Arts for Students with Special Educational Needs

The Common Ground Arts programme brings high-quality artist residencies to the seven schools in the Birmingham Special School Cooperative Trust: Fox Hollies Baskerville, Dame Ellen Pinsent, Longwill, Wilson Stuart, The Pines and Hamilton.

As a cooperative, the school reach over 1000 students aged 3-19 with special educational needs. Each school supports students with a range of SEN needs including deaf children and students with severe learning disabilities, autism, physical and medical disabilities.

Common Ground Arts programme aims to create meaningful arts access for these students with SEN, who experience significant barriers to mainstream arts curriculum opportunities, organisations and events.

The programme uses a school improvement and outreach model to hire artists to collaborate with teaching staff and students. Each individual school collaborates with an artist to plan and deliver a bespoke, accessible and engaging arts residency for the students.

All seven schools work towards an exhibition at the Midlands Arts Centre in June. The exhibition displays art pieces created by each school in a collective exhibition, and shares the students Artistic journey with a projected film documenting their experiences. The exhibition showcases the artistic achievements of SEN students for the wider community.

The 2023 commongroundarts residencies:

  • Fox Hollies: Sound exploration for non-verbal students with severe learning disabilities.
  • Baskerville: Mosaic design and installation for secondary students with autism.
  • Dame Ellen: Soundscape experiences for primary-aged students with learning disabilities.
  • Hamilton: Felt making with primary age autistic children.
  • Longwill: Film making to explore student deaf identity.
  • The Pines: Sensory sculptures with natural materials for autistic secondary aged students.
  • Wilson Stuart: Sensory UV textiles for students with physical disabilities.