Students and staff at Mark Rutherford School in Putnoe are celebrating after becoming the second school in Bedford Borough to receive a prestigious Artsmark Gold Award.
The Arts Council England’s (ACE) Artsmark award celebrates settings that embrace the arts across the curriculum, bringing them to life for children and young people.
In Bedford, there are just seven schools that have been awarded Artsmark; two have achieved the gold award, three schools have the silver award, and two, including Putnoe Primary have the platinum award.
Mark Rutherford School was supported by Royal Opera House Bridge in planning and developing their initial objectives, through to their gold Artsmark achievement.
Tina Gray-Rampello from Royal Opera House Bridge said, “As an Artsmark school, Mark Rutherford School gained access to exceptional networks and resources from some of the most treasured cultural organisations in the country, which helped to strengthen and deliver their arts provision.
“Through Artsmark, Mark Rutherford School will continue to incorporate art and culture into every pupil’s life, learning, knowledge and understanding, helping them to build skills, resilience, confidence and character.”
As part of achieving their gold award, Mark Rutherford School has maximised creative partnership opportunities, unlocking financial investment for creative and cultural projects.
These projects have included two ‘Aspire Higher’ Creative Careers conferences in collaboration with Bedford Creative Arts (BCA) and the National Collaborative Outreach Programme’s consortia, Aspire Higher, which is based at the University of Bedfordshire.
The school has collaborated with the University of Bedfordshire, exploring how creativity and the arts can support employment prospects and self-esteem.
The school offers a range and variety of GCSE, BTEC and A Level courses in dance, music, drama, art, media and photography, and some courses have been changed to tailor the offer to areas of particular student interest.
The national average of students taking an Arts GCSE is 44% compared to Mark Rutherford’s above national average of 65%.
On receiving the award, Acting Headteacher Kelli Foster said: “We’re extremely proud of achieving our Artsmark Gold Award. We are committed to delivering a high quality arts and cultural education and we look forward to continuing to grow with Artsmark.”
Darren Henley, Chief Executive of Arts Council England, said: “I would like to congratulate Mark Rutherford School on their Artsmark Award.
“As an Artsmark school, Mark Rutherford School exemplifies how the Award can help schools to achieve a broad and balanced curriculum, ensuring that each of its students is given the opportunity to explore and build a love of the arts that will remain with them as they go through adult life.”