from the press release in Cumberland & Westmorland Herald:

118 pupils from Shap C of E Primary School and Clifton Primary School have worked with Cumbrian poet, Katie Hale, to achieve Arts Award certificates at Discover level.

Arts Award forms a unique series of qualifications that support young people to develop as artists and arts leaders. The programme develops their creativity, leadership and communication skills, from Discover level to Gold level, up to the age of 25. The Discover Award requires young people to learn about different types of art and how artists work, then to produce and share creative pieces of their own.

Pupils from both primary schools worked with Cumbrian poet Katie Hale to achieve their Arts Awards. Shap School juniors wrote poems on the theme of identity, and learned about close observation techniques to create visual portraits of themselves. Children from Clifton School focussed instead on their surroundings, with the different classes writing poems inspired by their school garden, Lowther Castle, and the fraught history behind Clifton Pele Tower.

Arts Award Discover workshops

Poet Katie Hale said: ‘Working with the children at Shap and Clifton Primary Schools was such a rewarding experience. Poetry is too often seen as something ‘difficult’ or ‘elitist’, so it’s incredibly important that we have workshops like this, which allow the children to overcome mental barriers and write freely. It was such a treat to watch them becoming more and more confident in the poems they created.’

‘Since the project, one of our pupils has started writing poems at home. She’s started taking poetry books out of the school library and coming in desperate to share a new poem she’s read. It’s great!’ – Miss Simpson, Clifton School.

The project was able to happen thanks to the support of three funding bodies: the Arts Award Access Fund, which exists to help remove barriers to the award (such as in rural areas); Shap Community Enterprise, which raises funds for community groups and activities in the Shap area; and the Sam Thorpe Trust, which enables young people in the Penrith area to take part in educational or extracurricular activities.