Arts Award at CoMusica Inclusion, Sage Gateshead

We are pleased to announce that CoMusica Inclusion projects and related projects have achieved 35 Arts Awards since April ’15.

~~They are 6 Discover, 27 Explore and 2 Bronze. Successes have come from Arches Academy (Foundationz Girlz, Arches Access), CoMusica Foundation Training, Ferndene hospital and Thomas Hepburn School. We also have approximately 55 more Arts awards in progress, due to be completed by the end of March 2016. These include young people from our Music Spark and Young Carers projects. This would be approximately 24 Discover, 9 Explore, 25 Bronze and 1 silver. We have a moderation visit booked on December 17th.

It has been great to see how our music practitioners have embedded Arts Award delivery (when appropriate) into their practise. A key factor has been to make sure that there is a consultation process with the young people themselves; this gives them some ownership of the process and a voice in how the qualification will be delivered. Another crucial factor has been the support and engagement of partner staff in the delivery. They often have more contact with the young people in any given week than our practitioners do and so can support learning outside of the project.

More broadly across Sage Gateshead’s Learning & Participation Programme we have 29 Discovery Awards from the boys choir ‘Quay Lads’ that are almost complete. The schools programme has also been successful in applying for the Arts Award ‘We are Ten’ programme and in partnership with Cedars Academy in Gateshead, is due to start just after Xmas.


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Siggy Patchitt's picture

Hey Steve,

That's great news. I think that we, collectively, are starting to build up a picture of how Arts Awards work best with various groups of CYP. I think that as, at the end of the day, every child is different, participant ownership and partner buy-in are, as you point out, central pillars of a successful Arts Awards strategy.

Karina Flatt's picture

Great work, Steve. And good points, Siggy. We too are finding that the most successful Arts Awards are young people-centred, For example, a regional Arts Crew are completing Bronze Arts Award whilst planning and running their own music events for young people, incorporating reflection sessions (and building portfolios) in between events. We are also looking to embed Arts Award into a multi-agency partnership project with schools and the local community, but there is some discussion as to whether we should embed it for all or offer it as a progression option - a tough call!

Steve J Jinski's picture

Interesting final point Karina which brings us back to the 'when appropriate' conversation. We have found that this can also apply within a group. Hence the time needed before proper delivery starts to enable practitioners to get a sense of who within a group of young people will most grasp the opportunity. This of course also involves conversations with partner organisations and support staff.
However this identification process is still a challenge because sometimes our practitioners get the feeling that particular participants are written off almost before they start. I think this 'writing off' is often based on how a young person has behaved in a particular environment and they may well behave differently and engage more fully in a musical environment that does make any preconceived assumptions and tries to treat all participants equally.

Karina Flatt's picture

Agreed, Steve re: changing environments and not 'writing off' some young people - good to ensure these points are considered as part of the discussion.

Siggy Patchitt's picture

I did a SMEP in a special school in Bristol last week and the Music teacher showed me the way she evidences progression by photographing all the work that goes on and putting the photos in a folder that each child has along with suggestions for progression and notes on where learning had taken place in line with individual goals. These types of teachers should be treated like rock stars. We need to do more to bring this stuff to light. I'm all for extracting the essence, bottle it and spike mainstream school teachers tea with it. They are the epitome of inclusive practice and live and breathe the Youth Music Quality Framework without knowing it. She didn't even know what Arts Awards were!