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A window to the world

A film exploring the importance of arts and creativity by SSAT members St Marylebone School has had over 7,000 views on YouTube. Headteacher Kathryn Pugh gives you a window into how and why the film was produced…

The wider value of arts

The film has two purposes: to tie our colours clearly and boldly to the mast and to rally public, media and political interest in an important issue. Much of arts advocacy relies on the reductive social-inclusion argument: ‘art saved me’ or ‘drama rescued me from a life of crime’.

This limiting argument neglects the wider value of arts in schools to enrich the lives of all our learners, through the learning that comes through process, diligence, research, review, scratch out, rehearse, refine, produce, present, evaluate.

The film explores what an academic, well-taught, explorative experience of arts education brings to young people. It brings benefits that cannot be measured on a spreadsheet but that, without doubt, contribute to their academic achievements, personal and social development – sense of self, of humour, and of community.

Such arts education also makes it possible for school leadership to be more creative and dynamic – and very often, more successful.

A collaborative process

The film was born out of a ‘let’s capture our thoughts’ conversation between our head of art, Steph Cubbin, and me. She and our music technology lead, Pete Thomas, then went about contacting people, and gathering footage from stakeholders who were more than willing to participate.

The two of them made this a true labour of editing love over the summer term, leading to a launch night in September. Since then, we have been delighted with the encouraging, even passionate support we have received.

With over 7,000 views now on YouTube, we hope to raise the debate beyond the over-simplistic arts-versus-Ebacc argument and into a courageous engagement at leadership and policy level.

We hope it will encourage schools to explore how they can prioritise creativity – not at the expense of employability, but as a major contributor to it. And, moreover, to the development of our young people and the flourishing of our schools.

SSAT comments

On Tuesday 19th January 2016, SSAT will bring together key national arts organisations, leading headteachers, celebrated artists and influential policy makers to explore the place, purpose and status of the arts in schools.

St Marylebone School headteacher Kathryn Pugh will be in attendance and a paper will be produced after the event which should inform and shape the future direction of school policy and practice.

How important are the arts to you and your school? Do you, like St Marylebone, place huge value on creativity and artistic flair? Or do other subjects take priority? Let us know by tweeting @SSAT and using the hashtag #ArtSSAT.

Relevant links

Visit St Marylebone School’s website.

Philip Pullman says tests and league tables have left arts education in a ‘terrible state’

Top 10 skills children learn from the arts.

Follow St Marylebone School on Twitter: @StMarylebone

Follow SSAT on Twitter: @SSAT

Like SSAT on Facebook.

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