24th April 2020

Staff at Wave Trust’s academies in Cornwall and Devon are rightly proud of the artistic achievements of their pupils. Last year talented young artist Tegan Rowe won first prize for her age group in the prestigious Young Art Cornwall competition, with artwork produced by pupils from the Shoreline Academy in Barnstaple winning first prize in the Young Art Devon competition in February. Now two Wave academies in Cornwall are taking part in an exciting new programme being led by the Crafts Council.

Recognised as the most successful trust in the country for providing education for pupils who have been excluded from school, Wave runs six academies based in Cornwall, three academies based in Devon and the Community and Hospital Education Service (CHES) & Torlands based across three centres in Devon and Cornwall.  

Wave works hard to ensure that pupils are supported to reach their full potential in all areas of the curriculum. With research showing that arts and crafts play a huge role in supporting the health and well being of young people, staff have developed an exciting programme of activities which includes pottery, glass and jewellery making and all kinds of painting and drawing, as well as recycling workshops.

“We encourage all our pupils to take part in arts and crafts activities as part of their curriculum – regardless of their abilities.” said CEO Rob Gasson. “While we are incredibly proud of the success of our pupils in the Young Art awards competitions, we are just as proud of the achievements of all our other pupils who are enjoying the opportunity to try their hand at a range of different activities – many for the first time.”

Earlier this year staff at Nine Maidens were contacted by the Crafts Council and invited to take part in its new two year ‘Make Your Future’ programme which aims to raise the profile of craft skills and careers. The academy’s art department has a well established reputation, with work produced by its primary and secondary classes exhibited in the St. Ives Society Art Gallery.

Nine Maidens is one of just eight schools in Cornwall taking part in the initiative which is helping teachers explore the theme of sustainability through product design, textiles and ceramics. Schools taking part in the programme are being provided with specialist equipment and assigned a craft professional to lead student workshops.

The project will see pupils’ work displayed at Falmouth University at the end of the two years, before being exhibited at the Crafts Council headquarters in London.

Keen to ensure as many Wave pupils as possible benefit from the programme, staff at Nine Maidens have teamed up with Wave’s Restormel Academy, with three staff from the two sites attending a range of craft skills courses after school hours. Led by local practitioners, these have included basket weaving, machine embroidery and felt making. The two schools are now creating a network of makers and crafters, and compiling a list of local supplies of ethically sourced and sustainable materials.

So far 16 pupils from the two settings have worked with a professional crafts person on a range of different projects, ranging from upcycling lamps to making bamboo pens.

“As the theme of the project is sustainability, pupils refurbished bases collected from charity shops and added hand made paper pulp shades and bespoke wire fitments to create their upcycled lamps “ explained Jonathan Stocker, Principal of the Nine Maidens Academy. “They have also taken part in drawing workshops and a range of other activities.”

The next phase of the project, currently on hold because of the COVID -19 restrictions on schools, will begin with foraging. Materials collected during the foraging will be turned into organic inks and dyes which will be used to enhance the lampshades.

Other arts and crafts activities include hand painted  candle holders made using recycled jars and beads by CHES pupils being exhibited in the St Ives Gallery, pupils from Sowenna enjoying clay work led by Richard the Sculptor’, and Key Stage 3 pupils from Torlands working on a special woodland project.

Pupils from  Penwith academy have also been taking part in pottery workshops with Penwith College. Thanks to some fantastic support from the College, which gave them access to all their ceramics facilities, including a technician, who helped pupils learn new skills and techniques, the talented youngsters created a range of animals, pots and plates.


Notes to editors

Attached are a selection of photos of arts and crafts projects carried out by pupils at Wave Trust academies.


Crafts Council Make Your Future programme

Make Your Future brings together expert partners, secondary schools, and makers to reignite a passion for making in schools and tackle some of the challenges faced by craft education. 

Originally set up in 2017, the Crafts Council worked in 63 schools with 117 teachers during the first three years of the programme to engage over 4280 pupils across Yorkshire, Birmingham and London. 

The current phase is looking at how the model works in a more rural setting. Led by the Crafts Council, the eight schools in Cornwall are also working with Falmouth University, Cornwall College and Leach Pottery,


Young Art

Young Art first started in London in 1988 at the Royal College of Art and has been exhibiting there ever since. In 2016 it raised over £86,000 for Cancer Research UK.  It was then replicated as Young Art Oxford in 2008, where it is held at The Ashmolean Museum.  The recent Devon and Cornwall projects have been so successful, that Cancer Research are now looking to extend this to every county across the country.