Drove Primary School

Today’s theme is Artsmark and OFSTED. Drove is a large primary school set in the middle of Swindon town centre. It is a 3-form entry school with approximately 650 children on roll. Drove is a truly multi-cultural school with 41 languages spoken. Drove has a high mobility of pupils, namely around 44.6% from KS1 – KS2.

Drove has a large number of pupils with English as an Additional Language. The arts (with a particular focus on drama), are improving literacy and communication and thus impacting on OFSTED goals and school improvement. Artsmark raised awareness of these benefits at Drove and it has now been added to their School Improvement Plan for the first time to recognise this.

What difference has the Artsmark journey made in your school?

We have loved combining and developing all our staffs many skills and interests and sharing and growing these alongside our children!

Could you provide a quote from a member of staff about their experience of Artsmark?

Lee Edmonds, Head of Teaching and Learning; “I have never considered myself particularly artistic, so it’s been great looking at our curriculum through new eyes, highlighting our current strengths and spotting opportunities. Helping our pupils recognise the creativity in each and everyone of them has been a real reward.’

Could you provide a quote from a pupil about their experience of Artsmark or an event within it?

Drove created a new Arts Week, with contributions from all kinds of artists and cultural organisations. 600 Arts Award Discovers were awarded as a result. From this week came regular drama sessions in and after school and several children joined Prime Youth Theatre as well, including several from the Deaf and Hearing Support Unit. One of these pupils, Camillo, 8, said “I love my drama with school and Prime. I feel strong and clever and like telling stories with my friends and sharing them with my family.”

What surprised you about your Artsmark journey?

The hard part was making time to stop and recognise just how much arts activity we already have and support in school. The pressure these days is so much about other subjects, so it has been wonderful acknowledging our commitment to creative learning and the huge impact it has for students and staff.

Shared with permission from Helen Swanson, Drove’s Principle and thanks to Prime Theatre.