In our most recent OFSTED inspection the report stated: “The attention paid to the care, guidance and wellbeing of its students and the strong links forged with the community are outstanding. The use of the specialism in the arts to develop students’ emotional intelligence, provide a bridge to the local community and enhance the spiritual and cultural appreciation of students is excellent.
Students are respectful to their peers and communicate well with adults. Behaviour is good both around the college and in lessons... Students know how to keep themselves safe and say that there is always someone available to talk to should the need arise. They understand exactly what constitutes a healthy lifestyle and older students perform well as ambassadors talking about health-related issues in local primary schools.
Students have a good awareness of their career options and are well prepared for further education, training and work. They have an excellent understanding of moral and social issues through the well-devised programme of personal, social and health education. Their spiritual and cultural development is very well supported through the arts. Students’ extensive engagement with music and performance, locally, nationally and internationally in Europe and America, is recognised by the International School Award.”
We are extremely proud of the extensive charity work that the students are involved in every year. Our community work has fostered very strong links with Charlton Church, community organisations, the Dover District Council and local businesses.
The Schools and Community partnership initiative has stimulated fresh and invigorating arts activities in the Dover area. These are currently enjoyed by local people of all ages, from Parent and Preschool Children arts activities to intergenerational festival projects such as Zest Fest, and large scale community arts projects which bring together the wider community. These have culminated in the creation of a massive ceramic mosaic 'Tri- Angles of Dover' at the Triangles community centre.
Other community activities have included the Buckland Hospital and Dover Handicapped Group creating colourful ceramic, glass and papier mache artefacts. The Migrant Help Line has assisted in setting up Family Arts workshops to create a series of multicultural banners for Refugee Day. Astor's students have also been involved in painting murals for Crabble Mill. Astor College for the Arts also promotes arts workshops for adult learners to participate in community arts projects. The results have been amazing, from carnival style artefacts to tactile jig-saws and textiles.
Local schools have benefited by working with Astor arts specialists, and have jointly instigated special projects that enliven the school environment. Developments have included the installation of art features at Aylesham Infants and Primary School and a jungle mural at River Primary School. Our specialist art staff are involved in link work with our family of schools. This takes the form of Astor Art staff delivering regular outreach work as well as students from other schools coming into Astor for practical workshops.
The multi-lingual publication 'The Earth and the Sky' part of the Telling Stories: sharing cultural heritage project illustrated by Astor students is now in print and is currently available on loan through Kent Libraries.
Our partnership activities have fostered a greater interest in the arts and engender a real sense of community pride. Our students are inspired by being in a vibrant and exciting art department and through contact with arts professionals.