Kidderminster’s ContinU Plus Academy was established in 2012 to offer an alternative and inclusive education for its students. As a Gold Artsmark school, an extraordinary 20% of the timetable is devoted to the arts. Artsmark Coordinator Tracey Roberts tells us more:
“We are an alternative provision school, which means that most of the student body is considered ‘at risk’ of social exclusion. Students come to us because mainstream schooling hasn’t worked for them, and we support them to take control of their lives. It’s important that our students develop a range of academic, vocational and life skills and make the most of the opportunities available to them. We teach with a maximum of eight students in a group and incorporate lots of practical work and educational trips into the curriculum.
“The arts are vital for us. We teach music, art, drama, and design & technology under the banner of ‘Expressive Arts’, so students can see the crossover between these subjects. We’ve found that these hands-on, practical subjects have a therapeutic effect and directly improve behavior. All our KS3 pupils work towards Arts Award, so they benefit from new experiences, and we take them on visits to places they would never normally see – last term we took a group to Birmingham’s Custard Factory which is home to lots of small creative businesses.
“Every student has a strength and by offering such a breadth of experiences, they gain confidence in their individual abilities. 100% of our Year 11 students go onto positive destinations and the practical skills that they learn with us will help them in their future careers.
“Artsmark has highlighted our good practice and given us confidence to shout about what we do. The next step for us is Platinum status so we can share our learning with schools across the region.”
Tracey Roberts, Arts and Maths Teacher and Artsmark Coordinator
ContinU Plus Academy, Kidderminster
“The flexibility of the new Artsmark Award worked incredibly well for Tracey at ContinU Plus. As an alternative provision school they work quite differently to other schools and Artsmark allowed them to celebrate what they do well in their setting.”