Headshot of Jemima

Blog 4 – Celebrate good times ( better late than never)

Who doesn’t love a good party? A co-ordinated celebration of achievement, success or an excuse to get together with your nearest and dearest and have some fun. Although this blog comes to you some time after the Liberty Chain project reached its last stages (in July 2018), it was essential for all participants to get together, to share their learning and to celebrate their achievements.

The original plan for this project was to deliver a 4-day programme, with each school developing and delivering their festival offering on consecutive days, but during the creation and delivery stages it became apparent that this wasn’t logistically possible and that the academies and pupils all wanted to share their experiences and their artworks in different ways. However, the “whole project” evaluation and sharing day was kept and on the 9th July 2018 all schools came together, at the Midlands Arts Centre, to talk about their projects and reflect on their learning journeys. As well as a great way to get everyone together, this also allowed the young people to present their work (as part of their Arts Award) and to understand the important role they played in the larger project and as members of the OAT family.

Individually, the schools chose to share their work through: invited performance days; in school exhibitions; assemblies and peer group contribution. We are Frilly, the external evaluators for the projects, were able to capture some of the feedback from the sharing events and the overall sense of achievement and celebration:

“Sharing has been – sharing a skill with younger girls, sharing to the KS3 community in a formal assembly forum, and also sharing with a wider public audience as their work is exhibited at the Canal trust, Dudley : I think this is excellent and the girls are proud.”

‘It’s very friendly, like a community’
Tenbury Student

In addition to the planned sharing, we were fortunate to develop a partnership with Dudley Canal and Tunnel Trust who were keen to explore creative uses of their entrance space. They generously agreed to exhibit examples of the project artworks and host a small exhibition, which took place from the 18th August 2018 for 6 weeks. We were thrilled that students work could be seen and appreciated by the wider public, reinforcing our aim of celebrating and sharing participants’ achievements.

And the party hasn’t stopped there, as an integral part of the project and to ensure a legacy beyond the lifespan of Liberty Chain we developed a range of primary and secondary class-based learning tools, to aid the delivery of British Values lessons. The resources are free and open to anyone who may want to use them. They can be found here. 

And finally, the impact of programme still resonates amongst our academies; long after the party hats and poppers have been cleared away. Shelfield and Forge continue their excellent commitment to Arts Awards and are part of an OAT wide cohort, submitting over 100 folders for moderation in July 2019. Packmoor are invested in the social and emotional development of their students and run a fantastic enrichment programme (against the odds), with strong community links. Finally Tenbury, under the management Kate Kearns (Art Teacher) has developed and successfully fundraised for a range of creative and cultural learning programmes for their school and community. Now, isn’t that cause for celebration?!


This is a series of blogs on Liberty Chain, by Ormiston Academies Trust. The project has received funding from Ormiston Trust, Arts Council and Arts Connect. 

For more information about the project or OAT Enrichment please contact OAT Engagement Manager: Jemima Waltho