What is a Specialist Media and Visual Arts School?
Arts Colleges were introduced to the Government's Specialist Schools programme in September 1997 for schools wishing to develop special strengths in one or more of the performing, media or visual arts. The Arts College programme enables schools to build on their strengths, establish distinctive identities through the arts and achieve their targets to raise standards across the whole school. Willingdon School chose to become a Media and Visual Arts specialist school because of its strengths in Visual Art, Drama, English and Media Studies and because of their common focus on communication and creativity. The school achieved specialist status in September 2004 and must reapply for a second term of Specialism in 2008. After two years as a Specialist school Willingdon can boast the following special features.
A distinctive curriculum – the school continues to deliver all the subjects of the national curriculum but seeks to achieve measurable improvements in the teaching of media and the visual arts.
A vocational and professional ethos – the school has developed close links with industry, local employers, FE providers and arts organisations. A variety of vocational and academic courses are on offer within the curriculum to provide different pathways for different kinds of learners.
Enrichment in the Arts - the school provides a wide range of specialist activities which enrich all pupils` learning in the arts and media, within and beyond the formal timetable.
Extensive Use of ICT – the school exploits new technologies in the development of new approaches to teaching and learning across the curriculum. It also equips all students with relevant and up to date skills related to media and the visual arts so they can achieve success in their next phase of education, employment or training. The school's facilities have been upgraded to achieve this. Most classrooms are equipped with interactive white boards and a new industry standard media suite has been created for school and community use.
Strong Community links – the school supports the learning needs of diverse community groups through media and visual arts related activities which in turn often create new learning opportunities and motivating experiences for students within the school.
By 2008 our aim is that all of our students will have benefited from the enhanced range of styles of teaching and learning facilitated by the media technologies and the visual arts. Students will be empowered to organise and access information and think creatively in all areas of the curriculum using techniques learned in media and the visual arts to promote their abilities as engaged, lifelong learners. Students will develop both creative and critical skills so they are not merely passive consumers of modern media, but able to discriminate and create for themselves, using the digital and electronic resources which are so important for all our futures.
Visit the rest of this section of the school website to learn how the aims are being achieved in each of the specialist subjects.