This blog shines a light on Lansbury Lawrence Primary School in London.
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I talk to Kerri Sellens, assistant head. Lansbury Lawernce has been shortlisted for the TES Creative School of the Year award. I also talk to some of the pupils who are a part of the school’s Arts Council.
Kerri started off working in museums and art galleries, in their education department. She made the transition to become a primary school teacher because it utilised the skills she had developed in her previous role.
Lansbury Lawrence was built as part of the Festival of Britain. The school has an Edible Playground with 12 flower beds and a greenhouse. They won the Tower Hamlets in Bloom ‘Best Newcomer Award’! The Edible Playground was designed and built by the charity ‘Trees for Cities’ and they continue to work with them today. Their Early Years children have planting beds that they use all year round and the rest of the beds are looked after by a different year group each half-term. Each week the children learn not only how to plant seeds and bulbs but also how to look after them and they make sure that the plants have enough water and that all the weeds are being taken out.
Over the past few years they have been developing their pupil voice and leadership within creativity through their Arts Council, a cross-phase group of children from Key stage 1 and 2 who lead on arts projects across the school. They are ambassadors for creativity, and the success of the program has grown year on year. It is very competitive to become a member of the Arts Council, with one hundred children applying for one of sixteen places. This is a measure of the impact and status the arts have at Lansbury Lawrence, and something they are very proud of.
The Arts Council have responsibility for showing visitors around the school, for shaping creative provision, for being the public face and voice for the arts at Lansbury Lawrence.
Lansbury Lawrence Primary School is proud of the creative curriculum that it provides for children. Last year, the school embarked on an ambitious project with architects and the Whitechapel Gallery, to create a much-needed Room for Art. Under the guidance of the architects, children researched, planned and designed a bespoke art room that could be used by everyone in the wider community. The children’s work has been exhibited at the Whitechapel Gallery and the Canary Wharf Community Gallery and is now on display in the school entrance. The school is now fundraising to make the Room for Art a reality. So far they have raised £25,000 for the project which has enabled them to take the project through to the planning stage.
They always use their school as a resource for creative projects, as it is important their pupils learn about the history of their school and community. Art, design, music, history and geography are merged, with the whole school learning about different aspects of their community every Autumn Term. Lansbury Lawrence is located in an area of high social and economic deprivation, but they have a rich and wonderful heritage.
The Arts Council worked together to make a film about their school’s history. They explored the school archive, researched their area, and wrote a script together. They discovered the school’s Festival of Britain roots, how their school was built on a bombsite after World War II, and how buildings change over time. They learned to work as part of a team and to work on a professional creative outcome from start to finish. They were historians, animators and filmmakers. The resulting film is shown on the website and in the school reception area for all visitors to see. The film went on to be selected as the winner of the Primary Local History prize in the Young Historian Awards 2020, awarded by the Historical Association.
The Arts Council also developed a relationship with a local extra care home, Duncan Court. Once a week the Arts Council visited the residents at Duncan Court to take part in creative activities together. It was wonderful to see inter-generational relationships develop and art, stories, and songs were shared. The Arts Council represented their school and shared their creative enthusiasm with the residents. When the Covid-19 pandemic began, they knew their weekly visits would need to stop, to ensure everyone stayed safe. During the lockdown, the Arts Council continued to stay in touch with the residents of Duncan Court through letters, pictures and emails. The relationship has formed around a shared interest in expressing themselves creatively and they can’t wait to see their friends again soon.
Creative leadership is a core value at Lansbury Lawrence, they have a very high percentage of children learning English as an Additional Language and the arts allow their children to have a voice, to learn to express themselves and develop confidence as the next generation of creative leaders.
I hope you enjoyed reading this blog about Lansbury Lawrence Primary school. It is great to be able to shine a light on their good practice and learn from their experiences and ideas. If anything resonated with you please give me a call, email or. Please tweet me on @teacherhugradio or @ArkinstallNikki or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call on our free phone number – 0800 246 1555 and leave me a message so that I can contact you.
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