Artist Pia Bramley worked with Art Coordinator Justine Anthony at St Winifred’s School over the Autumn term 2018 to support the development of confidence, skills and techniques for drawing from Nursery to Year 6.
Pia explains why the project was a success from the beginning: ‘The school asked if they could do anything to prepare pupils before the project began, and many teachers asked about continuing and developing some of the ideas which we started, so it was great to know that this project really was seen as part of ongoing pupil development and not just an isolated experience.’ Justine adds: ‘Pia was keen to get a ‘feel’ for where we were at as a school and was taken on a thorough tour of the school, including looking at displays and classroom resources. We were able to bounce ideas off each other and agree the best approach.’
Before working with the children, Pia led a staff CPD session where she introduced the project and her ideas. She tells us: ‘I think that the clearest benefit came from the teachers being in the classroom and watching their pupils in action. Some of the teachers were able to join their pupils in each activity.’ Justine also highlighted the significance of the staff CPD and following workshops, saying: ‘Pia had a wealth of knowledge and expertise which she passed through to first the teaching staff via a CPD and then to the children. Children were really inspired and encouraged to develop their observational skills.’
Working with a professional artist in their school meant the children were excited and able to try out totally new ideas and ways of working. Pia explains: ‘I think the part of the sessions most enjoyed by the pupils was the warm up - just offering the freedom of making really wild and energetic marks, and not being bound to neatness or getting the shapes ‘right’ is a treat.’ Justine adds: ‘Pia was very organised during every visit and her calm nature meant that lessons were very successful and children produced high quality work.’
The most successful achievement for Pia and Justine was clearly the improvement in drawing skills across the school. Pia said: ‘In the final session at the school a teacher told me that pupils had been requesting the warm ups at the beginning of their art sessions, and that she had noticed an improvement in pupils’ hand writing. This has left me over the moon - I’ve long been interested in the idea that drawing and writing are the same thing and am delighted that they’ve been connected in this way.’
Justine agreed and said: ‘It was fantastic seeing the development of drawing skills across the school from Nursery right through to Year 6 – we were using the media ink that we would not have dreamed of using and we all now feel very confident at drawing with it.’
If you are interested in working on a skills based project in your school, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 8980 7774