Arts Award at Burbage Primary

We can’t believe it’s nearly school half term! Since the beginning of October, we’ve been at Burbage Primary School delivering Arts Award Discover level to Year 4 children.

Arts Award is a portfolio-based qualification provided by Trinity College London and supported by Arts Council England. It gives children and young people the opportunity to learn about the arts, artists and art organisations, and to grow their arts and leadership talents. The structure is similar to that of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards with Bronze, Silver and Gold levels, and additionally Discover and Explore as introductory levels. Young people who attain their Gold level are awarded 35 UCAS points towards a university application. So far, we have been working for eight weeks in primary schools teaching the children about different art forms and introducing them to local artists and organisations. At the end of the eight-week programme the children get a certificate in a celebration assembly.

Our first session at Burbage began with a few warm-ups and games – one being to create an action for our name (mine was a Grease Lightning move). The first session was an introduction to the programme and for us to talk to the children about what art is, and whether they knew of any artists or consider themselves artists; the latter is always an interesting discussion in the first session. It was wonderful to see so many children talk about playing a musical instrument, and such a range too – singing, piano, recorder, guitar and drums to name a few! Some children also talked about having dance lessons, drawing and painting and writing stories. We also talked about other ways the children are artists, such as decorating a cake and how video games and graphics are also art forms. We rounded the session off with a game that I remember from being at primary school – Say Boom Chicka Boom – a call and response game with each round adopting a different voice – quiet, loud, fast, slow and the children came up with some of their own. 

Last week, the children met a local artist and painter and this week, we will be getting messy in the classroom, doing some crafts and painting based on a landmark or image of Buxton. The children will also be meeting other artists and taking part in workshops, including some singing, acting and drama and a visit to the Buxton Opera House! We can’t wait!

Lily Bracegirdle Artists & Engagement Manager | Claire Barlow Literary & Outreach Manager



Art Attack!

What do you get when you put 30 children in a classroom with poster paint, glue and tissue paper? Some fabulous collages of Buxton landmarks (and a lot of mess!)

Buxton collages
Buxton collages in progress

This messy fun was not just because I love to cut and stick, but because we are working with children from Buxton Infants School to help them achieve their Discover level Arts Award. Over eight weeks 60 year one children at the school will have a go at visual art, poetry and singing. They will also discuss ‘what is art’ and ‘what makes an artist’ and will have a tour around Buxton Opera House and a drama workshop with Crazy Craig (otherwise known as Craig Sanders, Learning and Participation Officer at Buxton Opera House).


Last week the kids met Buxton artist, Suzanne Pearson, and grilled her about how she became an artist; whether she prefers paint or pencils, what time of day she paints and where she gets her inspiration from. Suzanne invited the children to do a postcard size drawing to submit into the Green Man Gallery’s 6×4: Inspired by Landscape project which aims to generate 5,000 pictures to exhibit and break a world record.

Suzanne Pearson

Arts Award is an accredited scheme supported by Arts Council England and provided by Trinity College London. After completing the Arts Award eight-week programme with Buxton Festival, each child gets a certificate presented at a celebration assembly at school. From September 2016 we hope to get over 300 children from five Buxton primary schools through their Arts Award at the Discover Level – that’s a lot of mess and fun!

Claire Barlow Outreach Manager