Fox Hollies has a high national reputation within disability arts provision, with a strong track record of collaboration between professional artists and companies. We have innovative practice with Birmingham Royal Ballet, including the creation of Freefall Dance Company and more recently Junior freefall. We have developed an arts faculty (an innovative step for a small special school) able to meet and plan regularly, crafting subject specific cross arts and whole school interventions, which has guaranteed quality strategic and reflective development. This includes subject specific and performing arts modules of work.
We have extended student achievement with external qualifications via Asdan, engaging with new Creative Activities and artsaward Bronze. We also host and support National Bronze and Silver artsaward training, and created ‘P’ Levels for Dance and Drama.
The strengths of our out of hours provision and enrichment activities has created opportunities for parents and carers to see young people performing to high standards in a wide range of settings, which has created a strong ‘family’ network, increased the post school take up of arts courses and fostered a pro-active support for life long access to arts practice and events. Some of our ex-pupils still attend our Theatre Group ‘The Company’ well into their thirties. Recently ‘The Company’ created and performed a ‘Rock Opera’ based around homelessness, this was called ‘Big Fox Little Fox... Cardboard Box’ This was performed at the Midlands Arts Centre ‘mac’ and extracts were then taken to a National Mencap conference.
The use of arts mentors has enabled people with challenging behaviours to access additional arts activities during holidays. Sensory developments, including a themed sensory room have enabled students with the most complex needs to access quality arts provision. We have worked collaboratively with Makaton to produce a wide range of new signs and symbols for performing and creative arts, this will enable students to plan and reflect upon their work in a written as well as verbal format, and is available nationally.
Some of the other activities we have run are:
Co-planning and running a National Arts Symposium exploring best practice in SEN arts and the value of long term partnerships with arts organisations.
Training 10 new artaward advisors with delegates coming from all over the country.
The new head of the music service visited us and subsequently asked us to contribute to a city wide awareness day re SEN music.
A successful workshop for 22 new trainee teachers from Central England Teacher Training was jointly run by ourselves and Birmingham Royal Ballet, using Freefall as deliverers.
Birmingham University PE Teachers were once again given Dance Workshops by our very own Freefall Dance Company.
The Arts permeate our curriculum not just as discrete subjects, but as tools to teach other subjects. In the past we have had William Shakespeare live with us in school. He was trying to write a Tradegy ‘Romeo and Juliet’ but kept on coming up with happy endings..... our pupils helping him to find different sad endings! An ARP warden evacuated our school when a doodlebug landed on the playground... we evacuated to a local Community centre and had a 1940’s Tea Dance. We know that our pupils, families and staff see the value that the Arts have in developing the whole pupil.