"Good for outcomes, Good for teaching, learning and assessment, Good for personal development, behaviour and welfare, Good for 6th form, Good for leadership and management - Ofsted 2017"

Cedars Upper School

Cedars images

Artsmark - School Vision, Aims and Objectives

Mission Statement: To provide every child and young person with the opportunity to be inspired by the Arts and achieve success in the Arts

Here at Cedars Upper School, we believe it is vital for every individual student who wishes to develop their artistic abilities through curricular or extra-curricular development have the opportunity to do so. It is our responsibility to design an inclusive programme of delivery and suitable options at Key Stage 3, 4 and 5 that covers the breadth of students’ interest and adapts to the changing need of the student.

All subjects are accessible at Key Stage 4 regardless of previous standard and offered to all those who wish to take them up. There is no requirement on extra-curricular or previous standard required, and the school leads the way in using bursaries, such as Pupil Premium, to enable students to participate in activities that cost. On a mention of Pupil Premium, we also have several students (looked after, qualified for FSM, etc.) who have been offered musical instrument tuition in order to develop their performance capability with a foresight to enable them further at GCSE.

Our aim is to ensure that Creative and Performing Arts are encouraged and celebrated in the school and it is our aim to find an Arts subject for every student.

Arts enable students to gain a creative, independent and skills based learning as well the academic side available to Arts. The Arts collectively promote group work, individual work, a team building experience and importantly adaptability to others peoples’ needs – factors that may not always be met in other disciplines.

The Creative Arts in this school range from the standard Music, Art and Design, Drama and Dance to Performance Skills, Music Technology, Creative Design Technology, Film, Gaming and Media. The scope for arts is extensive and should not be limited to performance but also digital and visual.

Currently the Key Stage 3 model has Art and Design, Music, Dance and Drama on a 6 hourly rotation per fortnight. After studying one subject for a period of 4-5 weeks, the students will change onto the next rotation. Dance and Drama are combined in this rotation however the balance of Dance is made up in Physical Education as well. In total the school has 12.5% dedicated towards the main arts at Key Stage 3.

Varying year to year, this current Year 11 has Dance, Drama, Music and Art GCSE available but also Performance Skills NCFE Level 2, Music Technology NCFE Level 2 and the new Creative Digital Media BTEC Level 2.

At A Level the traditional Music, Dance, Art and Design and Theatre Studies are available but also English Literature, Film Studies, Fashion BTEC Level 3, Product Development A Level and in the coming years we are extending this to Media OCR Technical Level 3 and Graphic Design A Level.

We are currently extending our ties with the local Theatre in an effort to expand students’ horizons on the potential for a career in the Arts.

Arts Aims and Objectives:
1) To provide a varied curriculum that focuses on up-to-date and relevant arts
2) To provide a curriculum that supports every individual students artistic needs
3) To provide a varied extra-curricular programme for all years
4) To provide links with the community, from professional visits to supporting middle and lower schools in the promotion of the arts
5) To celebrate success of students artistic work

Some of the ways these Aims are being met:
1) 12.5% of the timetable is dedicated to the core Music, Drama, Dance and Art and Design in Key Stage 3. At Key Stage 4, there are 10 Arts subjects available (including Arts based DT subjects) which is looking to be extended next year to include Media. At Key Stage 5, there are 8 subjects available, including Fashion. In Art and Design, students can opt to specialize in ceramics, sculpture, photography, printmaking or fine art textiles.

2) There are a variety of vocational courses available although this is being extended in the coming years.

3) We currently have in excess of 30 extra-curricular arts activities available during the school year in addition to individual events such as “Challenge Day”.

4) The drama department regularly visit the middle school opposite to perform to middle school students, annually the Music department host the Lower Schools Concert at All Saints Church, the Art department have regular links with professional artists hosting workshops and develop joint projects with people in the industry.

5) Each year there is a whole school Musical, a drama production, Christmas Concert, Art Exhibition, DT Exhibition and a Fashion Show. In addition there is a production week called “Help Week” where the 6th form students put on a series of shows to raise money for charity. There is also Cedars Got Talent and a collapsed curriculum day that has a huge contingent following the arts.

6) Visits from local artists, professional guitarists, professional drummers, people from the computer games industry, blues performers, Music Theatre performers, composers, professional workshop and presentations from manga illustrators are but a few of the links with the community we are enabling/have enabled. These partnerships are vital in developing a strong curriculum and extra-curriculum programme but also act as role models for the students and act as inspiration for others. A perfect example of this is our guitar and drum workshop professionals who are ex-students; they give the students a real life sense of what can be achieved with dedication and practice. Further to this, ties to businesses such as Rebellion Games and Leighton Buzzard Theatre, will give insight into occupations available within the arts and highlight possible career directions.

7) Student Voice. We have representatives (Entertainment, House representatives and the general Student Voice Council) who feedback on the departments through Students As Learning Partners (previous years) and also via informal feedback. Each Year 9 is informally questioned on “What Went Well” and “Even Better If” in order to judge the success of each project. There is also strength in an open environment where students are encouraged to give their views and constructive criticism.

8) Higher Learning Potential (HLPs, the new Gifted and Talented). The Senior Leadership Team link for the Creative Arts is the Lead of the Lesson Study Group for HLP. All HLPs are identified by year in an audit after each Key Stage is entered. The provision is extended into extra-curricular, allowing students to lead groups but also during lesson time with “students becoming leaders” – a project lead by the Head of Dance.

9) Cultural diversity. We encourage and explore a range of culture through the Arts. Examples of this is schemes of work related to Black History Month in Music Technology but also wider ranging opportunities, the Art Department have an annual trip to the Pitt Rivers and then Ashmolean Museum in Oxford to explore a range of anthropological culture in order to gain inspiration for the GCSE students.

10) Arts Leadership. Help Week is a key factor in Cedars student as leaders in artistic development where the students produce, direct, market and organise shows all week long in order to raise money for student chosen charities. This is unique to Cedars and a vital part of the life of the school. Leadership is also now being recognised through Arts Award and it is our aspiration to combine the two in order to give the students a qualification based on their achievements.