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”.
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.’