Over the last year, the pandemic has cast a long shadow over school life. So, where there have been bright spots, these are certainly worth celebrating. The wonderful work of Artis Foundation is one such case. As the summer term draws to a close, the Harris Foundation for Lifelong Learning has announced that it will be supporting Artis Foundation’s valuable work with two schools for a second year.

Creative solutions to pandemic challenges

This year in particular, the need for creative provision that supports wellbeing, including emotional and physical health, has been more important than ever.

Carys Owen (Cuckoo), Artis Foundation

In September 2020, pupils were welcomed back through the school gates for the start of the autumn term. School life was not the same as before, and further disruption was on the horizon. However, Artis worked hard to continue offering access to its Specialists – in person when it was possible to do so and via the Artis Anywhere online platform at other times. 

Artis’ programmes are bespoke to every school. This means the team has been able to adapt to individual priorities and the challenges presented by the pandemic. For schools such as Carterhatch Junior School, Enfield and Brooklands Farm Primary School, Milton Keynes, Artis has been a much-valued resource. Over this last academic year, the Harris Foundation for Lifelong Learning provided match-funding to support the work of Artis in both of these schools.

Far-reaching benefits

Drama, hot-seating and speaking and listening activities have developed the children’s understanding of the story but also developed their empathy towards the characters in the book.

Year 6 teacher, Carterhatch Junior School

Each of the schools supported by the Harris Foundation for Lifelong Learning has been reaping the rewards of Artis’ creative learning approach. These rewards range from providing cross-curricular links to help children to embed their knowledge of certain topics, through to building confidence and self-esteem in class.

Staff have also been benefiting from the plethora of resources available. Teachers have been able to attend Artis sessions themselves, of course, and seek advice from their school’s Artist Specialist. In addition, they have had access to a Virtual Learning Environment. Here, they can find plenty of ideas for activities that they can adapt for their own classes.

Skills for the future

We noticed that our SEND children particularly flourished in confidence and raised self-esteem as they experienced fun activities that they could easily access and be successful in.

Brooklands Farm Primary

As primary schools strive to recover lost learning and rebuild pupils’ confidence, creative learning approaches have an important role to play. 

Jonathan Harris comments, “I’m delighted that the Harris Foundation for Lifelong Learning is supporting the valuable work of Artis for another year. The skills and experience that the students and staff have gained will serve them well now and in the future.”