Bringing learning to life through arts and culture

Arts & Media School Islington are to be commended for their ongoing commitment to arts and cultural activities for pupils. It is good to read how you are continuing to engage with over twenty partners including; Platform, Urdang Academy, Dance is an area of strength at the school, Big Creative Education, Italia Conti and STEM, to help inform pupils of future career choices within the arts and that creativity week is now a standing feature your school calendar. You have also developed cross curricular projects such as, Global Warming, where students have built a large whale to represent the effect of plastic consumption on our oceans, which has helped to both enhance pupils learning environment and understanding of these global issues. It is good to hear that you are sharing best practice, including the attending borough meetings and secondary school transition events, it would have been good to hear more about what impact this had on the schools that attended these meetings and the subsequent impact on pupil outcomes. Your partnership with Cubitt Art is developing well and you may wish to develop a bank of case studies which outline the positive impact on pupils learning. Although there have undoubtedly been some challenges over the past 2 years, including the Covid-19 Pandemic, you have continued to find creative solutions and identified ongoing areas of development in your Statement of Impact.

Congratulations on your Artsmark Gold Award!

Primary Dance Festival: Year 10’s Lead

It has been wonderful to see the return of visitors to the school. A prime example was the Primary School Dance Festival, hosted at AMSI by our Year 10 students. St John’s Highbury Vale, Morelands and Duncombe Years 3 – 6 pupils attended with their parents to watch the performance given in the afternoon at the end of a morning of rehearsals.

Our Year 10 Dance students led these sessions. They also hosted with great confidence and were a credit to the school. A video of the performances of our students will follow.

PE Outward Facing Project With Christ the King Primary School

Today we had our rounders session with Christ the King Primary School at Wray Crescent. Their year 5’s came for a game of rounders along with some of our sports leaders in year 9. 

The session was absolutely brilliant and the year 5’s enjoyed the game immensely and our sports leaders were great in supporting the younger students. The students who supported throughout were Remzi, Giulia, Kianna, Tiearra and Tianna (all year 9). A special mention to Tianna Prince who helped support 2 students in year 5 who were not confident to run but with her support they both hit the ball and ran with Tianna which was great to see. 

We think this could be an annual event and we’d love to welcome Christ the King students again.

Primary Sports Festival

Year 10 GCSE Dance students went to Beacon High for the Primary Sports Festival. Year 10 GCSE dancers worked extremely hard to create a warm-up and dance routine that was targeted for primary aged students. They also adapted movement to stretch and scaffold all ability dancers.

The AMSI students taught 120 primary students from a different primary schools; Hungerford, Copenhagen, Montem, Christ the King, St Peter and Paul, Winton, Drayton Park and St Johns Upper Holloway. 

We are immensely proud of our AMSI students, they represented the school in an extremely positive light. Primary school teachers were impressed with the students’ creativity and professionalism. One teacher commented on how the Year 10s had a strong ability to engage all learners with their enthusiasm and passion for dance. The primary students loved the Year 10s dance session and could not wait to show off their talent at the end of the session. 

Xirone also gave a special talk to the primary students about what life at secondary school is like. Xirone represented AMSI well and calmed a lot of primary students fears about attending secondary school. 

Cubitt Arts

For the past 6 weeks a group of Year 8 Students have been embarking on a creative project with Cubitt Arts. Cubitt Arts was awarded Lottery funding to deliver a 6 week interactive project with AMSI entitled “70 Conversations”. This project was inspired by conversations that make a difference to strengthen communities and bring everyone together.

Students had the opportunity to work with Nadia Josephs whose father worked with Nelson Mandela on the anti apartheid movement in South Africa. Nadia herself  led the Islington movement against apartheid. This led to the interaction between the younger and older generation though guided discussions and interactive creative projects. AMSI students also worked with artist Mai Omer to develop their skills in film making, photography, research and planning. 

On 29th June AMSI students, and Cubitt Arts planned a celebration party for all in the Islington community. It was lovely to see so many AMSI staff and students be part of the celebration and interact with the elderly residents. Thank you to all of the staff members that attended the party in the park, I hope you had as much fun as the students.

Creativity Week 2021

Primary Dance Festival
For the past 4 years AMSI has hosted the Islington Primary Schools Dance Festival. This year, due to the impact Covid-19 has had on schools, this years festival will be virtual.  
To prepare the primary schools for the upcoming festival, Ms Stephanou worked closely with four Year 11 GCSE Dancers. Olivia, Shanice, Yohance and Georgi. 
Olivia and Shanice worked extremely hard choreographing the primary Dance piece for the Primary Dance Festival which will take place virtually on 25th June. They targeted movements based on age group that were differentiated. 
Our AV Technician, Jason Wheetman, recorded Olivia, Yohance, Shanice and Georgi performing and teaching the routine. This video was shared with all Islington primary schools. The schools will use the video to learn the Dance and perform the piece as a flash mob during a lunchtime in their school. 

Thank you to Jason for recording and editing the Primary Dance video and to Olivia, Shanice, Yohance and Georgi for their participation and creation of the primary Dance piece.

All Change Arts Project
For the upcoming 11 by 11 cultural festival All Change Arts have been working closely with 15 Year 10 students after school on a Wednesday. Students have been working on a project entitled Known in Your Bones focuses on arts current topical issues. Students have been exploring various themes using photography and have been compiling a portfolio of their art work.  
Marysa Dowling is the lead artist working with Year 10 along with Sadé who is one of All Change Arts Young Creatives. Marysa has led activities that feed into a project she is working on called Known in Your Bones – a Heritage project looking at Vitamin D. Themes that the project focuses on include skin colour, the sun, migration, food and inequality. More info can be found here:
The work that the students have created will be showcased during creativity week on 5th-9th July 2021.
Students that are part of the project are: Daniella, Zaara, Melissa, Mia, Matilde, Jackie, Gabriella, Anarita, Jess, Iasmyn, Abida, Izma, Magda, Kya & Siham. 

Almeida Project
11 future GCSE Drama students have been working on a project with the Almeida Theatre entited Unmute All. AMSI students received a box of communication themed stimuli to respond to. They then work with the artist Jordana and Mrs Harris to create a response piece around the themes of celebration and communication.

Students that are part of the project are: Maria, Gariel, Amber, Roshaun, Jemma Lee, Light, Fabien, Elitsa, Muhamud, Charlie & Elvija. The piece will be shared in school during creativity week 5th-9th July. 

Cubitt Arts Project
Cubitt Arts have been awarded Lottery funding to deliver an 8 week interactive project entitled “Lockdown Conversations”, a joint project with an Islington care home. This project explores emotions during lockdown and AMSI students will be exploring this theme using various arts mediums such as animation, music and movement. Cubitt Arts have been working closely with five KS3 students. Over the 8 weeks students have been students working on installation, drawing, animation, voice recordings, painting, tape drawings and chalk design.
Students involved in the project are: Elitsa, Cheyanne, Amy, Elizaveta and Valentina. An exhibition of students work can be viewed during creativity week 5th-9th July. 

“Exciting”, “Educational”, “Cool” and “Inspirational”: Alexandra Sheppard visits AMSI

A lucky group of students had the opportunity to meet local author Alexandra Sheppard whose debut novel ‘Oh My Gods’ was published.

Of the students who attended Alex’s engaging talk on Greek mythology in popular culture, many had never had the chance to meet an author before. Our students were very interested in the process of taking a book from idea to publication and were surprised to hear that Alex grew up just around the corner in Holloway.

Some of the group had been working on their own creative writing inspired by the opening chapters of ‘OMGs’ during their English lessons. They were excited to hear that Alex would actually be reading their work and choosing her favourite piece. Daniella’s vivid description of living with a modern-day Poseidon impressed Alex and won Daniella a signed copy of the book.

At AMSI we place great value on reading for pleasure and meeting an author can be the spark that ignites a young person’s love of reading. We are incredibly grateful to Alex for being so generous with her time and also for the beautiful books that she has donated to the school library.

Alex is currently working on her second novel and we can’t wait to read it!

Numeracy Day

On Tuesday 21st May 2019, all our Year 7 students took park in a National Numeracy Day. This is an event celebrating Numeracy Skills in all schools across the country. One of the world’s largest accountancy firms, KPMG agreed to send 3 volunteers along to support each Year 7 class. Each class was given a presentation focusing on how much numbers affect our every day lives.

The KPMG staff told the students how they were using their numeracy skills to help businesses to be more successful. Each lesson ended with a tower building competition. Students had to consider what shapes helped to build the tallest and strongest towers.

The KPMG staff and our PGCE Trainee teachers helped to make it a great National Numeracy Day enjoyed by all and highlights our commitment to using creativity across the entire curriculum.

MFL Drama Workshop

Our years 7&8 MFL students enjoyed a day of drama and role play whilst furthering their knowledge of French and Spanish.

Using the stories of The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas and Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, our visitors brought costumes and incorporated role playing whilst engaging the students in the language of the text.

It was a lot of fun but also a highly effective way of teaching and bringing to life not only the language but the literature of these two classic texts. It was a perfect example of how we are committed to bringing creativity to as much of our teaching at Arts & Media School Islington as possible. Thank you to our head of MFL, Mr Castillo, for organising this event.

Artists in Residence @ AMSI

We are delighted to welcome to our school community, 4 Artists in Residence – Janetka, Louise, Betsy and Esther – who are working in their new Studios  in C block. This initiative is a unique partnership with Cubitt Arts which has revived our old woodwork room.  In exchange for affordable rent the Artists will be working with students and staff on lots of exciting creative projects.

As a result of this new partnership, this week we hosted St. Martin’s School of Art and Brazilian Artists who collaborated with our more able MFL students in a workshop to develop a dialogue with young people in Sao Paulo through the arts.

The Artists have also converted a small kitchen in to a Photographic Darkroom which will run after-school sessions in January 2019.

Year 7 Anti Bullying Week Winners

November 16th: ‘Respect’ goes out to Year 7 students from Arts and Media Islington Secondary school (AMSI) who have won Islington’s Anti Bullying Week competition for schools.

The students produced their own version of the News at Ten on the theme ‘Choose Respect’ using Aretha Franklin’s song ‘Respect’ as inspiration.

Heather Vaccianna said: “A huge round of applause to the Year 7 students at AMSI for their fantastic entry for this year’s borough-wide creative competition. The students created a really entertaining piece that was fun to watch whilst reminding us of the serious impact of bullying and the importance of treating each other with respect to prevent it happening – well done!!”

Islington Life

Read full story here

Hansel and Gretel at the Barbican

On October 12th, a group of Year 8 and 9 students attended a special production of ‘Hansel and Gretel’ at the Barbican Theatre as a rewards trip for their work during the Autumn Term.

‘Hansel and Gretel (A Nightmare in Eight Scenes) ‘was a reimagining of the famous tale, with specially commissioned poetry, chamber music, puppetry and animations, all projected live onto a large screen.

Students were also lucky enough to participate in a live Q&A session with poet Simon Armitage, who wrote the poetry for the production. He told students: “If you want to be a writer, you need to be a reader.” Excellent advice indeed!


Creativity Across the Curriculum is overseen and monitored by our Creative Leader across the Curriculum.

Subject Leader for Dance, Ms. Stephanou.