Briarwood School

Today’s Artsmark Celebration Week theme is Artsmark and SEND. We spoke to Briarwood school about the difference Artsmark has made to them to celebrate their fantastic journey. Briarwood is a Bristol school committed to providing a high quality of education, care and life for children and young people with severe learning difficulties, complex needs including autism and sensory impairment from 3-19 years.

Tell us about your experience of Artsmark:

Artsmark has been such a positive and exciting journey to embark on as a whole school. It has brought everyone together through exploring and experiencing art and culture and enabled us to celebrate the amazing things we do here at Briarwood. Overall, it has increased our pupil attainment for arts based learning and increased engagement levels. The staff feel more supported in terms of delivering arts and culture within the classroom, and we have opened up many pathways for pupils to develop hobbies, skills and interests.

What difference has the Artsmark journey made in your school?

It has made a huge impact in terms of opening our eyes to wider and more alternative curriculum areas, such as things like graffiti painting, pottery, decoupage and stop motion. The pupils at Briarwood now use art based learning across the entire curriculum and regularly celebrate this outstanding work through certificates, shows, festivals and exhibitions. It has also enabled us to plan events such as our Art Auction, where we raised over £500 towards arts and culture within Briarwood School.

Do you have a quote from a member of staff about their experience of Artsmark?

“Artsmark is such a fantastic scheme, as not only does it develop your ability as a school to provide an outstanding arts and culture provision, it is also extremely supportive through introducing you to a number of partner schools and other professionals within the Artsmark community. It has been such an interesting, fun and engaging journey, not just for the pupils but for the staff also!’ Georgina Andrews, KS2 Teacher and Assessment Lead.

Along with this, do you have a quote from a pupil about their experience of Artsmark or an event within it?

‘Artsmark makes my lessons fun and helps me find more things I like to do each day. Now I like painting, sewing, drawing and taking photos! I also go to an art club on a Tuesday lunch time’ HM, Briarwood Primary School.

What surprised you about your Artsmark journey?

What surprised me the most was that we originally thought it was just a scheme you could simply complete in order to show what kind of arts based learning you were providing as a school. We have always prided ourselves on this, so we thought it would be relatively simple. However, since embarking on Artsmark, it has completely opened our eyes to arts and culture and enabled us to take our provision even further in order to promote outstanding experiences for these pupils. It has given us an insight in to why we are doing what we are doing and it has opened up so many pathways. On top of this, we are now part of an ever-growing and changing community which we can support and in turn learn from.

Briarwood School were part of a project with Bristol Plays Music, they registered on their Artsmark Journey on the 27/05/2016 and completed their journey on the 14/07/2017, receiving a Gold Artsmark award.