Working in a small, one-form entry primary school means that finding space to keep and display artwork can be a challenge.
It always seems such a shame that, once work has been displayed for a short period, it is sent home with the children never to be seen again.
I have introduced sketch books across Key Stage 2 so that the planning stages of each piece of art are recorded but, more often than not, the final pieces are not included in the sketchbooks.
Now, I do realise that I could photograph every individual piece of work before it is sent home and stick it into the pupil’s sketchbooks and, for some projects, I do this but this approach has its drawbacks.
An obvious drawback is time – I don’t know about you, but printing off 30 photos for every class and sticking them is something that I rarely have the time to get around to. It also uses an awful lot of colour printing ink!
The other issue that I have with this approach is that, once the work is stuck in the books, they are put away and the work is rarely looked at or referred back to even by the pupils themselves let alone anyone else.
I feel that past artwork should be celebrated and be available for visitors to the school to view as well as parents and pupils.
So, is there a solution? I believe that there is.
Last term, I decided to start an art and design scrapbook. Each year group, from EYFS to Year 6, has one page of the scrapbook for each term of the school year. There are also pages for art clubs and arts committee projects.
The scrapbook is made and updated by my pupil-led arts committee so that there is no additional workload for the teachers.
Each term, the arts committee visits each class with a camera and photograph the work that they have been doing. They also try to pop around earlier in the term during art lessons to gather photographs of the process.
Comments from pupils and teachers are added on post-it notes or typed up and then members of the arts committee update the pages for that term.
The scrapbook is kept on the visitors table in the school reception so that all visitors and pupils can look through it whenever they wish and past artworks are not forgotten.
The next step is to use the same work to produce a digital scrapbook that will be available on the school website. I’m currently training up the more “techy” members of my arts committee so that they can create pages digitally, print them for the scrapbook and upload them to the website.
My plan is to keep this up every year so that we preserve this work but also maintain an overview of the curriculum and how it changes over the years.
Record keeping and curriculum tracking with no additional teacher workload – now that’s a plan I like!
Laura Shiell is an arts subject leader and Year 4 class teacher at Shrubland Street Primary School in Leamington Spa