Opening statement

This policy is written with the aim of establishing and maintaining collaborative working between Folkestone schools and the Folkestone arts community. In some instances this collaboration is already strong and in these cases we aim to sustain these relationships, in other cases, where links are yet to be established, this policy aims to foster significant links and partnerships between schools, arts organisations and arts practitioners.

The arts are an essential part of the curriculum and our children should experience a range of arts both in and out of the classroom. We aim to give our children and young people positive and lasting experiences in: literature; performing arts; visual arts, craft and design; media and multimedia. We are aware of the potential that engagement in a Folkestone based arts curriculum and involvement with community arts events  has in helping our children become active and creative members of our local community. Young people share the cultural landscape and are the arts professionals of the future, they should be empowered and supported to engage with, lead and drive the cultural learning agenda within their community.

We are also committed to using the arts to enhance the self-esteem and confidence of our children. “The greatest disincentives to achievements are low self-esteem and lack of motivation. Creative and cultural programmes are powerful ways of revitalising the sense of community in a school and engaging the whole school with the wider community.” (Department for Education, Ken Robinson. 1999. All our Futures: Creativity, Culture and Education).

Definition of arts/culture

The arts is a broad term that includes a wide range of disciplines from theatre, dance, literature, storytelling, music, craft and visual arts to film, spoken word, digital media, photography and beyond.

‘Culture’ has a long association with the arts. But in this century particularly, the term ‘culture’ has also been used in a more general sense to mean a community’s shared values and behaviours. It inspires civic engagement and helps neighbourhoods to make positive changes through collective ownership of culture. This leads to personal, social and community benefit and a shared sense of place.

Strategic Priorities

• To inspire our children through engagement with the arts and culture so that they take an active role in the positive change and regeneration of Folkestone, in so doing they will be able to play a significant role in our ever evolving culture.
• To provide a range of stimulating and creative opportunities in art, design, drama, music and dance which create a framework for engagement, achievement and enjoyment, thus enhancing self-esteem.
• To offer our children opportunities to understand and appreciate cultural diversity and to respect the views of others through the study of culturally diverse art forms.
• To introduce the children to as many arts practitioners as possible and to develop their skills, knowledge and understanding in the arts by watching artists at work; experiencing finished work; and working
alongside artists.
• To foster good partnerships and build long-term relationships with other schools, arts organisations and arts practitioners.
• To further develop a cohesive community that respects and is proud of its environment and cultural landscape.

A sense of place

The culture of a group includes its sense of identity – its sense of what makes it a group; and the various ways in which its identity is expressed and maintained. We feel it is crucial that our children have a shared ‘sense of place’ and identity; that they understand their role in their locality and that they feel empowered to be part of the development and shaping of the future of Folkestone. We aspire to make the children of Folkestone active members of the community, through engagement with the arts and culture, and in so doing be involved in the regeneration of Folkestone. We believe it is our children’s right to have opportunities to explore, express and extend our cultural identity and to even leave lasting pieces of art in our community.

Partnerships

“Partnerships can offer pupils a much greater range and depth of arts experiences than can be provided by the school alone. Specialist venues, such as theatres and art galleries are designed to enable works of art to achieve their greatest possible impact. Young people may be affected positively by the atmosphere of a new environment, and this may help them to increase their understanding and enjoyment of an art form or work of art. Working directly with an artist is likely to give pupils a greater insight into the creative process.” (Arts Council of England, 2000. From Policy to Partnership: Developing the arts in schools).

Partnership, collaboration, a shared commitment and a collegiate approach from those who use cultural learning in their work with young people are key to the successful delivery of this policy. As schools, we aim to work collaboratively with arts organisations and practitioners such as: the Creative Foundation, Folkestone Triennial; Folkestone Artsworks; Folkestone Fringe; Strange Cargo; Folkestone Town Council; and community festivals such as Charivari and the Folkestone Multicultural Festival. We also aim to introduce the children to as many arts practitioners as possible and to develop their skills, knowledge and understanding in the arts by watching artists at work; experiencing finished work; and working alongside artists.

“The Creative Foundation believes in the power of creativity to transform people, places and communities. We are passionate about this and believe it will inspire others to be curious and imagine a changed future. We will enable and collaborate with them to make this vision happen. This will be fun and requires knowledge.” (http://www.creativefoundation.org.uk).

Equal opportunities and diversity

We believe that equality and diversity is integral to an inclusive curriculum and an inclusive community, we recognise our responsibility to ensure positive attitudes to diversity and difference – not only so that every child is included and not disadvantaged, but also so that they learn from the earliest age to value diversity in others and grow up making a positive contribution to their community. Folkestone is a multicultural town including large groups of Nepalese, Bangladeshi and Eastern European people, we embrace the learning opportunities that these cultures bring to our town.

We understand that we have a duty to enable all to realise their full potential, regardless of disability, race, gender, sexual orientation or religion, we value the contribution of everyone and recognise and harness the benefits that difference can bring, we also undertake to make reasonable adjustments to enable all to participate in our programme of learning.

Professional Development

The skills, beliefs and well-being of our teachers are of paramount importance when aiming to meet the objectives of this policy. Opportunities for continuing professional development and working with community arts organisations and practitioners will play a vital role in the delivery of an arts based curriculum that is focused on Folkestone. As schools, and through organisations such as Shepway Teaching Schools, we aim to provide training and support for teachers in Shepway and its environs. This may take the form of professionally led training courses or may just be schools working informally together to share good practice and skills.

There are also training opportunities through arts organisations in Folkestone, such as Strange Cargo: “Our work in schools, with teachers and with young adults is designed to embed cultural skills and artistic knowledge – empowering teachers, engaging children and challenging perceived notions of learning.” (http://www.strangecargo.org.uk). The Creative Foundation also provides opportunities for teacher development and these can be found on their website or by contacting them directly.

Plans for improvement and review

We feel that good practice within schools would dictate that the arts and its delivery would be part of the School Development Plan. How the arts fits into a SDP would obviously be subjective to the individual school, however, as an example, schools may like to consider targets such as: sustaining links with practitioners or organisations; children within the school achieving Arts Award; the school achieving Artsmark accreditation; arts training being a part of the CPD or appraisal cycle for teachers.

We envisage that this policy and the actions that come from it would also be shared with governors and where possible governors may become actively involved in the same opportunities that the children are given.

This policy will be reviewed in March 2017.