Through the Window
A collection of writing, art & music by young people at the Oxfordshire Hospital School. Click on any of the images to see the full masterpiece!
Arts education at OHS is an integral part of our curriculum and helps our pupils to develop a wide range of skills such as motor, language, social, decision-making, creativity, focus, perseverance, risk-taking, emotional intelligence and inventiveness – and also teaches about colour, layout, perspective, and balance; all techniques that are necessary in the wider curriculum.
During their time at OHS, pupils of all ages and abilities are encouraged to participate in a range of arts activities, experience arts events and be inspired by artists and their work. Our pupil centred approach supports them in leading their own projects and even researching possible career pathways. Where appropriate, pupils are encouraged to undertake a national qualification such as an Arts or AQA unit award.
OHS collaborates with a range of partners and organisations to share and develop its provision and are delighted to currently be working on a project with the Bodleian Library entitled ‘Journeys from the Bodleian’ which aims to explore themes from exhibitions at the Bodleian through creative and artistic approaches.
Creative work by pupils at the hospital school produced during the ‘Healing Spaces’ project with the Museum of Oxford explores the history of medicine in Oxford and is also currently on display in their newly refurbished exhibition space.
Our online exhibitions below showcase some of the amazing creative work produced by our pupils.
This feedback from one pupil captures the depth of impact that arts education can have on wider outcomes..
“Doing the arts award has been a wonderful experience and journey. It has allowed me to change my mind on my ability to do art and has shown me lots of different ways that you can achieve greatness. I thought that I was not good at school but now I believe I am and now I want to learn more”.
Black History Month at OHS
Pupils across OHS sites took part in various, meaningful activities during October to celebrate Black History Month.
Black History Month is a national celebration that first started in the UK in 1987. It is an opportunity for people to understand, share, and celebrate the impact of black heritage and culture.
Throughout October pupils studying Humanities, Art, English, Maths, Science and PSHE all explored black history in their lessons, as well as through special visits from a local museum to the Children’s Hospital and Highfield Unit. Museum staff led workshops for pupils, with pupils given the opportunity to handle a range of artefacts relating to Black History Month. This included materials from Africa, such as brightly coloured kente cloths and a thumb piano, a small musical instrument.
In Maths, one pupil with a special interest in basketball discussed player Le Bron James, analysing stats and graphs about his career. Pupils also enjoyed a screening of the inspiring film Hidden Figures, the true story of three African-American mathematicians who worked at NASA in the 1960s. In Science pupils watched a video about Maggie Aderin-Pocock, a space scientist who found reading and writing at school difficult, as she has dyslexia. Pupils discussed the importance of diversity after Maggie explained how she’s worked hard to overcome stereotypes in her career.
Other activities included learning about activist and scholar bell hooks, making Jamaican banana bread and considering the murder of Emmett Till in 1955 and the murder of George Floyd in 2020.
Learning about black history isn’t something that’s restricted to one month at OHS, as pupils take part in many other activities throughout the year, so they can gain confidence in sharing their own views and experiences.
National Poetry Day takes place each year on the first Thursday of October, and encourages everyone to create, experience and share poetry with family and friends.
OHS pupils joined in the celebrations by reading ‘Pleasures’ by the famous German poet and playwright, Bertolt Brecht. Andrea Bird, English teacher at OHS said: “When we found this poem, we fell in love with the way it celebrated the simple joys of life. The poem is so accessible and often studied by young people in German schools where teachers use it to inspire pupils to write their own poems about the simple pleasures they take in life.”
Brecht’s poem lists ‘old music’ and ‘being friendly’ as some of his simple pleasures and pupils at OHS got stuck in with writing their own list, which included ‘helping people in any way I can’ and ‘marmite sandwiches’.
“We were so excited to see so many young people across all three settings at OHS engage so positively with ‘Pleasures’ and we now have a fantastic collection of original poems capturing a range of everyday things that bring us happiness.”
Once Upon a Time… A history of children and young people’s nursing
Students at the Children’s hospital have been working with resident artist, Emma Williams, on an art project which was commissioned by the Royal College of Nursing. The young people produced some great pieces of art celebrating paediatric nursing and their vision of nurses of the future.
See the link below for the details of where you can see the exhibition in London if you are passing! Alternatively you can see these amazing pieces of art in the atrium at the Children’s Hospital.
Here is an idea from one year 3 pupil who took part in the project:
‘My ideal nurse in the future would
be kind of like the police of the future as they will have roller-skates! They
would be male, have green eyes and be kind, helpful and brave. They would have
a stethoscope, a watch and a clipboard. On the ward I would have bean
bags and plant wallpaper in the corner so I could read a book and relax (to
make you feel better). A therapy dog
would be good too. I would like a nice teddy and pictures of animals to make
you feel better. The nurses’ area would have a brown sofa with bean bags. There
would be a watch stand and unlimited ginger biscuits for the nurses! There would be lovely wallpaper and a therapy
dog to pet.’
◗ Active participation in a range of arts activities, providing a personal response about what they have learnt from taking part
◗ Experience of arts organisations, artists and their work
◗ Creativity and arts skills through making art work
◗ Identification of what they have enjoyed and/or achieved, and their communication of this to others
Bodleian Library Exhibition
On completion of the Creative Story Project the Young people at OHS were working on with artist Dionne Freeman, their work can now be seen on display in the Bodleian Library. Oxford.
Bodleian Library Art Work
Young people at OHS have been working with artist Dionne Freeman to explore exhibitions at the Bodleian Library in an expressive and creative way. As well as developing their understanding of philosophical ideas, they have also developed practical skills in art and confidence in expressing their own ideas. The young people are very proud that their work has been celebrated and shared on the Bodleian Library website.
Pupils maintain their creativity via remote learning. These photographs display a sample of their work on pop art, observational drawing, 3D mobiles and Frida Kahlo inspired portraits.
Taia, a member of our teaching team, who has been working remotely on an Arts Award with one pupil, said, ‘the art they have produced is wonderfully vibrant’.
Pupils are supported in accessing art through videos on our own OHS You Tube channel made by Dionne and Emma, our artists in residence. Dionne and Emma have made step by step videos on the Discover and Explore Arts Awards alongside some other lessons and activities on drawing and mark-making.
Exploring Different Techniques
Pupils have the opportunity to explore a range of media and techniques. Here, pupils worked with a limited palette onto canvas board, selecting images in viewfinders and abstracting meaning. Some of the photographs show the pupils’ use of wax resist technique to reflect senses in response to places of escape.
The Iris Robot Project
Pupils from the hospital school did an amazing job of decorating a robot to imagine/visualise time both past and future as part of Cheney school’s ‘Iris Robot Project’. The school are creating an exciting new piece of public art in the form of a model ‘Robot Trail’ around the school site. Each robot will have a theme designed by students to represent different ideas about the future. The striking, colourful and educational works of art will inspire the very diverse community of East Oxford and beyond. Catherine Costello, Leader of Learning at the Children’s Hospital said, ”The children at the JR loved working with Dionne on this project. Sending messages back to hospital school pupils in the past and forward to those in the future, was a wonderful opportunity for young people to imagine their place within a broader sweep of time. The robot, decorated with these messages, looks even more vibrant in real life than in the photograph and we can’t wait for it to be showcased at the ‘Iris Festival of the Future.’
This term’s work on 3D has resulted in some amazing Giacometti-inspired sculptures, ceramics and pop-up books inspired by stories, clay portraits and Grayson Perry-inspired pots. Caron Houchen, a teacher who supports art and Dionne’s work at the Children’s Hospital, said, “Our students produced some high quality, creative pieces of art in response to the artists’ work. As usual, Dionne’s expertise, encouragement and insight meant this was accessible and enjoyable for all our pupils.”
Exploring the work of other artists
For this project, we used the ‘artist’ project from the painting toolkit where we took inspiration from the techniques and theories of other artists such as Michael Craig Martin’s understanding of the impact of colour and bold form and Howard Hodgkin’s ability to encapsulate a cityscape through abstracted texture. We also researched Elizabeth Peyton’s approach to the human form using clay and to end the term we created festive landscapes.
Teresa, an HLTA who supports art at the Highfield Unit, said, ‘I was really impressed with the work the young people produced. They enjoyed the whole project and it was great to see the smiles on their faces’.
Using natural forms for inspiration
Inspired by natural forms, our pupils experimented with texture and composition, developing ideas using imagination and exploring the identities of surfaces and subject matter through mark making and a variety of drawing approaches. Our visiting artist, Dionne was really impressed with their work and said, ‘The young people showed great attitude in experimenting with new ways of working and really good awareness of material and observational skills.’