was wholly theirs and this could be felt in every single performance. Being at the forefront of a project is challenging, but BBA students certainly do their best at finding a voice, creative mood and method that best fits how they wish to represent themselves.