IT IS SO GREAT TO CREATE; This Week Education Reporter Ben Turner (Pictured) Visited an Art and Penguin-Loving St Dominic's Infants and Juniors in Huyton
Byline: Ben Turner
FROM anger management to podcasts - creativity and the arts under pins life at St Dominic's Catholic Infant and Junior schools in Huyton.
The schools, which federated five years ago, is set in one of the most deprived wards in the country.
But it is a starting point which has driven the school's continued success, not held it back.
And using arts, music and drama to stimulate pupils is credited as a major factor in its ever improving results which now easily dwarf the Knowsley average.
ss "Yes we put it down to the work we do to promote creativity and raise the confidence and self esteem of our pupils through the arts and music," headteacher Jayne Dunn said.
Taking up the baton, deputy headteacher Paul Prescott adds: "Our children may not all be very academic but they all achieve success through being creative and using the arts."
An obvious illustration of the school's ethos comes in the form of a penguin.
Or to be more accurate lots of penguins.
Its geographical location meant the school did not take delivery of one of the 100 mini-versions of the Go Penguins, parading around Liverpool to create festive-themed celebration A Winter's Trail.
But the school has made a "concerted effort" to ensure the project was used as a stimulus to bring lessons to life.
And penguin programmes are plentiful here, complementing a school focus on climate change and the environment.
They have included a giant penguin and translator engaging in a question and answer session for the children.
Professional artists, including sculptor Faith Bebbington, have come in to work with pupils so they could make their own versions of Liverpool's popular sculptures.
And the eye-catching creations have been used as a medium for the children to express their knowledge of green issues such as global warming.
"The designs show the effects of global warming and the melting of the ice caps. For example, some of the designs has a penguin wearing Bermuda shorts, sun hats and carrying surf boards.
"It has been a great way of prompting speaking and listening on the topic," Mrs Dunn said.
The school has been praised by Ofsted for its commitment to helping pupils emotionally as well as academically.
And its provision includes the employment of a full-time psychotherapist Amanda Koukoulas. As well as offering supportive workshops for parents, working from a tranquil area of the school known as The Quiet Place she works with pupils on their emotional development.
And the arts are again used as a stimulus with projects ranging from pupils taking part in drumming sessions to anger management through defining emotions on leaves for a "wishing tree" wall display.
"They learn to express themselves through art," Mrs Koukoulas, who also leads massages and other relaxation programmes, said.
From the age of five pupils make podcasts and have burned CDs of dance productions they perform in the community for parents. …