Today, Darren Jones MP for Bristol North West will visit Elmfield School for Deaf Children, and Kerry McCarthy MP for Bristol East will visit Briarwood Primary and Post 16 Department. We heard from Briarwood about their journey earlier in the week and today we hear from Elmfield School about their Artsmark journey.

Elmfield is an established Special school for Deaf children from 2 to 16 years that has changed over the years to incorporate new ways of working with their group of deaf pupils who range from profound severe and moderate levels of deafness, some of whom have additional Special needs.

What difference has the Artsmark journey made in your school?

The Artsmark process has been a real catalyst in school for some exciting projects and collaborations between different artists. It has been fabulous to work with a range of artists from different walks of life and see how much they have brought to the children, parents, staff and governors. The whole school community have been involved with different projects and we have enabled some fantastic artistic collaborations between hearing and deaf professionals.

‘Just a quick message to say I was very moved by Tuesday’s session. The parents were very receptive; it was good to see the teachers again and the mix of parent and student presentations was magical. You don’t get parents and children on the same platform very often. In fact, I think that was my first experience of it!’ Claire Williamson

‘It was great to explore the connections between poetry, BSL and music with the children in a practical way. Ian very much enjoyed collaborating with David.’ Richard Barnard musician

“It was a really great experience....and worked together in an amazingly synergistic way!” Babs Day, Head Teacher

‘What I liked about the day was the dynamic use of both languages, and translanguaging’ Babs Day, Head teacher

Does a member of staff have a quote to sum up their experience of Artsmark?

“I have had so many conversations with the team since Wednesday about what a powerful emotional impact the experience had on each of us. The musicians all felt, as did I, that it was a wonderful privilege to work with the children at all three schools.Days like Wednesday are the best days of my working life and the others felt the same, so thank you for having us. I hope we might get the chance to work with you all again. Your staff are really amazing. You all do a fantastic job and we really appreciated being made to feel so welcome. Many thanks again.” Laura Tanner, Education Manager, St George’s, Bristol

Talking about the signed singing performances said –‘It was inspirational watching how you do it and your approach.’ Lord Mayor of Bristol

‘Just a quick note to say thank you so much for welcoming us in to your Poetry Jam this morning – the event and the enthusiasm from your young people blew me away!’ Jade Poole Consultant, Real Ideas Organisation.

What would your pupil's say about their experiences of Artsmark or an event within it?

“I really enjoyed going to the theatre and seeing the iron wall go up and down for the first time. I also liked hearing the Old Vic staff describe their jobs and seeing the puppets” Yr 9 boy

“Feedback from the pupils – they were full of it when they got back. When they were telling me they were so excited they were all on their feet, jumping up and down. They loved the shower broken, taxi arrive part!” Mary York Year 7 teacher.

What surprised you about your Artsmark journey?

How it led to cross curricular work!

“The school council used both their democratic and creative skills in coming up with the idea to set up an art gallery and to present the idea to the Head teacher and the school. It gave them an opportunity to work as a team and see a project through from start to finish. They flourished raising the money to support the two deaf children in a school in Gambia.” Alice Tavener, school council coordinator.

‘I’ve never thought of poetry as related to anything other than English before today. That water cycle poem has really opened my eyes.’ Communication Support Worker.