• Calder Walk, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire CV31 1SA

Royal Shakespeare Company Lead Associate School

RSC Leader: Rohanna Keys

We are proud to have been partnered with the Royal Shakepeare Company as a Lead Associate Schools since September 2017, continuing to support other teaching colleagues in utilising the RSC rehearsal room pedagogies to teach Shakespeare as part of the curriculum. As part of a local and national network of schools, we are committed to working with theatre professionals to make Shakespeare's work vivd, accessible and enjoyable for children and young people.

Children experience high quality performances of Shakespeare's work in the theatre and at school. Staff benefit from regular opportunities to participate in professional development, working with theatre education practitioners from the RSC. In their role of 'Shakespeare Ambassadors', our pupils engage in the RSC's national leadership programme for young people and are inspired by talent development opportunities which stimulate their interest in possible careers in theatre.

Every year, we offer young people from our Associate Schools an opportunity to perform Shaekespeare's work and take part in a Playmaking Festival. Our pupils perform in school, community venues and at the RSC to audiences of fiends, families and local communities.

Please click on the link below to see our programme for our Associate Schools:

RSC Associate Schools Programme 2023-2024

Artsmark Award

Art Leader: Jordan Ellershaw

At Sydenham Primary School, we work in partnership with Arts Council England and Artsmark to develop and celebrate our commitment to arts and cultural education for all our children. For many years, we have used the Artsmark framework to help us to embed arts, culture and creativity into our curriculum; to support the development of our broad and ambitious curriculum; to strengthen pupil voice; and to support our pupils' personal progression in the arts.


As part of our school improvement cycle, the Artsmark Framework supports us to:

 - Audit current provision and strategic approach to arts, culture and creativity

 - Set aims and objectives for our Artsmark journey in our Statement of Commitment

 - Monitor progress towards achieving our objectives throughout our journey

 - Identify appropriate evidence of impact to collect along the way

 - Evaluate our journey and the impact it has had on our whole setting when writing our Statement of Impact

The following Quality Principles are embedded in the planning, delivery and evaluation of our arts and culture curriculum, and support us in delivering high-quality experiences for our children:

  1. Striving for excellence and innovation
  2. Being authentic
  3. Being exciting, inspiring and engaging 
  4. Ensuring a positive and inclusive experience
  5. Actively involving children and young people
  6. Enabling personal progression
  7. Developing belonging and ownership

We hold the Artsmark Platinum Award in recognition of our ongoing commitment to providing children with a rich arts and culture curriculum. 


The National Gallery Take One Picture




We're absolutely thrilled that the Year 3 children's artwork, music and creative writing has been selected to be exhibited at The National Gallery in London! The stimulus for the 2022-2023 Take One Picture project was Claude Joseph Vernet's painting, 'Shipwreck in Stormy Seas'. Inspired by the paiting, the children wrote letters to the characters in the painting and posted them in glass bottles. They were also inspired to make sculptures in our Forest School area for their project, using tea-stained paper to act as sails in the storm. The children went on to create a soundscape for the painting, and explored the emotions they felt as the storm reached a crescendo. We can't wait to visit the Take One Picture exhibition at the National Gallery in the Summer Term!


'Take One Picture' is the National Gallery's countrywide scheme for primary schools. Each year the Gallery focuses on one painting from the collection to inspire cross-curricular work in primary classrooms. During a one-day Continuing Professional Development course at the Gallery teachers are given a print of a painting. The challenge is then for schools to use the image imaginatively in the classroom, both as a stimulus for artwork, and for work in more unexpected curriculum areas. National Gallery Education then displays a selection of the work in the annual 'Take One Picture' exhibition at the National Gallery, and on their website.


Involvement in 'Take One Picture' is a process. In many ways this process is as valuable as the finished work that the students produce. 'Take One Picture' follows a series of stages, including continuing professional development, planning, creating, sharing and evaluating. The first step in the 'Take One Picture' journey is a one-day teachers' course at the National Gallery. During the training, the staff explore the variety of ways in which we can use paintings across the curriculum, and are given an interactive tour of the Gallery. At the end of the course we bring a print of the featured painting, ideas, and inspiration, back to our school.


Thinking about what we would like to do with the 'Take One Picture' painting is the first step in the creative process. Thinking is how we develop ideas. We think creatively and talk to other people in our federation’s schools about how we can use the painting to support children's learning across the curriculum. Brainstorming around existing Schemes of work or curriculum plans helps us to develop ideas.


Once we have thought through our ideas about what to do with the picture, the next step is to plan carefully how best to achieve them. When planning our ideas, we consider ways in which our school will achieve the following Take One Picture objectives:

 - Promote the visual arts within education

 - Raise pupils’ self-esteem and standards

 - Promote learning outside the classroom as a means of enhancing learning within the classroom

 - Provide a stimulus for building the wider school community

 - Enable pupils to build meaningful connections and inspire a lifelong love of learning


After the thinking and planning comes the doing - when children create their own work. The process of creating takes place during discrete art lessons as well as across other subjects. Sometimes, we have a dedicated  week or fortnight when the whole school works of the project, in partnership with our arts professionals. ‘Take One Picture' activities at our school have ranged widely, and have included learning across a wide range of subjects (not just the arts!). The process of making work collaboratively or individually can be very engaging for children. Staff, pupils, parents and staff always comment on how motivating and stimulating they find the project.


After the process of creating, the next stage is to share the work with a wider audience. Sharing gives children and staff a chance to reflect on and to evaluate their work. We love to share our work on our weekly newsletters and right here, on our school website!  We also submit our work every year to the National Gallery and have been fortunate enough to share our work with a wider audience through the 'Take One Picture' exhibition in the National Gallery. Our Executive Head Teacher, Juliette Westwood, has also previously been invited to share our school’s ‘Take One Picture’ project learning at one of the Continuing Professional Development Days at the National Gallery for teaching staff nationwide.


Involvement in 'Take One Picture' has had a wide impact. For teachers, it provides training and professional development opportunities, encouraging new ways of working. 'Take One Picture' encourages children of all abilities because of the flexible and open framework. Being involved in class, whole school and national projects improves confidence in their own work and enhances a sense of ownership for their national collection of paintings.



Arts Ambassadors and SPLAT! Festival


Arts Ambassador and SPLAT! Leader: Carol Glenny


Children are involved in the planning and delivery of authentic arts and culture learning opportunities, exerting personal choice and making decisions about their arts learning  through their role as Arts Ambassadors. They steer choices about visiting arts practitioners; champion the visual and performing arts at Sydenham; and share good practice across a range of settings.   


The SPLAT! Children’s Arts’ Festival is an exciting collaboration between Sydenham Primary School, Warwick Arts’ Centre and two other local primary schools aimed at providing pupils with the opportunity to experience, create and share high quality theatre, dance and visual arts. The Splat! Festival is a bi-annual event, held in Jephson Gardens in Leamington, and organised by our Arts Ambasadors, who work collaboratively with staff from The Creative Learning Team at Warwick Arts Centre. The festival features the work of professional artists alongside that of the children.  Based on the principles of  'See, Make, Share', pupils visit national venues to experience theatre, dance and visual arts, leading up to the festival.  Using these high quality experiences as a stimulus, children then work with professional artists back in school to create their own works of art which are show-cased at the festival.

All aspects of the SPLAT! festival, including programming, marketing and fundraising, are co-ordinated by The Arts’ Ambassadors, who put skills such as communication, negotiation and budgeting into practice.  By performing at the festival, children also experience raised levels of confidence and self-esteem as well as developing soft skills such as self-discipline and team working.

Kate Sayer, Head of Creative learning at Warwick Arts’ Centre described the festival: “The SPLAT! Festival is a huge success thanks mainly to the dedication, enthusiasm and creativity of the young people who come together to make it happen.  They work so very hard to create a festival that children will love.” 

Mair Evans, Arts Development Officer at Warwick District Council added: “The SPLAT! Festival is packed with arts, culture, entertainment and people.  The children learn so much from the professionals they work with.

For more information visit:   http://www.splatartsfestival.co.uk/

Art Progression in Knowledge and Skills