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St Helen and St Katharine, Faringdon Road, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX14 1BE

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Iffley Academy partnership exhibition

St Helen and St Katharine is delighted to be collaborating with community special school The Iffley Academy on several artistic projects. As part of the Artsmark initiative – which fosters school improvement through engagement in the arts – the two schools have enjoyed sharing workshops and teacher development, and displaying an exhibition at St Helen’s of artwork by students from both schools.

Tom Procter-Legg, Head of Iffley Academy said: “This has been a fantastic opportunity for students to access resources and individuals that are new to them … Many of the benefits of this partnership with St Helen’s are about expanding the circle of trusted adults and introducing children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to wider social scenarios. This further develops expressive and receptive language, confidence and a sense of self.”

Part of the project saw a series of workshops delivered by printmaker Janet Lueck in which students explored texture, line, tone and layering. St Helen’s ceramics teacher Ben Drew also led a workshop at Iffley Academy on outdoor firing techniques. At the end of these explorations the students produced a hugely varied and striking set of individual responses which were enjoyed by parents and staff in an exhibition on 26 April.

Teachers have also been part of the creative collaboration. St Helen’s Head of Art Jane McDonald has run creative workshops at Iffley Academy – one teacher said: “Yesterday’s session was brilliant … I’ve taken away so many good ideas to try with my class.” Iffley Academy staff members have also delivered sessions at St Helen’s on Reflective Practice.

Jane McDonald said of Artsmark: “Working with artists and designers is an important part of students’ experience. Demonstrations, workshops, visits to exhibitions in art galleries and museums bring the world beyond the classroom into the art room.”

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