Antony Gormley - artist

'Making things, drawing, painting, filmmaking - all of these are a form of thinking and feeling that do not require the skills of literacy and numeracy and yet are essential to becoming fully human. I believe the importance of visual ability, especially at a time where we live in such a visually mediated world, is an essential part of the growth of any young mind and body. Had it not been for the art room at my school I would not be an artist today. The art room was the one place at the centre of the college where things that weren’t already known and did not come out of books could be made, viewed and shared. I regard visual literacy as something of greater importance than any other human capability and we ignore it at our peril. Drawing is something as important as speaking, it is the way that the thinking mind expresses itself visually. Drawing is a natural extension of the mind and body; an essential human capability that should be encouraged as we should encourage the making of a chair, a film, a carving or the construction of a radio.'

Stephen Belinfante, Arts Adviser, Worcestershire County Council

 'Artsmark schools endorse the belief that achievement and participation in the arts are essential components in nurturing happy and confident young learners.'

Hofesh Shechter, one of the UK's most talked about young choreographers

'It was through dance lessons at school that a world of opportunity and freedom opened up for me. To be able to express myself now through my work is entirely down to this first opportunity. I wholly support a programme that offers young people the chance to experience the same high quality arts education. Experiencing and participating in the arts can genuinely change the direction of someone's life and it is in our schools that these first encounters should take place.'

Ed Vaizey MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Culture, Media & Sport)

'This Government is firmly committed to cultural education, which is why we recently commissioned Darren Henley to conduct a full review of cultural provision in schools. I’m delighted to see the return of Artsmark, which will help to give thousands of children access to high quality arts provision in schools. I’m sure that the programme will help not only to inspire our artists of the future, but their audiences too.'

Liz Macfarlane, Arts Education Consultant

‘Many of the best schools use the arts to help bring the whole curriculum alive and engage young people with their education in a creative and meaningful way. Artsmark not only recognises schools with excellent arts provision, but requires schools to use the arts as a tool to develop learning across the curriculum. The Artsmark programme recognises those schools providing a good education across the board, not just good arts provision.'

Paul Reeve, Director of Education, Royal Opera House

'The arts have a vital role to play in the educational and personal development of young people; equally, they can contribute hugely to the dynamism, vibrancy and identity of a whole school. Artsmark is a great way of acknowledging and encouraging these things, and also the exciting contribution that collaborations with arts organisations and artists can make to a school’s provision.'

Julian Lloyd Webber - Widely regarded as one of the most creative musicians of his generation

'Artsmark is a great way of encouraging schools to bring the arts to our children! The arts are a marvellous vehicle for bringing children together and exposure to them has been proved to have a beneficial effect not only on their other school subjects but also on their general wellbeing and feelings of self esteem.'

Pauline Tambling, Managing Director, National Skills Academy for Creative & Cultural

'The National Skills Academy recognises and develops skills opportunities for those entering and already employed within the creative and cultural sector. Introducing Artsmark to the further education sector will allow training provision and arts activity in colleges to be audited, celebrated and improved. By encouraging collaborations with professional artists and practitioners Artsmark rewards creative collaborations, industry engagement and links with the creative industries. Students in Artsmark colleges can be assured that the arts are taken seriously and that links with cultural employers are encouraged within the college.'

Friern Barnet School, 3rd time Artsmark Gold in Round 10

'First awarded Artsmark Gold in 2007, through the process of completing the initial application, the school was excited by the prospect of undertaking a detailed audit of its arts provision. It became a celebration of the school’s commitment to building on the already extensive opportunities to ensure that all students had access to an exciting and diverse arts curriculum.

Now, as a specialist Performing Arts School recognised as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted in February 2011, the impact of Artsmark on heightening awareness and exploring the school’s capacity for change has been invaluable. Over the years cross-curricular links have increased and the arts are now fully embedded across all subject areas. The award has certainly contributed towards staff engagement with the arts in recognising the value they have in developing students’ pride and self esteem.

In addition the ‘Gold’ standard has raised the profile of the school within the local area and promoted the outstanding arts provision. Parents, governors and members of the community regularly attend events and student participation continues to be extremely high.

Gaining Artsmark is a rigorous process that encourages thorough self evaluation and recognises existing strengths and opportunities for development. Artsmark endorses the school’s provision and credibility as an arts provider and Friern Barnet School would strongly encourage other education institutions to apply' Jeremy Turner, headteacher.

Cultural education gives children and young people the opportunity to develop their creativity, both individually and collectively, and that's why our goal is for every child and young person to have the opportunity to experience the richness of the arts.

Darren Henley
Chief Executive
Arts Council England

It's vital that children have the opportunity to learn and enjoy arts and culture from an early age. It develops their creativity, inspires future careers and enriches their childhood.

Artsmark Award does brilliant work in schools and education to ensure young people access a broad and balanced curriculum that includes high-quality arts and culture.

Michael Ellis MP
Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism
Department of Culture, Media and Sport