What is the Artsmark?

The Artsmark is awarded by Arts Council England, Artsmark helps schools to deliver high-quality arts and cultural education and provides an excellent way to demonstrate this, no matter what your starting point.

We are incredibly proud to say that in September 2021 we were awarded the 'Outstanding Achievement' of the Artsmark Silver Award, accredited by Arts Council England.

We believe that every child should have an opportunity to create, experience and participate in extraordinary work. At the heart of Artsmark, seven quality principles give structure and substance to a curriculum which can unlock the potential of children and young people and help them to develop their skills and talents.

The 7 key principles within Artsmark which include:

  1. Striving for excellence and innovation
  2. Being authentic
  3. Being exciting, inspiring and engaging
  4. Ensuring a positive and inclusive experience
  5. Actively involving young people
  6. Enabling personal progression
  7. Developing belonging and ownership

The Benefit of Artsmark for our school

  • We gain access to practical teaching resources as well as networks of the country’s leading cultural organisations, helping us develop and strengthen our arts provision.
  • Artsmark helps us recognise and celebrate our school’s strengths and get practical support for future ambitions for arts provision.
  • Artsmark provides strong evidence for how we are meeting our spiritual, moral, social and cultural aims
  • Artsmark enables our teachers to be confident in teaching the arts

The Benefit of Artsmark for our children

  • Culture and creativity increase pupils’ confidence, critical and creative thinking, communication and literacy skills, improving attainment in core subjects like Maths and English.
  • The arts introduce the joys of creating and performing and experiencing art to our children, who may not otherwise be exposed to it.
  • Artsmark helps encourage pupil voice and leadership skills.

Artsmark - Arts Council

Updated: 02/12/2020 2.61 MB
Updated: 02/12/2020 3.20 MB
Updated: 02/12/2020 759 KB
Updated: 30/10/2020 4.02 MB
Updated: 30/10/2020 4.58 MB
Updated: 30/10/2020 404 KB

Our Artsmark Journey...

In September 2018, we put together our Aberford Arts Council and began our pathway to working towards the Artsmark Bronze Award. 

Click above to view the PowerPoint the Arts Council made to introduce the Artsmark Award to the whole school during collective worship.

In order for our Artsmark project to be successful, the Arts Council held half-termly meetings to collaborate planning ideas for various projects to take place across the school every half term through the implementation of an Arts Week. Here a theme was chosen linking our Christian Values with new learning, knowledge, understanding. An artist was also chosen to drive the week and the arts council introduced the Arts Week to the whole school through collective worship.

The Arts Council planned a series of activities for each year group to do in their class, and where possible the older children in Y5/6  ‘buddied up’ with their reception ‘buddies’ to teach them their new skills.

Nellie’s Tree – Autumn 2018

Our first whole school art project was based around 'Nellie's Tree.' In 2018, Nellie's Tree was voted UK's Tree of the Year and it lives here in Aberford. The tree is a beech tree grafted into an N-shape to woo a sweetheart named Nellie. Almost 100 years ago, Vic Stead grafted a sampling between two others to form the letter N as he went to meet Nellie. They later went on to get married and have their own family. 

We worked with local artist, Cathy Carney, to produce artwork inspired by the tree - which in 2019 was put forward for Europe's Tree of the year. Sadly, it didn't win but still think it's amazing! Each child created different types of art, with a piece of art from every year group chosen to be displayed across Europe to celebrate the 'Europe's Tree of the Year' event. 

Each class went down to visit Nellie’s tree with the local artist Catherine Carney and created a large installation using natural materials. It was a real success! Every child gained first-hand experience working with the local artist in residence and produce a whole class piece of sculpture using natural materials.

Class 1

Class 1 used a range of paints, watercolours and pens to design and create their own versions of Nellie's Tree. The children focussed on colour mixing to create effective pieces. 

Class 2

Class 2 used pencils, paint and card to create an effective version of Nellie's Tree!

Class 3

Class 3 had a fantastic trip up to Nellie's Tree with Cathy Carney and created some wonderful Autumnal artwork. They worked in groups to collect different coloured leaves and sort them accordingly. We worked as a team to create a 'V' representing Victor, Nellie's husband and creator of the tree before the children went on to make their own leaf art. Take a look .. we are very proud!!

Charlotte - 'I had a wonderful day at Nellie's Tree today, I enjoyed creating our beautiful art piece.'

Class 3 also created some fabulous art in the classroom. They used tissue paper and a laminating pouch to create a 'Nellie shaped' suncatcher.

Class 4

Class 4 were excited to work alongside the local artist Cathy Carney to create a 3D sculpture incorporating the award-winning Nellie's Tree. The children collectively had to gather a series of twigs approximately 12 inches long and arrange them in arrows pointing away from the base of Nellie's tree. The effect was dramatic as the relief sculpture looked like a carpet of arrows progressively becoming larger as they moved away from the focal point Nellie's tree.

Class 4 also focused upon the skills of the colour wheel colour mixing and matching and used this concept to create an abstract representation of the circles of the tree truck which tells us how old trees are. The children used watercolours and a fine brush to paint the circles replicating the circles three times across the page until they overlapped. Once the background was complete, the pupils then worked onto with charcoal to draw the silhouette of Nellie's tree on top. 

I'm sure you will agree - the effect is stunning!!


The Great Big Dance Off - 2019

We are very proud to have entered The Great Big Dance Off, it is a national competition open to all schools across England and Wales. Their aim is to create an exciting competition bringing together children of all ages and abilities where the emphasis is on having a good time. 

We have entered the competition a number of times but The Great British Dance Off 2019 was bigger than ever with teams for all over the competing. Our very talented Aberford C of E Primary dance group is made up of children from Year 3 - Year 6. The girls and boys performed an incredible dance called 'Fire and Ice'. It was choreographed by a member of the Castleford Tigers team and took the audience by storm! We are very very proud to have come an amazing third place.

A huge well done and congratulations to all the dedicated children who worked tirelessly to perfect their performance. Great teamwork and fun was had by all!

The 'Big Freeze' – Summer 2019

Following on from our Spring 2019 art project, Summer term 2019 encompassed a whole school project to produce Aberford’s ‘Big Freeze’ as a textile tapestry. Each class took a section of the installation and produced a piece of artwork to represent their part. These were also linked to our Christian Values which were then woven into the artwork. Some children made their own felt and worked in small groups with a local practising artist to do this.

The ‘Big Freeze’ will be displayed in the hall where all of the children’s textile artwork will be collaborated to create Aberford’s own ‘Big Freeze’.

Class 1 and Class 2

A local artist, who is also a parent at our school, worked throughout Key Stage 1 and EYFS with individual children to create a piece of felt and tapestry to represent their section of the ‘Big Freeze’ Creation and Love which was then pieced together to make their sections of Aberford’s ‘Big Freeze’.

Class 3

Here is a tease of one completed section by Class 3 and our whole school displays which give an insight into the children working behind the scenes. Class 3’s (Y3/4) section was the New Kingdom and each child had a felt square which they used to create part of the story of the ‘New Kingdom.


Class 4

The Year 5 and Year 6 pupils of Class 4 focussed on the part of the New Kingdom in the Big Freeze and wanted to simplify the section with bright abstract colours and a linear approach.

First of all the children work in pairs to enlarge a section of the New Kingdom chosen by themselves. Here they work on A3 paper to resize and recolour the buildings adding movement through lines and mark making. Once simplified the design was then reconstructed in a textile medium felt, using a technique of applique the children recreated their buildings. The sections of the materials were then pieced together to create Class 4's interpretation.


The Arts Council then decided that every half term they would plan an Arts Week which would take the pupils on a global journey around the world travelling from continent to continent with an artist based theme, which embraces our Christian Values.


Arts Week -  South America - Autumn 2019

Autumn 2019 saw the Arts Council begin their journey to take Aberford C of E Primary School around the different continents of the world to enrich our knowledge and understanding of different cultures, festivals and religions.

Each class had a focus linked with native artists to the countries and their style of artwork was then used to influence the artwork, music. Drama and dance studied and experienced by the children. Cross-curricular links were also embedded through the subjects of English, geography and history themes as well as embracing our Christian and British values which we live and breathe as a school. These all combined underpinned the Arts week as a celebration of global awareness brought to the local community and school environment.

Our first stop the children chose was South America where each class was linked with a country of South America and an artist. The Y5/6 children helped deliver the sessions to our key stage one pupils which also reinforced pupil voice, relationships, collaboration and school community.

Class 1

Class 1 were focussed on the work by Georgia O'Keeffe and were challenged to create flowers with moving butterflies and bees using pipe cleaners, felt, buttons and paper plates.

Class 2

Class 2 looked at the life and works of Alexander Calder. They produced some artwork in the style of his work, using primary colours. They loved experimenting with different shapes!

Class 3

Class 3 focussed on Andy Warhol, who was the artist who took a face and repeated the image in different colours. He also painting everyday objects in the same way. Class 3 produced some fabulous self-portrait artwork in his style. 

Class 4

Class 4 focussed on Frida Kahlo, an artist from Mexico, who focussed her artwork on self-portraits in many different ways, using inspiration from her hometown and the 'Day of the Dead.' Class 4 had a go at recreating their own versions, inspired by the works of Frida.

The Arts Council then held a celebration assembly where everyone had the chance to showcase their amazing artwork and discuss their thoughts and feelings about their exciting learning - Well done and a huge thanks to Aberford Arts Council for leading such a successful, fun, engaging Arts Week!

School Closure meant we were unable to partake in our Arts Week Spring 2019 - The children were going to complete work around the continent Oceania. 

Meet our new Arts Council for 2020/21

We are excited to present our 2020/2021 Arts Council who will plan and design our Arts weeks throughout the rest of the academic year.

Our aim is to celebrate the arts across the school and curriculum to ensure everyone experiences and adopts new skills and techniques, which enhances their creativity and inspires them to push themselves beyond their expectations.

This year we are working together to achieve our Silver Artsmark award which acknowledges our school commitment to art, dance music and drama both locally and globally. We are dedicated to making links with outside agencies and professionals to give our children new first-hand experiences and memories which last a lifetime. Working to promote multicultural links is our priority and celebrate its diverse collaboration with music and colour.

The Arts Council are excited to plan new activities for 2020/21!!

Remembrance Day - Autumn 2020

This week the children learnt about Remembrance Day and the significance of why a poppy is worn. During collective worship, pupils read the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ by John McCrae and discussed the meaning of its significance and how the poppy became the representation of the celebration.

To celebrate Remembrance Day this year and to remember those who fought and lost their lives during the war, children from each class painted an individual poppy of a memorial scene on wooden discs, which are proudly displayed at the cenotaph in Aberford for all the community to see.

We also created our own Remembrance Day Poppy Art Gallery at school. Here the children painted an individual poppy or a memorial scene on mini wooden discs which were then hung collectively outside for all the community to enjoy.

Key Stage 1

Class 1 painted handprints on their class disc to show a sense of unity and how we all hold hands together during this time of remembrance. Class 2 chose to represent their poppies through a collage of finger painting, which shows all of the children’s tiny fingerprints united together.

Key Stage 2

Class 3 and 4 delicately painted either a poppy or scene to commemorate onto their individual wooden discs and together created a poppy landscape on their large class disc.

Class 3

Class 4

Arts Week - South Africa - Autumn 2020

This week we have been celebrating the continent of Africa for our Arts week, based upon the Zulu Nation warriors. The children have looked where in the world Africa is and studied the music which originates from the Zulu Nation.

The Arts Council planned and created activities for each of the classes to do this week and introduced the theme to our Key stage 1 and 2 bubbles through a special assembly. 

Class 1 and Class 2

In Class 1 and 2 the children made African masks and decorated them with bright colours. They thoroughly enjoyed painting their plates and attaching the head dress.

Class 3

In Class 3 the pupils focused on the technique of pointillism to produce African hand-painted rainbow trees. The children had to carefully use a fine brush and watercolours to achieve the blended effect.

Class 4

In Class 4 the children worked in the media of clay to create a 3D sculpture disc inspired by the pattern featured on the Zulu warrior shields. The pupils first flattened the clay, curved the edges and then scratched their design into the surface of the clay.

This Little Light of Mine... - Autumn 2020

The whole school has embarked upon a new, innovative and inspirational collaborative musical/art project which will be displayed collectively in the hall for all to see and celebrate. Each pupil has made a musical note featured in the composition of the song ' This Little Light of Mine...' out of clay or salt dough, they then painted it using metallic paint, they will soon be hung on the display board in the main hall to recreate the musical interpretation in note form of the melody. The theme 'light' will be the main focus and used in our next whole school collective art project next year...Watch this space!!

Here are some wonderful images of Class 4 working both independently and in pairs on the project developing their sculptural and fine motor skills.

Christingle Musical Celebration – December 2020

On 17th December, we celebrated our rather unique (and very wet) Christmas Christingle service in the playground. Each class stood together to present the Christingles they had made previously in class. Christingles are made from an orange, red ribbon, 4 small sticks, dried fruits or sweets and a lit candle. They are used by Christians to celebrate Jesus as the Light of the World.  As a whole school, we sang hymns, Christmas carols shared traditional Christmas readings, as well as reflecting on the meaning of the Christingle and what each part represents.

Even though the weather was rainy, this did not dampen our Christmas spirits as we stood collectively together as a school to celebrate. We were joined by our new curator from our school partner the local Aberford Parish Church St. Ricarius to celebrate the meaning of Christmas and Christingle. The beautiful singing, excellent reading and smiley faces certainly brightened up a drizzly December afternoon!

Lockdown Japanese Art - Spring 2021

Over the Spring term of 2021, whilst remote learning, the children studied various aspects of Japanese art alongside the key workers at school.

At first, the children first focused upon Japanese Notan art looking at the ‘light-dark balance’ of Japanese scenery. They identified the space as the area above, below, between, within and around the objects in an artwork. The space within the shapes or forms in an artwork is called positive space and here the pupils simplified the landscapes by producing a dramatic black and white version.

Next, the children’s objective was to look at the concept of perspective. Here we focused upon the vanishing point, and how it is used in landscapes and lettering to create a sense of depth. Through studying the works of Jacques Rousseau the children produced perspective artwork of experimenting with landscapes or lettering of their names.

The pupils really enjoyed exploring the concept of ‘foreshortening’ when looking at how cartoonists create the movement of cartoon characters – specifically superheroes. A challenge was set for the children to create their own images with foreshortening. They thoroughly enjoyed this and learned many new skills.

Easter Musical Celebration – April 2021

We had a wonderful Easter Musical Festival from all the children on Thursday 1st April 2021 gathered outside on the playground. Each class stood together to present their collection of Easter celebrations to the rest of the school as well as singing, sharing traditional Easter readings and reflecting on the meaning of Easter.

Class 1 presented a gift of handmade daffodils to the rest of the school, whilst class two shared their colourful animated Easter eggs and their Easter stories. Class 3 shared all of the different types of celebrations we as Christians celebrate throughout the year, with Class 4 leading the Easter Collective Worship, sharing readings about the retelling of Jesus and the Easter story, the meaning behind Easter, why and how Christians celebrate it.

To finish our Easter extravaganza, one of the lucky children in Year 5 won a fantastic hamper of donated Easter Eggs from the prize raffle draw.



The Tree of Values - Spring 1

During our Artsmark adventure, as a whole school, we have been re-evaluating our core Christian values and how we may represent these in a visual and artistic form. The ACE committee/school council analysed the results of the British Values questionnaires which were sent during the spring term to parents, pupils, staff and governors for their preference on which Christian values they felt reflected Aberford Primary School.

The Arts Council painted our ‘Tree of Values’ mural display in the hall where the Christian value for the half term is displayed for all to see and reflect upon. The children use acrylic paint to create the tree and mixed varying shades to achieve a three-dimensional effect.

Primary Diversity Day: Spring 2

We were lucky enough to participate in the Leeds for Learning Primary Diversity Day on 20th April 2021. This event gave us the opportunity to learn first-hand about the celebrations that take place in our local faith communities at this time of the year.

Class 1

In Class One we looked at the festival Ramadan and what it means to fast. They were very fortunate to have two children whose families were currently fasting and they were able to share first-hand experiences themselves and tell everyone all about what their families were doing during this special time. 

They also loved creating Henna Patterns and moon and star hanging mobiles. ​​​​​

Class 2

Class 2 started the day by looking at the Christian festival of Easter. We listened to Reverend Sue talking about the celebration of new life and then made their own Easter gardens.

We then looked at the Islamic festival of Eid. We learnt about Ramadan and how Eid is celebrated. We enjoyed creating our own Islamic patterns and moon and star hanging mobiles.

Class 3

Class 3 started the day by looking at what diversity means. 

It means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognising our individual differences. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies.

Some ideas we can up with are:

  • diversity means everyone is different
  • different things and different religions
  • I think it means being nice and friendly to everyone
  • Helping each other to live together
  • Finding out about different things

Holi Festival

We looked at the Hindu festival, Holi that celebrates Spring and new life.


They looked at the Jewish festival of Passover. Jews celebrate the Feast of Passover (Pesach in Hebrew) to commemorate the liberation of the Children of Israel who were led out of Egypt by Moses. Jews have celebrated Passover since about 1300 BC, following the rules laid down by God in Exodus 13.

Class 4


Meet our new Arts Council for 2021/22

We are excited to present our 2021/2022 Arts Council who will plan and design our Arts weeks throughout the academic year.

Our aim is to celebrate the arts across the school and curriculum to ensure everyone experiences and adopts new skills and techniques, which enhances their creativity and inspires them to push themselves beyond their expectations.

This year we are incredibly proud to announce we have been awarded the 'Outstanding Achievement' of the Artsmark Silver Award, accredited by Arts Council England. All our hard work and dedication has paid off!

The Arts Council are excited to plan more new and exciting activities for our school throughout 2021/22.


Remembrance Day - Aumtun 2021

This week, we have been learning about Remembrance Day and the significance of the poppy. The red poppy is a symbol of both Remembrance and hope for a peaceful future. Poppies are worn as a show of support for the Armed Forces community. The poppy is a well-known and well-established symbol, one that carries a wealth of history and meaning with it. Wearing a poppy is still a very personal choice, reflecting individual experiences and personal memories. It is never compulsory but is greatly appreciated by those who it is intended to support.

This year, to celebrate and remember those who fought and lost their lives during the war, each child painted a poppy using plastic bottles, together they are proudly displayed at the cenotaph in Aberford for all the community to see. 


Lotherton Hall Christmas Project- Autumn 2021


Class 1

Class 1 made wonderful card cat faces with pipe cleaner whiskers.

Class 2

Class 2 produced an amazing collection of 3D cat clay sculptures carefully decorated with paint.

Class 3

Class 3 created 3D collage cats on mini log discs ready to be hung on the Christmas Tree.

Class 4

Class 4 carefully crafted textile miniature cats of Lord Lesley out of felt and tapestry thread demonstrated their skill of various sewing techniques.

Horticultural Art Show- Summer 2022

Aberford take part every year in the summer art competition and display at the Horticultural Show. The art work is judged in year groups and the children have a chance to win a prize.

Class 1

Class 1's artwork was inspired by the Queen’s crown. They used their hand prints to create the shape of the crown and added jewels to decorate using their fingerprints. The reception children were very proud of their work and don’t you agree they look priceless.

Class 2

Class 2's artwork was inspired by the Superbloom exhibition at the Tower of London - millions of wildflowers were planted in honour of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee. They looked at all the flowers and then explored the wildflower area our school planted earlier in the year. They undertook a butterfly count and looked at the area as a microhabitat for bees, butterflies and many other minibeasts. Inspired by all of this, they decided to use the Japanese technique of Hapa Zome (leaf dye) to create their flower and leaf artwork, considering too, the symmetry of butterflies.

Class 3

Class 3's artwork was inspired by the silhouette of the famous landmarks of London which are heightened by the contrasting sky.  The children first painted the background in washes of watercolour choosing carefully colours which blended naturally together. Next, the pupils studied the iconic landmarks of London city and looked closely at the shapes and lines of the buildings. From here they used black paper to create the foreground and stuck it onto the horizon.

Class 4

Class 4’s art work was inspired by the colours of the Union Jack and how we could re-create this using one of the pupil’s spinning art machines. This was a child-led project where each individual worked 1:1 to produce a unique piece of spiral artwork which was then glued onto a coloured wash of the flag. The contrasting shapes complemented each other and the pupils thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Meet our new Arts Council for 2022/23

Young Voices Choir

We are thrilled that our KS2 choir will be participating in Young Voices this year and are very excited to be attending their event at the Sheffield area on the 5th of January.

The Young Voices experience is not simply a children’s choir concert, these are the largest children’s choir concert's in the world. Our choir will perform alongside 5,000-8,000 other children as a single choir to capacity audiences of family and friends.

We are currently working extremely hard to learn the words to be songs and perfect our singing and harmonies. 

Centenary Poppy Wall November 2022

To celebrate Remembrance Sunday each individual child made a poppy to contribute to our whole poppy wall which was to be displayed next to the cenotaph your all to see.

Class 4 took part in the memorial service and took part in the readings, prayers and reflections.

Growing Together Artsweek Autumn 2022

The whole school took part in the Artsmark Themed Arts Week during November 2022 to celebrate growing together.

Each child made a leaf which represented them at school including the school’s core values which was them added to our Community Tree.

Christmas Celebration at Lotherton Hall Lord Lesley

Every year at Aberford C of E Primary School all children make a Christmas decoration to be hung and displayed on a Christmas tree at Lotherton Hall for all to see. This year the theme was to celebrate Lord Lesley the cat who turned the grand old age of 20 years. The children really enjoyed creating their decorations.


Artsmark Partners and Enrichment

Leeds City Art Gallery - Be an Art Detective Autumn 2023

In September 2023 Class 3 were excited to be part of a 3 day art and music workshop run in collaboration with the Artsmark Council and Leeds City  Art Gallery. The first workshop consisted of a virtual tour and zoom meeting of the Leeds City Art Gallery with the Education Officer Amanda Phillips.

During the second workshop, which was school based, featured the children working collectively with musicians creating musical tunes using improvisation and a call and response of African Tribal chants.

For the third workshop the Y3/4 pupils ventured into the Leeds city center to experience and visit the Leeds City Art Gallery first hand along with the Henri Moore Institute on the afternoon.

Our Photo Gallery