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The Arts INSET

This year our Trust focus is on the Arts. The wellbeing of our children was affected during lockdown, with more time spent indoors and little face to face interaction with their friends. As the Arts play a key role in boosting children's mental health, this was integral in our recovery planning. 

We launched this initiative across all Aspire schools with dedicated INSET day training sessions on their first day back.

All staff came together for two virtual Art training sessions, one focused on Early Years and KS1 staff, with the other directed more at KS2. They were facilitated by Susan Ogier, a Senior Lecturer and author in Art and Design Education at the University of Roehampton. 

Susan was keen to ensure the sessions were fun, practical and informative. Staff were encouraged to try out a range of different media in various contexts. This enabled them to see how their artwork and the arts in general can relate to other skills and subjects. One example was an activity with a strong maths link. Staff were asked to take a pen in both hands and let their hands draw freely, but symmetrically. 

Speaking about the training, a staff member from Broadfield Academy said "Susan Ogier supported us to understand how drawing can develop other skills for children. Not only is drawing a therapeutic learning opportunity, the links to motor skills and perception are evident. The session drew upon working with pupils' creativity and potential to help them be the best they can be".

A key message that ran through all sessions was the feeling that there are no set rules in art. Susan actively encouraged us to regularly share with the children that "anyone can". She also spoke about the need for breadth in the curriculum and how influential the Arts are across it, reminding us that all children have an entitlement to rich and varied experiences and opportunities through the Arts.

With children's wellbeing at the forefront of everyone's minds, we are looking forward to exploring the Arts in more detail over the next year and seeing how it can help the children express themselves in a variety of different ways.