Tag Archives: arts education

Halloween at The Children’s Art School

Our Intermediate and senior groups really outshone themselves with this fantastic Halloween big draw!

Using themselves (by drawing around each other) they used light and dark to create these skeletal/ghostly figures:


Seniors started adding an accessory here and there!!


Oaks Primary at Byram Arcade

As part of our Byram Arcade residency Oaks Primary School, Huddersfield  brought 15 classes  to experience making large scale artwork. Each group had an afternoon with us in our studio and the results were fantastic.


Each Year group had a different theme..

Yr 4’s were exploring the theme ‘Pollution Solution’

We made a BIG print which shows Huddersfield’s skyline. The children then explored other print techniques to show what pollutes our world and  also robots, wind turbines and other potential and imagined solutions…


Yr 5’s looked at our relationship with space…. can you see Emley mast and Castle Hill…?! They used a variety of print techniques and also played the ‘shape game’ to create brilliant aliens!

And Yr 3′s who have been learning about the Vikings at school got to grips with using light and dark to create the illusion of 3d on their tentacles and really enjoyed creating sea monsters for their beautiful sea prints..

We created a whopping 15 large scale collaged prints and they looked great hanging in the Arcade….

…so far at Byram Arcade…

Only 6 weeks in to our residency and we are loving working with Huddersfield children in our studio at Byram Arcade.

So far we have created a cardboard town…

…with roads and buses….

….created wonderful paintings of the Huddersfield town centre exploring architectural  shapes and colours….

…. made charcoal drawings of the cardboard town created in the studio, exploring form and perspective…

…. made artwork about Huddersfield’s parks  using printing, painting and collage

….created bird masks of birds you might see in Huddersfield like jackdaws and waxwings  (famously spotted near Tescos!)

…..and made wearable tractors to mow the parks lawns!

THEN we all got excited about the dragon who once lived at Castle Hill…


Intermediates and Seniors started a BIG drawing of castle hill..

and everyone enjoyed exploring paint to create dragon skin

and making dragons out of clay…

we’ll be making wearable dragon masks and wings in the coming weeks and adding buildings, dragons and other creatures to the big drawing…. watch this space… or come and join in!

FREE Art Workshops at Huddersfield Art Gallery

Working with Huddersfield Art Gallery and  the University of Huddersfield we are excited to announce our first FREE Art Workshop as part of the Rotor series of exhibitions.

The first workshop for young people aged 11-16yrs is on Saturday January 14th 1-3pm at Huddersfield Art Gallery.
This workshops will explore the ‘ Migrations’ exhibition and facilitate drawing and making as a response to the art works.
This Workshop is FREE but booking is essential as places are limited.
Contact Chloe 07806334728 / thechildrensartschool@gmail.com

Migrations is an exhibition of textile pieces curated by Prof Jessica Hemmings and is part of the ROTOR exhibitions developed by Huddersfield University.

Ebb and Flow Finale

What an amazing end to our Ebb and Flow project! Our young artists (11-13 years old), having produced the most wonderful drawings and paintings, took part in a ‘happening’ which combined projections of the artworks with improvised music, sound and readings of their flow of consciousness poems.




Led by the amazing Charlotte Watson and Victoria Garbutt the participants really engaged in the experience and blew us away with their ability to develop the connections between their visuals and with spoken word and music.

Support for Cultural Education

More support for cultural education:


The chairman of Arts Council England argues that ‘all pupils should have the opportunity to create, compose, and perform their own artistic work’

Through art and culture, we come to understand and articulate ourselves. They engage us in a dialogue about values; they define our national identity and our concept of citizenship. They hand down the tradition,  the ideas and the language that make us confident innovators. Art and culture bring us joy, help us to reflect and empathise. They benefit us educationally, economically and socially.

All this is especially pertinent in schools – where it all begins. Classrooms brimming with creativity bring learning to life, enabling children to reach their full potential right across the curriculum. That’s why art and culture are a key element of the early years foundation stage curriculum, used to develop knowledge, understanding and skills across a broad range of subjects.

Many schools provide a fantastic cultural education offer, with arts and creativity running through all subjects. But it can be tempting to narrow choice to focus on improvement in core subjects like maths and English. We know, however, that young people who engage with the arts are happier, and have improved concentration and higher aspiration, which ultimately impact on all aspects of their education. Children need to have opportunities to experience the arts through the statutory arts curriculum, so that they can choose to pursue them at key stage 4 and beyond. It is vital that arts and culture are not squeezed out, with high-quality cultural experiences available to all young people, regardless of background.

Looking beyond the playground, creative skills are becoming an increasingly valuable currency for young people in securing future prospects, given that one in 20 new jobs is currently coming from the creative industries.

Last week, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport published new figures revealing that our creative industries are now worth £84.1 billion per year to the UK economy and generate nearly £9.6million per hour. As the creative industries continue to grow, we need to nurture the future generations of talent that this industry will need.

At the Arts Council, we believe that every child should have the opportunity to create, compose and perform their own artistic work, be it dance, drama, literature, visual arts or music. They should all be able to visit, experience and participate in the extraordinary artistic work of others. They should know more, understand more, and be able to critically review the cultural experiences they’ve had.

We know that art and culture transform children and young people’s lives for the better.

And while all our children deserve a rich cultural education, not all of them are getting it. While research shows that engagement with arts and culture among children and young people is crucial to developing life-long habits, we also know that in some areas, this is perceived as less of a priority. And we also know that those from the most deprived backgrounds are least likely to engage with cultural activities.

We need to address this now and close the gaps. This is at a time when, more than ever, we need to free all the talent we have at our nation’s disposal.

Last October, the Arts Council launched the Cultural Education Challenge. This is a call to action: to schools, cultural providers and to local authorities, challenging them to join together in cultural education partnerships to ensure that even more children and young people can experience art and culture, regardless of who they are or where they live.

These new networks across the arts and education sectors will shape new ways of increasing access for all children and young people. By 2018, we aim for 50 of these partnerships to be up and running throughout England.

We need to talk more about this – and we need to work together to ensure better networks of provision that will reach every child, no matter where they start in life, so that every child can enjoy a quality cultural education and the benefits that come with it.

Arts and culture are among our greatest assets as a nation; we are internationally renowned for our creativity. Let’s join together to make sure that the cultural education of our children is too.


Yr 6 Group explores ‘Clockwork’ by Philip Pullman

Yr 6 Group explores ‘Clockwork’ by Philip Pullman

A really exciting and productive day was spent exploring visual language to represent themes and ideas from the book  ‘Clockwork’ by Philip Pulman with a YR6 class.

‘Clockwork’ is a dark story but with really interesting comments on creativity and the creative process. There is a moment in the book where 2 characters are compared. Karl is a clockwork maker and Fritz is a story teller:

“Here’s the truth. If you want something, you CAN have it, but only if you want everything that goes with it, including all the hard work and the despair, and only if you’re willing to risk failure. That’s the problem with Karl: he was afraid of failing, so he never really tried”.

“…Fritz was an optimist and Karl was a pessimist, and that makes all the difference in the world…..He was going to wind up the story, set it going and make up the end when he got there…he was an optimist

 I love this articulation of creativity as an act of optimism and of hope, creativity promoting  well-being . Another reason to promote and develop creative thinking in our children and young people…!

On  the day we explored how to create atmosphere and drama in visual imagery by using chirascuro, and silhouette.

drawing trees

The children learnt how to use charcoal and rubber to create dark and light and were able to work on a really big scale creating a dark and mysterious forest..


We explored a range of mono-printing techniques both large and small scale and used collage to layer images in order to create foreground and background





Around the theme of clockwork we considered the way that  the characters, the places and the narrative were all interconnected:

“And once you’ve wound up a clock, there’s something frightful in the way it keeps on going at its own relentless pace…’

“Some stories are like that. Once you’ve wound them up , nothing will stop them; they move on forwards till they reach their destined end, and no matter how much the characters would like to change their fate, they can’t.”



Using drawing by monoprinting the children created a cog for each chosen character or place in the story. These cogs were then connected to other cogs until all the characters and places interlinked in a complicated potential mechanism of  over 100 pieces….All wound up and ready to go!

Why we need Art in Education

Last week I was talking in assemblies at Holmfirth High School about creativity and the need for education to develop creative thinking
I was therefore pleased to see this article in The Observer this weekend which echoes some of what I was taking about..

From hit shows such as War Horse and Sherlock to the singing star Adele and sought-after architects and designers Zaha Hadid and Thomas Heatherwick, British creative knowhow has basked in the international limelight for more than a decade. The world wants our creative thinking and artistic talent.

But that leading position is in jeopardy, says a report due out on Tuesday. A new emphasis on creative thinking among foreign competitors has underlined a growing threat to Britain’s worldwide standing in the arts.

While schools are being urged to concentrate on maths and science, much of the rest of the developed world is embarking on an “arts race” for soft diplomatic power and creative status.

The historically strong tradition of hit cultural exports across performance, art and design will not continue into the next decade if the plans of rival foreign investors come good.

Countries as far away as China, South Korea and Brazil have learned from British success and are investing heavily in their creative economies, according to research carried out by BOP Consulting in collaboration with the Creative Industries Federation to mark the cultural lobbying organisation’s first birthday this week. European neighbours France, Germany and Italy are doing much the same thing.

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China has recently made the creative industries a “main pillar” of its national economy, while Taiwan has shifted its curriculum towards the encouragement of creative thinking. In the US there is also increased understanding of the significance of a cultural education, with San Francisco voting for a 50% rise in grant-funding for the San Francisco Arts Commission to secure the future of its cultural scene.

Speaking before the release of the research, designer and philanthropist Sir John Sorrell, chair of the CIF, said that, while George Osborne’s autumn statement had endorsed Britain’s creative industries, there was no scope for complacency. “Other countries now also see the economic value of culture and are investing heavily,” he said. “The Chinese want things to be perceived as ‘designed in China’, not ‘made in China’.”

Of real concern to his federation members is the push to get the EBacc adopted in Britain for at least 90% of secondary pupils. This has no creative component, takes up the space of seven or eight GCSEs in the curriculum and so, they argue, prevents many students from furthering their artistic interests in other subjects.

Last week leading actors and musicians wrote to the Times to complain about the impact of the widescale imposition of the “narrow” EBacc. “In order to stay at the top we need to invest in the future, especially in creativity in schools, where the number of pupils taking design and technology has halved in the past decade,” said Sorrell. “That is cutting off the skills pipeline we need for future success.”

The new international comparisons study, carried out by Callum Lee and Lucy Minyo of BOP Consulting for the federation, is part of The C.Report, a survey of the CIF’s first year of work which is intended as a curtain-raiser to further studies of levels of foreign investment and sponsorship of the arts.

John Kampfner, chief executive of CIF, believes that Britain’s artistic pre-eminence has been built on sustained levels of investment from the lottery and from government, underpinned by creative education in schools.

“But we risk putting our hard-earned reputation and economic vibrancy at risk if we undermine the infrastructure that supports a thriving arts and creative industries sector, with creative education currently the biggest hole in central government policy,” he said.

“It should not be possible for a school to be deemed outstanding if its students are deprived of a quality cultural education, in and out of the curriculum. A reduction in the number of pupils with creative skills can only have damaging repercussions for the creative economy.”

Kampfner’s fears about a shrinking arts curriculum are echoed by Lizzie Crump of the Cultural Learning Alliance, who argues that government’s aim to give schools more freedom has been thwarted by their weighting in favour of EBacc during a consultation period that ends on January 29.

“Schools and teachers really do need to be trusted. Science and technology and maths are obviously important, but we need to ensure there is an arts component in the education of students too,” she said.

The number of arts teachers and hours of arts teaching in British schools are both going down, Crump said. “There will be young people, of course, who are supported in the arts by their parents, but we want a gold standard of arts education for all our children.”

Pisa (Programme for International Student Assessment) rankings, often alluded to by government, are also about to start measuring creativity. It is ironic, Crump added, that Britain is poised to pull away from the arts just as there is a global move towards monitoring these competencies in pupils.