Getting into shape

1st December 2006 at 00:00
Who went?

Wendy Dedman, head of Benhall Infants School in Cheltenham What was it?

A workshop called Ethos Through Art, which helps define your school's characteristics. Instead of words for a policy document, staff create 3D pieces of art that symbolise school values. It was organised by e-clectica and held in school.

Why do it?

I wanted to get teachers and governors together to establish a clear view of what we are trying to achieve. This sounded fun.

Message, motto or mantra

Art speaks louder than words.

Handouts or hands on?

We started off brainstorming ideas but soon you're up to your elbows in glue, canes and tissue paper.

Something I liked

Policy statements can get stuck in a filing cabinet and forgotten, but these sculptures are in our entrance hall for everyone to see. We were able to explain to pupils what they signify.

Something I learned

We identified five areas: knowledge, future learning, self-esteem, achievement and relationships. We represent them with a tree, a bicycle with stabilisers, a bird, a shooting star and a flower. The flower is a bit surreal - it's meant to symbolise friendship and hasarms coming out of it.

Has it made a difference?

Yes. Members of staff have a clear direction and pupils enjoy telling visitors what the sculptures mean.

The verdict?

Defining your aims can be a fairly dull process - this makes it enjoyable and creative. Thoroughly recommended Interview by Steven Hastings

The details

Workshops cost pound;450, anywhere in the UK. Details at

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