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Artsmark Gold Award

In June 2021 Barnwell School proudly received confirmation of it's Artsmark Gold Award.

Barnwell is the first secondary school in Stevenage that has achieved a Gold Artsmark award, the only creative quality assured standard for education settings in England.

The assessor's praised the work of Barnwell School and in particular Mrs Pam Pellen for submitting such a comprehensive application.

"You clearly have a firm commitment to providing rich arts and cultural opportunities for your students, and have embedded your aspirational and engaging arts provision within the wider values and ambitions of Barnwell PRIDE (Passion, Resilience, Innovation, Determination and Empathy). Your aspiration to forge stronger cross-curricular links through collaboration between faculties has evidently been achieved through whole school briefings on creative teaching and learning, which have provoked an extensive response at the schools.

INSET on Cultural Capital produced an array of creative learning across and beyond the curriculum, including visits to arts and cultural venues; visual art across the curriculum inspired by Armistice Day, and creative challenges to develop STEM into STEAM. CPD on the Durham Commission Report and the Tallis Habits Pedagogy Wheel have deepened staff understanding of importance of creativity in the curriculum and providing innovative cultural entitlement for every child.

Results from your first Arts Impact survey have demonstrated improvements in academic achievement, a deeper appreciation of the Arts throughout the school community and confirmed the important role that the Arts play in supporting emotional well-being and mental health. The appointment of an arts governor and a Senior Lead Practitioner for Creativity and Artsmark (SLPCA) have ensured that there is strategic leadership of the Arts curricula.

Although your SLPCA has subsequently been absent from school, her legacy of the Artsmark online gallery evidences a clear course of impact and has helped shape the burgeoning alliances with various creative network clusters. These have been a vehicle for sharing good practice and working collaboratively and, going forwards, you are well-positioned to build on your arts advocacy work through these relationships. Although you have not been able to realise all of your plans set out in your Statement of Commitment and encountered significant barriers due to the pandemic, Barnwell clearly rose to the challenge by moving arts lessons, ‘visits’ to arts and cultural venues, and performances (including ‘We Will Rock You’) online.

Successful bids for funding support from Artsmark Celebrate!, ROH Bridge, Creative Networks and Stevenage Heritage have enabled you to work with arts and culture practitioners. The Arts First project, working with cultural partner Anji Archer, facilitated the creation of a textiles art installation, representing the school’s PRIDE ethos. How wonderful that these banners are now proudly displayed in the school halls and serve as an inspirational backdrop for the whole school community. 


Congratulations on your Artsmark Gold Award!"

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