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Holy Trinity pupils' recipe for success helps them win the 'What is art?' competition

— June 2015

Associated media

 Year 2 pupils Ellisha age 7, Jayden age 7 showing they know the secret recipe

Year 2 primary school pupils have the right ingredients to win 'What is art?' national competition

Back in February, Cassone reported on a national competition to reveal what art means to UK primary school children

Artis, the arts education specialists, have now announced that Year 2 at Holy Trinity Church of England Primary School, Dartmouth Road, Forest Hill, South East London are the winners. They were judged to have given the best answer to the simple, but challenging question, 'What is art?'

All entries were asked to answer the question in no more than 10 words!

Holy Trinity's winning entry 'Art is the secret recipe for feeling inspired about life’ was chosen by the judges out of 1,333 entries from pupils aged  4–11 years old.

The panel of judges included distinguished scholars and artists from the worlds of arts, maths, science and education, including mathematician Marcus du Sautoy, international artist Do Ho Suh, and percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie.

The judges had their work cut out selecting the winner from a remarkable range of entries and eventually a shortlist of 10.

The judges were ‘impressed and moved by the quality of the entries’ and praised the ‘richness of their imaginations and  ‘depth of thinking’. The judges noted how the responses were ‘sophisticated’ and ‘revealed how multidimensional art is.’

Do Ho Suh, in particular, saw a pattern in the children's responses of the arts inhabiting ‘transitionary spaces; doors, gateways, windows that act as an escape to take you somewhere else.’

Frequent words that appeared in the entries were imagination, creative, beautiful, emotions, feelings, express, inspiring, unique, fun.

The pupils at Holy Trinity win £1,000 to spend on the arts in their school.

Judith Standing, Headteacher at Holy Trinity, said:

 Year 2 are completely lost for words. They were absolutely enthralled and engaged with the competition from the start. It's been a wonderful opportunity and stimulus for them – to think, share and discuss their ideas as to the answer to a question many adults would struggle with. We feel incredibly privileged to have won and are very grateful for the prize, which will enable our pupils to have additional resources to help them with their learning.

The other nine shortlisted entries from schools around the country were:

Art is a kite with your imagination attached to its tail.
Art is seeing in colour, not just black and white
Art is never imagined inventions made possible by our minds.
Art is a colossal house with windows of inspiration.
Art is what's on the inside expressed on the outside.
Art is everything. You just have to find it.
Art is an open door for imagination to run wild!
Art is a gateway to creativity, knowledge, affection and emotion.
Art is a storyteller, expressing emotions deep in your heart.

Artis has been transforming primary education through the arts for the past 10 years. Artis Specialists integrate the performing arts into classroom topics to strengthen learning and boost essential interpersonal and creative skills. Bespoke programmes physically engage 50,000 children every week, raising the quality of teaching and learning within schools.

Rebecca Boyle Suh, Executive Chairman of Artis, is delighted that the competition has been so well received:

 We wanted to do something particularly special for our 10th birthday that had never been done before. We chose a competition that would inspire and challenge children. A competition that would give children a platform for their views, and spark exploration and debate in class creating questions and activities for teachers and children to work through together.

The quality of the responses has been amazing. It has really given us a unique insight into what the arts actually mean to children.

It's shown to us that children – contrary to some opinions – do have a deep understanding and appreciation of what art is.

The competition will lead to a 10th-anniversary Artis publication that will include the top 10 competition entries, 10 responses and specially commissioned articles from the judging panel, and 10 arts-inspired teaching resources linked to the curriculum. The resources will also be released one by one on the Artis website, TES website and Guardian Teachers Network to support teachers in facilitating further exploration of the philosophical question the competition posed.

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