Castleford Academy Trust
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Kathryn Chippendale strongly believes in the power of connection. As Assistant Headteacher at Castleford Academy, it’s her job to see the bigger picture and be the watchful guardian of everything that is happening at school, looking for ways to improve the experience for her students and fellow teachers. The ‘Partnerships and Community Links’ page of the Castleford website lists dozens of organisations, bodies, schools, colleges and people with whom it has a relationship. So, as you might expect, four years of Burberry Inspire have given her a myriad of ideas and experiences to draw on.
“As an Assistant Head, it’s really made us look at our whole curriculum offer and how we can ensure pupils have rich opportunities to raise their cultural capital for all. For September, we want to continue the legacy of Burberry to accommodate creativity,” she explains. “We’re currently going through the process of the Artsmark award and from September we hope to build on the success of the project through dedicated lessons for pupils in Year 9. This enriched curriculum offer will help to build pupil’s cultural capital through the National Curriculum whilst continuing the partnership links built through Burberry Inspire.” Part of this will see existing partners from Burberry Inspire continuing their relationship with Castleford Academy. The programme has made such an impact on the school, students and teachers that Kathryn is determined to not only maintain these existing ties, but also form new ones with organisations such as Off the Mark and British Youth Theatre. “We are certain that doing this will really engage and enthuse our pupils in relation to creativity. We have always had a strong enrichment offer but Burberry has certainly been our inspiration and we hope to continue our links with those partners.”
This all sounds very practical, but Kathryn’s passion for bringing these experiences to her school comes from the kinds of life-changing moments that they create for the young people involved. For example, while working with Northern Ballet during lockdown, pupils submitted ideas to a unique competition that would bring their choreography to life. As a result, a student from Castleford had their choreography performed on film by a dancer from American Ballet Theatre. “When we came back after lockdown, we were able to show and share that film with all the pupils across school,” recalls Kathryn. “It was just such a moment to be in that assembly. For that pupil to be able to see her work on screen, it was fantastic.”
“The whole journey has been incredible for us as an academy, so much so that we’re looking at how we can extend the Burberry Project in-house and within our trust. Each year the project has really grown and grown, and – despite the challenges of lockdown – we’ve still managed to be a success with our partners.”
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