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 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

Our Artsmark Journey so far...

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

Click here 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.

Our First Arts Project - Nellie’s Tree – Autumn 2018

Our first whole school arts 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 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!!


Our Second Artsmark Project – The Big Freeze – Summer 2019

The ‘Big Freeze’

Following on from our Spring 2019 art project, the 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’.


A local artist, who is also a parent at our school, worked throughout Key Stage 1 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

Here the Y5/6 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.


Our Third Artsmark Project and 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. 

Our Fourth Artsmark Project was linked to Remembrance Day

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

Our Fifth Artsmark Project and Arts week - Africa - Autumn 2020

Coming soon ...

Our Photo Gallery

© Copyright 2016–2020 Aberford C of E (VC) Primary School