New College Leicester, a highly inclusive 11 – 18 college based in the west of Leicester city in New Parks, has been awarded Artsmark Gold. Artsmark is the creative quality standard for schools and education settings, accredited by Arts Council England. Artsmark provides a framework for schools to embed creativity across the whole curriculum and address school improvement priorities. New College Leicester have been ably supported by The Mighty Creatives, our regional Arts Council bridge organisation throughout the two-year application process.
We submitted our ‘Statement of Commitment’ back in February 2018 stating our ambitions to become a centre of excellence for the arts. Later that year we launched of our ‘Arts and Culture Strategy’ which has driven rapid development to our arts provision. This belief is reflected in New College Leicester becoming one of the top choices for secondary schools in Leicester. During this time we have strengthened existing partnerships with Soft Touch Arts, The Spark Arts, Attenborough Arts Centre and established new partnerships with De Montfort University, Curve and Lestercast. These partnerships ensures our students experience high quality arts learning programmes and enjoy plenty of opportunities to engage with professional artists and designers in a range of contexts. We are very proud of our impressive student Arts Ambassadors who have informed our work throughout and have shared their expertise widely with arts many organisations. We have invested in additional specialist teaching staff and facilities and tailored our curriculum to ensure students experience both breadth and depth of creative learning opportunities throughout their school careers to become one of the best schools in Leicester. Our students are expertly supported by our fantastic team of teachers and support staff who genuinely value the role of the arts and cultural learning for all. The excellent reputation of New College Leicester is recognised as the first choice for parents, and is oversubscribed with a waiting list for each year group.
The Arts Council praised New College Leicester for ‘a very clear and well thought out five year strategic arts and cultural plan and for achieving many of its aims in the first two years as planned’. They also remarked that ‘one of the most impressive things to read is of the positive impact your many partnerships with arts and cultural organisations has had on outcomes for your students and your practice’.
Kate Brown, Director of Learning for the Arts, is thrilled the ongoing hard work by students, staff and partners has been recognised. “Arts and culture are at the heart of what we do at New College and we witness the very powerful positive impact these experiences and opportunities have on our young people and our wider community, we are really excited for the next stage of our journey".