Thursday’s theme is Artsmark for whole school improvement.

Liskeard Hillfort Primary School are a mixed infant and junior school in Liskeard, Cornwall. They are part of ALAT, a multi-academy trust set up to raise the standards of education in Cornwall.

Liskeard Hillfort were awarded Silver in Spring 2017, well done all! Their team let us know what Artsmark has done for them:

The Artsmark Award has been instrumental in the Liskeard Hillfort's journey of rapid improvement. Mindful of the need to provide a 'broad and balanced' curriculum, our school has ensured that the Arts play a key role. Most obviously, all children in Key Stage 2 benefit from free music lessons throughout the year - after four years children will have experience of violins, ukuleles, African drums and recorders. By using pupil premium funding, we ensure that children have a wonderful set of experiences that will rival those of more privileged peers.

Through committing to a promise of 'Amazing Openings, Fantastic Finishes and Memorable Residentials', children now have access to range of artistic opportunities. Units of learning often begin or end with trips to local museums, galleries or Castles, giving children the stimulus to be excited by learning. It goes without saying that these moments provide effective springboards into pieces of extended writing.

A further key element of our Artsmark provision is our 'in-Residence' programme. We are fortunate to have incredibly talented professionals offering their time for low or no cost. Our 'Artist-in-Residence' works with children to promote emotional health; our 'Poet-in-Residence' led children onto the Sterts Theatre stage as part of the Bodmin Festival of Literature whilst our 'Dancer-in-Residence' forged opportunities for children to dance at the Hall for Cornwall and The Eden Project. These were simply wonderful opportunities that were life affirming.

Our wonderfully generous PTA also took on the Artsmark spirit! All children in our two form entry school were given a free ticket for a theatre production. From our youngest children who went on a bear hunt to older learners going to see David Walliam's 'Gangsta Granny', we are ensuring that children get the taste for the arts from the youngest age possible! They also pay for a yearly panto experience in school!

Dr Tim Cook, Principal, identified that "The Artsmark award has provided us with the encouragement and the structure to put in place rich experiences where, in a deprived area and an improving school context, children might otherwise have missed out. We look forward to the next step of our Artsmark journey".

What has surprised us as a school? That more schools aren't using it as a recognised, structured award scheme to for children to have culturally rich experiences. Let's spread the word!