When asked to write about the Art Department’s provision for more able and talented pupils, my first thought was to instantly quote the excellent results achieved by exam groups in the summer, with 100% of pupils gaining A* - C grades in A level and GCSE. But I think that in a time when pupils performance is measured constantly, we need to look at the immeasurable benefits which Art’s education provides for all pupils. Whilst art education and academic attainment do have a positive and proven relationship, judging the importance of Art purely on top exam results ignores the immense and vital benefits which it provides for all pupils. Art can build confidence and allows for a freedom of expression. It can raise self-esteem and teaches perseverance and resilience.
Measuring a pupil as more able than their peers is massively fraught. Whilst one pupil may find immense pleasure and reward from producing Art which may not stand out, another pupil may effortlessly make Art which shows technique but has no enthusiasm for the subject. Schools nationally are under immense pressure to channel educational resources into improving academic results, often to the detriment of the Arts. Here at St David’s we are generously resourced and fully able to exploit the profoundly positive ways in which Arts education impacts children’s lives. From cultivating cognitive thinking to introducing them to what may become a lifelong passion we are totally inclusive and give every child the opportunity to reach their full potential. In the words of our founding Head master, John Mayor, “we shall encourage a love of the beautiful and of creative skills.”