Unity Trust is a collaborative of primary, secondary and special schools in the North of Solihull. The core aim of the Trust is to work together to enhance opportunities for children, young people, staff and the wider community. As well as the 12 company schools, there are also a number of associate members who enjoy the benefits of collaborative working, including School Improvement support, joint CPD and networking opportunities. The Creative Arts team, along with partners Newave Arts, work across the schools to deliver a variety of disciplines including Music, Visual Art, Drama, Dance and Digital Media. These sessions support and encourage schools to develop their current provision and provide quality teaching which is bespoke and needs driven.
Kelly Humphrey, Creative Arts Team Leader at Unity Trust Ltd explains how they got involved in Arts Award.
“My role is to co-ordinate the creative arts offer, making sure that the schools get the best possible provision and value for money. I manage all tutors and support them in creating workshops that are specialist and engaging, as well as supporting schools with music curriculum aims and objectives. As UNITY encourages collaborative working, I try to embed this into everything that we do and devise several creative events and performances which involve as many of our schools as possible. I also teach curriculum music and singing within our schools and lead on the Arts Award delivery.
“St Mary & St Margaret’s Church of England Primary School is a full member of UNITY. They are a very creative school who are always keen to experience opportunities within the arts, and have a very strong music influence across all year groups. Currently, they have weekly sessions in music, singing and drama from UNITY.
“During the summer term 2016, we began our mission to get children from all of our schools through Arts Award Discover. We had secured funding through a variety of streams including Arts Connect to run this. Each school signed up for the day which covered all aspects of the Discover award including discovering all about the arts, finding out about an artist and their work, taking part in an art activity and sharing their findings. We ran the day with three practitioners who each concentrated on a different aspect of the Discover award, and the 60 children who took part rotated around each session. At the end of the day, we brought all of the children together to share their findings about the arts, discuss what they liked about the day and also share the work that was created. It worked so well and the children had a fabulous time! By the time the summer term had ended, we had managed to get 380 children through Arts Award Discover across our schools.
“Our Arts Award Discover in a Day programme has been successful in encouraging pupils to use the arts as a vehicle to be creative and grow in confidence. It helps to develop creative thinking and presenting skills and also allows children to be individual in their approach to practical work. Our teachers find that Arts Award is a great way to assess progress and award children who excel in the arts – it is also great for parents to see their children recognised for the wonderful work that they produce”
“Kelly and her team at Unity Trust have shown how Arts Awards can be used in a variety of school settings and provide a structure for the creative arts. Since receiving the grant they have supported over five hundred young people in Solihull to gain an Arts Award. As well as each of the children and young people gaining an accredited award, the schools have valued having a way to effectively monitor and evaluate the provision of the arts in their schools.”
Helen Frost, Programme Developer, Artsmark and Arts Award