Young people taking part in a dance performance

Myth busters

Do you know your Arts Award fact from fiction?

MYTH: Arts Award is admin heavy

FACT: Actually it's light on paperwork. Once your organisation is an Arts Award centre, there’s a single step to enter young people for the qualification via a two-page enrolment and marksheet (a small number of centres entering young people for Explore, Bronze, Silver or Gold will additionally be required to go through the moderation process).

For Arts Award Discover you just fill in a spreadsheet to tell us the names of the children or young people who should receive a certificate.

MYTH: Arts Award is just for schools

FACT: Fewer than half of Arts Award centres are formal education settings (including colleges and universities as well as state and independent schools). Almost a third are arts and cultural organisations and nearly a quarter are youth and community settings. So there are more Arts Award centres outside formal education than within!

MYTH: You have to be an artist to run Arts Award

 FACT: Anyone who works with children or young people can run Arts Award. Our Arts Award advisers include artists and arts teachers as well as non-specialist teachers and teaching assistants, youth club workers, librarians and education officers from museums, galleries, theatres, orchestras and dance schools.

Arts Award encourages partnerships with local artists and arts organisations, so if the young people you work with want to explore an art form you don't know much about, why not connect with someone who does?

MYTH: You have to do Arts Award in one art form

FACT: You can offer Arts Award in one art form, or two, or many. And the young people you work with can explore more than one art form for their Arts Award if they wish. In fact, to achieve Gold level, candidates have to try an art form that’s completely new to them, as well as their preferred one.

MYTH: My school is already doing Artsmark; doing Arts Award as well would be too much

FACT: Arts Award and Artsmark offer different benefits, and each one can support the other. Artsmark is a quality standard for schools, Arts Award is a suite of qualifications that reward young people’s individual achievements. Find out about the differences between the two here.

Many schools find that Arts Award complements Artsmark, and vice versa. For example,

  • Artsmark identifies staff training needs – Arts Award provides accessible and affordable training to staff who want to deliver these qualifications
  • Artsmark requires schools to offer students a variety of arts opportunities – Arts Award's flexible framework lends itself to a wide range of art forms and approaches
  • To gain Artsmark, schools work in partnership with arts and cultural organisations – connecting with the professional arts world is also a requirement of Arts Award
  • Parental and community engagement are an important part of the Artsmark journey – Arts Award supports this through performances, exhibitions and prize-giving ceremonies

MYTH: Arts Award doesn’t work alongside other exams or assessments

FACT: Unlike most qualifications for young people, Arts Award isn't assessed by an exam. Instead, candidates record evidence of their development and achievements in an 'arts log' or portfolio, in their choice of format, which is then assessed. All five levels of Arts Award recognise personal progress within the arts, rather than requiring young people to meet a specific standard.

Arts Award is young person-led and encourages creativity. It complements traditional school-based exams in arts and non-arts subjects (GCSEs and A-levels or Scottish Nationals and Highers) and graded performing arts exams in music, dance or drama. For some students it's a great way of demonstrating they are well-rounded, multi-skilled individuals. For others, it offers a path to recognised qualifications that might be out of reach along other routes. Many schools also find that Arts Award is a great way in to GCSEs, A Level or BTEC study, supporting subject take-up in KS3.

MYTH: You can't run Arts Award outside England

FACT: Arts Award is available in all parts of the UK. Arts Award is on offer across England, Scotland and Wales and Northern Ireland.

MYTH: To offer Gold Arts Award you need to have run one of the other levels first

FACT: This used to be the case, but we've made it quicker to get going with Gold. You can now take the course to deliver Gold Arts Award without having to complete Bronze & Silver adviser training first.

MYTH: Training is a big time commitment and doesn't work alongside my schedule

FACT: Training is not only great CPD but also doesn’t take lots of time to complete. Online training is available weekly, so there are plenty of opportunities to fit this around your other commitments. We also offer large group and Made to Measure training options. Made to Measure can also be delivered face-to-face at your venue. Training lasts around 3.5 hours (depending on the level).

Useful links

Arts Award Centre Map

Arts Award Shop

Book Training

Centre portal

Complete your centre registration and enrol young people