The Arts at St Francis
The Arts have always played a prominent role in our school and we actively promote children’s exposure to, and participation in, a wide range of Art forms, and hold regular ‘Arts Weeks’. We believe that every child’s life should be touched by great art, and that their education in these subjects should be inclusive, diverse and fun. We aim to embed access to opportunities and knowledge of arts and culture through our curriculum provision and the enrichment activities we offer. In addition, we have a wide range of dedicated Arts spaces within the school, such as the DT, Cookery and Music rooms, a large stage with a lighting and sound system and the Studio which was specifically designed for dance activities.
The value we place on the Arts can be seen throughout the school; visitors always comment on the high standard of the vibrant work on display, such as our large canvases which were created by all the children in response to the school’s collaboration with the ‘Into Opera’ – ‘A King’s Ransom’ project. Copies of children’s art are sometimes offered for sale in order to raise funds for ongoing Arts projects.
A well as making Arts education a main focus of our curriculum design and development, as a school we are currently working towards achieving Artsmark status. We continue to be part of the annual Norfolk and Norwich Festival Open Studios event, where our pupils’ artwork is exhibited, and we are also proud to be the only primary school in the Norwich 2040 Local Cultural Education Partnership, working to develop collaborative partnerships for schools with culture and education providers in the city, such as the National Centre for Writing and the Theatre Royal.
On Tuesday 10th March, the school netball club attended the Norwich School Sport Partnership High 5 netball tournament at the UEA, where over 100 pupils participated in 16 different teams. The club was spilt into two different teams to compete in the tournament. All children worked tirelessly for their team and showed excellent sportsmanship throughout the whole competition. Team B came 8th and Team A came 1st, which was an excellent achievement. In coming first, we have now been now invited to represent the SSP at the Norfolk School Games Finals which will take place on Thursday 18th June at UEA Sportspark. We will also be taking part in the Summer League so they must keep training hard! Check out this link on NSSP website for more information and photos of the event – https://www.norwichssp.co.uk/over-100-pupils-participate-in-the-school-games-yr5-6-high-5-netball-competition/
On Monday 9th March the School Choir performed at the Norfolk County Music Festival at St Andrew’s Hall. They sang Naughty by Tim Minchin and Wayfaring Stranger (an American folk song) arranged by Judy Ball. The Choir received very high praise indeed and were awarded Highly Commended Plus. The school are so very proud of them.
What a treat Year 6 had when they saw The Little Match Girl at Norwich Playhouse on Thursday morning. From the music, to the dance, singing, acting, costumes and scenery an imaginary Italian city was brought to life to tell a new version of the Little Match Girl. With only 4 dancers, each of whom played multiple roles, and a single highly talented musician, who provided the sound scape through voice and instrument (on the violin, guitar, mouth organ, various percussion and other instruments) the children were captivated and thoroughly enjoyed this innovative and entertaining Italian adaptation. If you have the opportunity to see the show, we would highly recommend going.
Wednesday the 32 strong choir travelled to The Royal Albert Hall to rehearse and then perform in the Music for Youth Proms. They sang as part of the Norfolk Ensemble of ‘ A Kind of Magic Flute’ and they were sensational. It was such a brilliant, although long, day and parents and children should be so proud of their behaviour and singing. We also had a little walk around the area and popped into the Science Museum for tea. It was also wonderful that parents and the Year 6 children came to see us.
The Arts have always been valued, developed and celebrated at St Francis and have been central to the educational experience we are able to offer our pupils. We have always planned rigorously when teaching knowledge, understanding, skills and critical thinking in the Arts and the many vibrant displays around our school are testament to the value we place on developing the Arts in both our taught and wider curriculum.
However, for the last couple of years, we have sought to obtain a formal recognition of the work that we do through taking part in the Arts Council’s ‘Artsmark’ process.
Our vision was to also work together as a Trust, sharing our ideas and expertise with each other, and for us to create more opportunities for sharing the wealth of outstanding creativity throughout our schools.
Some of the major events in our Artsmark journey have been ‘A King’s Ransom,’ Opera project, the Peter Pan Project and the Summer Art Exhibitions held as part of the Norfolk and Norwich festival. These had a huge impact- creating even more opportunities for creativity, performance, exhibiting and community outreach. Visiting artists and musicians have worked with children of all ages, and continue to do so.
Our Pupil Voice survey results included:
‘I felt really proud of my art and also that the rest of the school were showing their artwork too. My family were amazed at the exhibition!’
Comments from the families and community:
‘The standard of the artwork is exceptional. Well done for all the hard work and care that has gone into the display- from the whole school community,’
A selection of images from our Artsmark journey can be viewed below:
In the December 2019, St Francis of Assisi was awarded a Gold Artsmark in recognition of the quality of Arts provision throughout the school.
Recently, our Year 6 school band ‘Lyve5’ were filmed in school by the award-winning cinematographer Bud Gallimore, who has filmed tours, videos and documentaries for the Rolling Stones, Mumford and Sons, Rita Ora, The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Blur and Ellie Goulding, amongst others. Sam, Caleb and James spent a morning with Bud filming in the school hall, and the resulting video of their improvisation session can be seen here.