With the start of a new school year, Bolton School Boys’ Division has launched a project with the aim of achieving the highest level of Artsmark Award. Over the course of the next two years, the school aims to increase its arts provision from Gold to Platinum standard.
Artsmark celebrates schools which champion the arts both in the curriculum and beyond, across the whole of the school community. The awards are also designed to give schools access to high quality, practical resources and networks.
The school already provides a diverse range of arts and cultural experiences for all pupils: a good range of arts qualifications are offered, students are able to create and evaluate works in a variety of media, and the boys’ creative output is showcased throughout the year in a busy calendar of events.
The school’s musicians take to the fore at Autumn, Spring and Summer Concerts, year group concerts, the annual Christmas Festival, and competitively through Young Musician of the Year and Battle of the Bands. The longstanding Community Music Programme is very active in the local community: the school shares facilities, instruments and expertise with local schools and young musicians. Pupils perform showcase pieces at local primary schools and other local events, such as the NUT Conference in Liverpool, the Bolton and Bury Business Awards Dinner.
Pupils enjoy a range of theatrical opportunities both in the classroom and as extra-curricular activities. In addition to the prospect of studying Drama at GCSE and Theatre Studies at A Level, each year pupils in Years 10 to 12 stage the Joint Production in conjunction with the Girls’ Division. Year seven and eight pupils undertake Arts Awards at Explore and Bronze Level, and in recent years boys in years eight and nine have also put on an annual Lower School Production alongside Girls’ Division pupils. Boys across the Lower School perform in a Drama Festival in May, a round-up of class and Drama Club activity across the year.
The Art Department also collaborates with drama productions to give pupils the chance to design programmes, posters and marketing campaigns. Additionally, students can produce artistic work for exhibitions to complement shows. Boys have been involved in site-based study, with GCSE students taking part in work at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and are able to learn from working artists, for example in the recent print workshop with Neoartists Studios in Bolton. The Art Department has also facilitated several Pop Up exhibitions, including a secret postcard sale in which boys’ artwork was displayed and sold alongside pieces by photographers Aziz + Cucher from New York, UK illustrator Chris Arran, and painter Charlotte Caron from Paris.
During the next two years, the School’s arts and cultural provision will continue and develop. There are plans to strengthen the School’s partnership with the Octagon Theatre, and embed and extend the Arts Award provision to include arts leadership opportunities.