Arts grant gives special needs children 15,000 reasons to dance

Six West Sussex schools have been given £15,000 to run a programme promoting the arts to children with special needs.

Tuesday, 11th October 2016, 11:26 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 1:32 am

The money was provided by the Arts Council England after a successful bid submitted with the support of Sussex Arts Academy.

The six schools are: Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee School, Horsham; Manor Green College, Crawley; Woodlands Meed School, Burgess Hill; Oakgrove College, Worthing; St Anthony’s School, Chichester; and Fordwater School, Chichester.

They are all part of a new Teaching School Alliance – a national initiative which enables schools to work together to improve teacher training and development.

The arts programme will be led by Queen Elizabeth II School, which has an outstanding reputation for its performing arts.

The schools will benefit from collaboration with an internationally recognised inclusive dance troupe, Stopgap, which employs disabled and non-disabled dancers and has performed at Sadler’s Wells Theatre as well as other prestigious venues worldwide.

The University of Chichester will also research and evaluate the difference the project makes to young people’s learning and skills.

David Sword, Sussex Arts Academy’s operation manager, said: “As we aim to connect young people with professional artists working in the community, and to support disadvantaged youngsters to overcome barriers to their learning, we’re delighted to be supporting this project. We can’t wait to see the results.”

Between February and April, 2017, each school will involve a class of children and their teachers in a programme of dance workshops led by Stopgap that will develop the children’s knowledge, skills, and confidence.

Teachers will also be able to take on new skills which they can apply not only in the performing arts but also across the whole curriculum.

The progress that each school makes will be recognised through the award of Arts Mark accreditation validated by the Arts Council.

Individual children will also be able to gain Arts Council accredited Arts Awards.

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