School name: Ysgol Cedewain
Headteacher: Pippa Sillitoe
Number of pupils: 120
Pupils at Ysgol Cedewain have severe learning difficulties, many have profound and multiple learning difficulties or autism.
“Living in our world can be extremely challenging for them,” said headteacher Pippa Sillitoe.
“As a school we are always looking for innovative holistic approaches to teaching that not only enable our pupils to learn more effectively but also help them to make sense of the world and ensure that they realise their full potential.
“We welcome the opportunity to motivate our pupils by giving them access to new ways of working as it can be difficult to engage learners with ALN with traditional teaching methods.”
Three years ago the school participated in a Get On With Science (GOWS) project where they employed a dance practitioner to deliver a workshop investigating light and sound through dance with most of the pupils.
“This was hugely successful and as we were already working with Powys Dance we invited them to investigate the possibilities of delivering aspects of the curriculum through creative movement and dance,” added Mrs Sillitoe.
“Together we made an application to the Arts Council Wales for a grant to fund a pilot project with several classes. The application was successful and we followed it up with a second grant which enabled eight of our classes to be part of the project this year.”
Over the last two years the school has spent considerable time , energy and resources piloting and developing this cross-curricular project through which they have been delivering literacy, numeracy, PSHE and Humanities through the approaches of dance and creative movement to pupils aged 3-19.
Two dance practitioners have been employed to work collaboratively with nine class teachers on the delivery of pre-identified aspects of the curriculum in weekly sessions.
“Our vision is to support our young learners to be the best they can be and undoubtedly the creative arts approaches are already having a profound effect on outcomes here,”
headteacher, Mrs Sillitoe.
A lesson plan\observation schedule has been developed which seeks to identify those aspects of the creative approach (developing curiosity, imagination, resilience, collaboration, discipline). It is hoped this will be adopted by teachers into their pedagogy.
The two practitioners and a member of the leadership team delivered a workshop outlining this approach in the ‘Creative Arts and a Creative Curriculum Conference’ in St David’s Hall, Cardiff in March 2015.
“Our vision is to support our young learners to be the best they can be and undoubtedly the creative arts approaches are already having a profound effect on outcomes here,” said Mrs Sillitoe.
“As far as possible we are led by our pupils and their responses to the stimuli that we present to them. Some of our pupils are extremely limited physically and cognitively and the creative arts gives us unprecedented opportunity to celebrate, value and build on their authentic responses.
“Beyond this our teaching staff have also gained enormously from this experience. “They have been able to work collaboratively with external practitioners and it has given them the chance to learn to recognise, value and encourage responses from even our most disabled learners. They have been able to develop skills to be able to deliver the curriculum in a more creative way and have developed skills to enable them to recognise opportunities for using the creative approaches. They have developed skills of self-evaluation and reflection.” One of the targets of this project was to deliver identified aspects of the LNF.
Each class teacher has shared class and individual LNF targets with their dance practitioners and is key to the work they have been doing.
“We were an LNF NSP partner school and delivering the LNF in innovative ways which engages our learners has been one of the key driving forces of this project,” added Mrs Sillitoe.
The culmination of the project was a performance at Theatr Hafren by all the classes involved to a full house.
You can view the performance on Youtube by searching H2 Kite cedewain
“We have recently been selected for Lead Creative School status and very much welcome the opportunity to continue on our creative journey with the rest of the learning community in Wales. Staff are hopeful that we can continue to develop the creative teaching approaches that are having such a positive effect on outcomes for our pupils.”