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Funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union

Primary Arts and The Learning Vine

by

Mark Curtis

Introduction

As a newly sponsored academy, Easton CE Primary School is striving to instil a distinct character with its majority of Muslim pupils from a diverse range of ethnicity and backgrounds. Establishing an ethos and set of values that all children and parents can be committed was desired to move relationships with the community forward and establish high levels of trust and respect (which has not been a part of recent history). Poor behaviour, particularly among some groups of children, disrupted the learning environment as well as the happiness of individuals, and stems from a lack of community ownership in the school.

The school had about 470 pupils on roll, 54% of whom are entitled to free school meals. The school is ranked nationally at 1001 out of 32482 according to the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI). Many of these children, as a group, academically performed significantly below the city average:

The problems potentially affecting children are both academic and cultural. 4.1% of all residents cannot or can barely speak English. Often, children receive little help in learning English from teachers or from parents and literacy even in the home. The majority of the schools population have migrated from countries where a common language is not widespread often blighted by decades of civil war which has disrupted formal education. These are the Aims and project outline taken from the initial proposal

The principle aim is to improve pupils’ life chances through a better learning environment and through a school community based on some core values. These values will initially come from and later feed back to parents and community leaders. They will be made visible in a 2D representation of a vine that begins at the front doors of the school and works its way along the walls of the school but whose roots are in the community. The process itself of creating the vine will nurture the values it will then represent. As the vine grows it will produce offshoots of rich patterns, words and images in the shared journey of
learning the values of respect, tolerance, difference, common aspiration and celebration of co-existence. The vine will draw on the different cultures within the school and positively promote the value of each, weaving their voices together, shaping a community in a powerful permanent statement that will come to define the ethos of the school and its community. This has clear synergies with the work currently underway in the school, allowing the diverse range of stakeholders to inform the style and content of the project. The look of the vine will be inspired by complex Henna patterns. Henna patterns have a rich heritage and link many of the cultural groups represented in the school. The repeat patterns and motifs are often organic and offer the opportunity to graphically link each manifestation of the vine together.

Boomsatsuma - will build ownership of the vine through co-construction
workshops held with all pupils in the school between January and July 2015. Each class will work with a graphic artist, the Boomsatsuma team and school staff to explore the ideas behind the vine, what they want to bring to the learning journey and how to translate that into motifs, ideas and designs. Where opportunities arise, Boomsatsuma will document the story in film to create assets that can be shared with a wider community and stakeholders digitally. These assets can also be used to disseminate theproject and its outcomes and act as a valuable digital case study across other Church of England schools.

Key to building the respect of the Local community in particular is the use of young people from the community as positive role models. Boomsatsuma will use its Creative Agency group from the local Bristol Metropolitan Academy, some of whom have a stake in the success and development of Easton CE Primary as alumni or with younger siblings at the school. The core group has fourteen members aged between 16 and 18, studying for a creative production diploma.

Details
Institution:
boomsatsuma education Ltd.
Submitted:
Thu Oct 18 2018 11:39:51 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
Type:
Prevention
Addressing Focus:
Respect
Duration:
Longer
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Instructions

These are the Aims and project outline taken from the initial proposal

The principle aim is to improve pupils’ life chances through a better learning environment and through a school community based on some core values. These values will initially come from and later feed back to parents and community leaders. They will be made visible in a 2D representation of a vine that begins at the front doors of the school and works its way along the walls of the school but whose roots are in the community. The process itself of creating the vine will nurture the values it will then represent. As the vine grows it will produce offshoots of rich patterns, words and images in the shared journey of
learning the values of respect, tolerance, difference, common aspiration and celebration of co-existence. The vine will draw on the different cultures within the school and positively promote the value of each, weaving their voices together, shaping a community in a powerful permanent statement that will come to define the ethos of the school and its community. This has clear synergies with the work currently underway in the school, allowing the diverse range of stakeholders to inform the style and content of the project. The look of the vine will be inspired by complex Henna patterns. Henna patterns have a rich heritage and link many of the cultural groups represented in the school. The repeat patterns and motifs are often organic and offer the opportunity to graphically link each manifestation of the vine together.

Boomsatsuma - will build ownership of the vine through co-construction
workshops held with all pupils in the school between January and July 2015. Each class will work with a graphic artist, the Boomsatsuma team and school staff to explore the ideas behind the vine, what they want to bring to the learning journey and how to translate that into motifs, ideas and designs. Where opportunities arise, Boomsatsuma will document the story in film to create assets that can be shared with a wider community and stakeholders digitally. These assets can also be used to disseminate the project and its outcomes and act as a valuable digital case study across other Church of England schools.
Key to building the respect of the Somali community in particular is the use of young people from the community as positive role models. Boomsatsuma will use its Creative Agency group from the local Bristol Metropolitan Academy, some of whom have a stake in the success and development of Easton CE Primary as alumni or with younger siblings at the school. The core group has fourteen members aged between 16 and 18, studying for a creative production diploma.

Outcome

Taken from the head teachers report to govenors:

Outcomes
A unity of purpose and shared ethos for the school, its community and staff achieved through working together to create a piece of art that stands as a daily reminder of what that purpose is.
- Tolerance is nurtured and an understanding of difference is achieved through creating a piece of art work that embodies these ideas.
- Respect for the school built by engaging the voice of all stakeholders in co constructing the project.
- Children from disadvantaged backgrounds gain in confidence and self esteem through unlocking their creativity and having their ideas celebrated in art.
- Greater community cohesion from fully engaging with the community to create and then celebrate the art work.
- Children are better engaged in learning by using young role models from their community to work on the project.
- Differences in culture and heritage are expressed and extensively discussed in creating the vine.
- Disruptive behaviour is reduced after six months of working on a shared journey that has a tangible outcome, brings ownership and leads to a greater respect by pupils for the school.

Recorded incidents are best exemplified by the reported incident book records children involved in behavoral incidents in the term prior to the start of the project as 365 reducing to 80 in the same term following the engagement. Fights recorded in the first term 69 and reducing to just 5. Clearly the arts interventions were not the only actoivity designed to address behaviour but the engagement in a common purpose was a visual catylist the made a positive contribution.

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Case Study

Students speak for themselves in the video clip.

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Downloadable Resources