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School puts the arts at the heart of learning

21 October 2008

Best known in the sporting world as the school attended by David Beckham, Chingford Foundation School is increasingly gaining a reputation for the arts.

This year, 11 students from the school earned Arts Council England’s Bronze Arts Award and, at 12 years old, they are some of the youngest people across the country to have gained the qualification.

Not only this, but their achievement has inspired their school and peers towards further artistic ambitions, with another 100 students now hoping to follow in their footsteps to gain a bronze award.

Arts Council England’s Arts Award is a national qualification that supports young people aged 11-25 to develop as artists and arts leaders, and helps them pick up useful skills such as communication, team working, planning and leadership along the way.

To gain their Arts Award, the students undertook ‘Arts Challenges’, which included learning to play musical instruments; learning ballroom and ballet dancing; and developed acting and design skills. As part of the award the students also visited exhibitions, concerts and theatres.

However, perhaps the most exciting and challenging part of their awards was the undertaking of apprenticeships at local primary schools, where they ran music, dance, drama and even origami workshops for the pupils. From this, a regular Saturday College for local schools has been established – providing arts activities for local children, as well as an opportunity for older students to develop their skills in running the activities.

Yolanda Guns, Arts Coordinator at Chingford Foundation School said:

‘Just one year after the pupils arrived at the school, all is entirely changed. We are now a specialist college for the arts and humanities, and we now have a reputation for being the school leading in on the arts in the local area. Our magic bunch of 11 original Arts Award students are now rampaging through the Silver Arts Award with the same infectious enthusiasm with which they approached the Bronze.’

Moira Sinclair, Executive Director of Arts Council England, London:

‘Art and creativity can inspire enthusiasm in our young people. The Arts Award takes this enthusiasm and nurtures it, offering the opportunity to showcase existing talents and to develop new skills. We would like to congratulate the students from Chingford Foundation School, and are delighted that their success has inspired so many others.’

Andrew Lysandrou, Carl Hainsby, Jack Rhodes, Harry Clarke, Robert Stratton, Carys Woods, Abigail Norton, Katie Hare, Harriet Judah, Rachel Pereira and Rebecca McCarthy formally received their Arts Awards certificates on 16 October at a special presentation evening in front of parents, teachers and other Arts Awards students.

For more information about Chingford Foundation School and for related images, please contact Yolanda Guns on 020 8506 3864.

Notes to editors

Arts Council England works to get great art to everyone by championing, developing and investing in artistic experiences that enrich people’s lives. As the national development agency for the arts, we support a range of artistic activities from theatre to music, literature to dance, photography to digital art, and carnival to crafts. Great art inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves, and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2008 and 2011, we will invest £1.3 billion of public money from government and a further £0.3 billion from the National Lottery to create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.