‘Excellence through partnership in learning’ – our school mission statement – embodies our aspirations for the arts at Oakfield. From Foundation to Year 4, every child is involved in all aspects of the arts as both a participant and a critical observer. The arts are central to Oakfield life, offering opportunities for children and adults to work together collaboratively, sharing their expertise and performances with the wider community in Windsor and beyond.
We believe that all children are entitled to a broad and balanced arts curriculum; we consciously plan a wide range of creative experiences for them each year. As well as art and design, music, dance and drama, our arts curriculum incorporates creative writing, poetry, film and digital media. The arts are threaded through the curriculum, adding interest and bringing every subject alive for the children. For example, they may experience History through participating in a Greek Workshop Day with ‘History On the Page’, or be introduced to some fundamentals of Science by watching the ‘Quantum Theatre for Science’ performing their play ‘Octopushy’ about pushes and pulls. The arts are also taught as discrete subjects in which a variety of media and a range of styles and cultures are introduced and followed up by high quality practical activities, sometimes led by visiting practitioners. All Key Stage 2 children learn an orchestral instrument in curriculum time.
We provide numerous extra-curricular arts activities; some run all year and others for short blocks enabling children of all ages to benefit from different experiences. Instruments to learn range from recorder to violin to handbells, dancing from the popular modern dance ‘Julsar Dance Club’ to Maypole, and there are also opportunities offered each year to sing in major London venues – from the Royal Albert Hall (March 2014) to the O2 Arena (January 2013, January 2015) – as well as biennially in the Reading Hexagon Theatre. All our children regularly perform on stage, through which they both share arts excellence and gain in personal confidence.
We believe that it is essential for children to regularly observe and work alongside artists, to be inspired and to develop their personal skills. Oakfield has long standing and mutually productive partnerships with many arts organisations including Berkshire Maestros and the BFI, and with various artists including most recently, Mike Burgess (wood sculptor). Oakfield also leads local schools in developing both curriculum and performance singing through our regular ‘Year 4 Singalongs’ for all Windsor First Schools.
Oakfield is fully inclusive and the arts play an important role in celebrating our cultural diversity as well as offering opportunities for nurturing particular talents in art, music, dance, drama and creative writing. Children with Special Needs and those receiving Pupil Premium are particularly encouraged to join after school arts clubs. This may include a one-to-one supporter assisting the child or transport being provided to enable children to participate in weekend and evening arts activities.
Our most recent development is the introduction of our ‘Arts Leaders’ programme, enabling talented older students to work alongside and support other children. We are also launching the ‘Arts Award’ programme in October 2014 by which children will be able to have their development in the arts recognised through gaining a national qualification.