Denby C.E. (V.A) First School

The Arts at Denby

Here at Denby we firmly believe that a curriculum rooted in the Arts has long-lasting impact upon the children in our care, inspiring a love of learning and discovery.
We celebrate the Arts in the lessons we teach, experiences we provide and the opportunities brought forward by the children's own interests.

Class 2’s Stone Age Exhibition

We have thoroughly enjoyed our Stone Age topic and welcomed our families in to our Stone Age Exhibition.

Please click here to view Class 2’s performance of their Stone Age song including singing, percussion and recorder playing whilst following their conductor.

Please click here to view our vocal warm up using our made up Stone Age names.

The videos are private and you will need the login that was emailed to parents.

Class 2’s Christmas Coffee Morning Friday 15th December 2023


Class 2’s Christmas Coffee Morning last Friday was fantastic. Well done to the children, their recorder playing was superb and they had also learned lots of songs. They were super smart and remembered their top tip to watch their conductor, Mrs Maitland very carefully.

Thank you to Mrs Maitland our music teacher for all her wonderful lessons and also to Mrs Ruth Ackroyd for playing the piano alongside the children at our performance.

Please click here to enter the private page to watch the video. You will need the login that was emailed to parents.

Musica Shelley Adult Recorder Group whole school assembly Wednesday 20th December 2023


A huge thank you to Musica Shelley Adult Recorder Group for performing Christmas songs for our children. The recorder group played songs that the children had been learning in their music lessons. The children were able to listen to the live music and could then sing along. It was impossible not to sing along! There was a range of recorders to see and listen to even including the smallest, a garklein.

Please click here to enter the private page to watch the video. You will need the login that was emailed to parents.

Light up the Woods November 2023

What a super event this was this year.  The lanterns seem to get better every year.  Here are some photos of our display this year.

We would love to see your photos too.

Please see below for some lovely feedback:

On behalf of Light Up The Woods, I would like to thank you for your contribution to this year's event.
This was the fifth Light Up The Woods event, and it was the busiest to date, with more and bigger displays than ever before.
The visitor numbers were beyond our expectations, I think the weather helped, and there has been nothing but praise for the groups, the schools, the young people and all of those who took part in the event. Thank you all for participating. And thank you all for leaving the woods as if no-one had been there.
For all of those who exhibited, we know that it takes time to come up with an idea and even longer for children to turn it into reality - The Navigator's seascape with the octopus took us six hours - even with the assistance of The Art Room. However, being part of such a unique community event is surely worth the effort. It certainly allowed Navigators to discuss the environment while learning how to make the lanterns.
We all talk about community, and if we can get our young people to become involved in wider community activities, they start to develop a sense of belonging. I firmly believe that if our young people feel they are part of the community, they play a positive role in that community.
Anyway, Thanks once again for being with us at Light Up The Woods, and we will be announcing the date for 2024 in the New Year. Hopefully, we will see you all there again next year.

KS1 Art Club

Our KS1 pupils have been having great fun at our After School Art Club.

They have made tall cactus, blossom trees and cats.  They have been using lovely art materials brought in by Jane and have made stunning pictures as you can see.

Scissett Middle Wind Band
As part of a 4-stop First School tour on Monday 27th March, Scissett Middle Wind Band performed for us at DenbyThe band is made up of about 18 students and led by Adam Kingham from Musica Kirklees. It was fantastic to welcome the students who played a variety of pieces and introduced the brass, woodwind and percussion instruments that form the ensemble.  
KS2 Art Club is back 

We were really pleased to see many of the children who took part in last year’s Art Club returned this year.  We also welcomed new children. 

Here are some pictures from our sessions.

One week we learned about Modigliani’s style and got our hands on some great art materials.  It was great fun.  Did you know, Modigliani painted long, oval faces and long necks, his paintings weren’t famous when he was alive and he didn’t paint the eyes of people until he knew them? 

We've also done some Picasso inspired art work!

Summer 2022 Magnificent Me Biennale - THANK YOU!
Here is a thank you, the official film and further information from this summer's Magnificent Me Biennale.  Well done to all of you, you were magnificent!
Light up the Woods - November 2022

It was an amazing evening, that truly brought the local community together. Here are a small selection of photos, but if you have any you would like to share please feel free to send them in to the school office.

Light up the Woods Preview
The children have been very busy making their lanterns and we are all ready for Light up the Woods 2022. Here is a preview of our work.
Half-Term Art Activities
Looking for something arty to do in the half term holiday.  Look no further!  Check out these two links for activities in our area.
You may remember The Children's Art School are who we worked with for the Biennale in July 2022, (particularly Izzy).
If you do go, we'd love to see or hear about what you make.
Light Up The Woods 
We are taking part.  More information nearer the time.
Visit from Miss Roulson – Musica Guitar Teacher

As part of Musica Kirklees #LearnToPlay Class 2 were visited by Miss Roulson. The children thoroughly enjoyed travelling around the world musically with Miss Roulson playing music from different countries on the guitar. Afterwards, children had the opportunity to ask lots of questions and get hands-on with the instruments.

KS1 Art Club

After the success of our KS2 Art Club in Autumn, KS1 jumped at the opportunity to attend Art Star Art Club with Jane Middleton. The club has been a huge success with many children attending.

Each week the children produced a different piece of art, experimenting with different skills and techniques. Take a look at some of their super art!

Magnificent Me Biennale Finale - Saturday 2nd July 2022

We had a super turnout from Denby at the Finale and the parade was magnificent.

Take a look at our newsletter and Chloe's link to professional photographs taken on the day.

You really were magnificent!

Magnificent Me Biennale 2022 Update Newsletters

As the day fast approaches, please see a final letter to parents about the day.

We have started preparations for the Biennale Festival this Sumer. Please see the latest newsletter to read  all about them!

Please click here to see our Biennale Festival May newsletter.

Staff Art CPD

Staff across our Federation took part in a CPD sketching session with Jane Middleton (Art Starz) on Tuesday 7th June after school. Yes, teachers have art lessons too!

Jane tailored our session to needs we had identified in school.  We wanted to extend teacher's skills and confidence whilst reinforcing terminology from both the curriculum and our progression skills. It was an enjoyable session where we all produced works of art and Jane made art terms that can sound daunting accessible to all. Thank you, Jane.  

Biennale Festival

We have started preparations for the Biennale Festival this summer. Please see the latest newsletter to read all about them!

Scissett Middle School String Orchestra

On Friday 20th May we were honoured to have a visit from the Scissett Middle School String Orchestra.  Denby children enjoyed learning more about the string instrument family and listening to the pieces played.  As two of the members of the orchestra had attended our school it was lovely to welcome them back.  

Matilda Jr.

Year 5 pupils were invited to watch Matilda Jr at Scissett Middle School in April.

"We had a fantastic time watching Matilda at Scissett Middle School. We both thought the performance was excellent and it was lovely to see some of our old friends from Denby in the cast and also be with future friends in the audience! We had the best seats, we were sat right at the front had had a superb view of all of the action. We are super excited about joining Scissett Middle when we become Year 6 pupils."

Ethan and Olly Year 5

Violin Concert

On the 18th February 2022, Miss Chapell’s violin students from Class 3 showed off their musical skills to the whole school! We thoroughly enjoyed listening to them and thought they did a brilliant job. We look forward to what they will show us next!

We really appreciated Miss Chapell taking the time to help us organise the performance and giving the children some extra practice.

Finally, Class 3 also performed one of the songs they sung at the Mrs Sunderland workshop in the town hall. They performed it off by heart and the song even included a harmony!

Art Club

Our first Art Club run by Jane Middleton of Art Starz took place on Thursday 13th January after school. The children were brilliant and very proud of their art work as you can see from the photos. 

Children will create a new piece of work each week to take home. They will experiment with different materials and techniques such as collage, painting, oil pastels and drawing skills.

We'll add to our photo gallery each week, so please pop back to see what artwork has been produced!

Skylar's Note

Jen and Emyr came to visit Class 1 and Class 2 as part of a Leeds International Piano Competition collaboration with Manic Chord Theatre and Leeds Music Education Partnership.  They performed for us the musical story of Skylar’s missing note. This is an immersive piece of storytelling about Skylar, whose piano has lost its middle-C key during a house move. The note did appear in the mouth of a pigeon but unfortunately, despite Skylar’s best efforts, the note could not be reunited with the piano.  Fortunately, Skylar continued to enjoy her piano and found other ways to use her piano to create music.

The adventure not only introduced pupils to the piano in a fun and engaging way but also enhanced our music curriculum. In the interactive workshop following the performance, we worked with Emyr looking at the inter-related dimensions of music.

Our children’s reactions to the performance and workshop were extremely positive, such as;

“They used interesting words such as ‘slumped’”.

“The performance was very realistic, I couldn’t stop looking.”

“I like the way she used her voice, loud, quiet, whisper and medium.”

“Jen played different notes all at the same time.”

“Jen used two hands to play the piano.”

“I’m going to practise my piano more!”

 “It was a treat to do something so cool.”

“It was fun because we could join in with the performance. Some of the music made me cry because it was sad.”

“It was a happy ending because Skylar made beautiful music on the piano even though it was broken.”

 “It was so cool when we saw the inside of the piano!”


 Emyr and Jen told us that they could see that we valued the arts in school from the responses of the children and staff during their visit. 

A clip from the Class 2 Skylar's Note workshop
Music Mark Success!

Denby recently received an email from Music Mark congratulating us on been nominated by Musica Kirklees to become a Music Mark school for the 2021/22 academic year.

Music Mark are a UK association for Music Education leaders and represent and support the highest music education for all children and young people.

We have recognised for our commitment to a broad and balanced curriculum and the value that we place on music, and as a result, our school has become part of the Music Mark community.

Inkonjane - 'The Lightning Bird'

Lisa Difford of Fettle and Fable an award-winning children’s theatre company based in Yorkshire visited Class 2 and Class 3 on Friday 24th September. In the morning the children were mesmerised by a pilot live performance of Inkonjane.

Inkonjane – ‘The Lightning Bird’ is the tale of the swallow’s migration from South Africa to Yorkshire drawing on local folklore and using a diverse and international team of artists. The artists included two fantastic South African artists, one a storyteller based in the Eastern Cape and the other an award-winning musician and poet based in London, both of whom play indigenous African instruments, created the soundtrack and contributed to the stories.

The project explores migration in a positive and meaningful way. After a period over the last year of venturing very little, Lisa wanted to guide the children on a mindful and uplifting journey of exploration and hope.

 In the afternoon children took part in an interactive and at times very funny, workshop including singing and drama activities ‘people to people’ and using an object as an imaginary item. The children fully immersed themselves in the activities and had super ideas. Did you know a shoe could be a handbag?

This project was developed with the support of partners including museums, libraries, theatres and local authorities including Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council and Arts Council funding.

Denby children have supported Lisa in her project by providing feedback on the performance and the workshops.

100 Voices Update
Supriya Nagarajan and Duncan Chapman re-visited us to present our music to us. The children thoroughly enjoyed seeing Duncan again and listening to the music they created.
To listen to our final piece of music for 100 voices follow the link ( to the new Our Biennale Finale website, 100 voices is in the projects section. See if you can hear your sounds, they are all in there, some are very obvious and some will take a bit of finding. 
There are also some super photographs of class 2 from the official photographer for the Biennale from when he and Duncan came into class. 
If you have any feedback or any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Mrs Ackroyd.
Plastic Bag Poster Competition

Thank you to all of the children who have entered our Plastic Bag poster competition. We were amazed by the fantastic art work and strong messages against using plastic bags and the effect on the environment.

Mrs Minogue had a really difficult time selecting the winner but finally she awarded the winning entry to……IDA. Congratulations to Ida! Ida’s entry will now be sent to be entered into the next round of the competition against other winning entries from our local schools.

Please take a few minutes to have a look at the fabulous posters that the children created. We are particularly impressed with the children’s passion towards looking after our environment – well done to all!

100 Voices
Part of Our Biennale, a festival of arts and culture made with children and young people in Kirklees -

Between late May and early June we took part in the 100 voices project as part of the Kirklees Our Biennale. Sound Artist Duncan Chapman spent 3 days on the happiness project with children talking about sounds, making sound maps and recording sounds that mean something to them.  It was fascinating finding out more about what a sound artist does. 

 Next Duncan will put ours and other participating schools medley of sounds together in preparation for the Our Biennale Finale in Huddersfield where our new sound piece will be played.

 Duncan showed us how we could get involved in another project making our own sounds as part of the Covid 19 Soundmap.  The project is a collection of sounds people have noticed have changed due to restrictions we have been under.  The link below will take you to the project.  Just zoom into the UK on the link to google maps and access the sounds on the placemarks.  Feel free to add to the collection.

Kirklees Cuckoo 

Class 2 have taken part in the Kirklees Cuckoo as part of the Nature 2020 project and Kirklees Biennale.  Our children are interested in nature and found out that yellowhammer birds live in our area and their numbers are in decline.  As part of our local area topic work, children were keen to support the project.  Children experimented with watercolours and brush techniques to produce a backwash and paint a yellowhammer. They  looked closely at the birds colours and used a splatter effect.

Our paintings were included in an exhibition at Maker World at Huddersfield Piazza between 22nd and 30th May and some of the children enjoyed visiting with their parents to show them the work we had done in class.

The website with more information can be found at