Education, Place, Culture - session one

Our first of three sessions for cultural organisations looked at the current policies and trends affecting creative learning and cultural education.

5 July 2016

The first session ‘Education’ gave an overview of the changes schools are currently facing and their priorities. Attendees heard from school leaders, cultural organisations, and education experts about:

  • The recent Department for Education Schools White Paper
  • How the redesigned Artsmark Award for Schools can connect with an organisation’s programme
  • A New Direction’s Cultural Education Challenge and Connected London Programmes.
  • Exemplar partnerships that are delivering quality cultural education in places across London

Anita Kerwin-Nye, Director NotDeadFish & Director London Leadership Strategy, presented ‘Beyond EBACC –
 The context for arts and cultural education in London's school’ and guided attendees through the current context for schools, with a focus on schools’ accountability and resourcing.

Anita focused her presentation on ways that cultural organisations could best support schools by contributing to the quality of teaching and learning, and posed seven likely factors that would improve equity and quality of cultural education in schools – asking delegates to rank them in importance:

  • Ensuring that arts and cultural education is an entitlement within the universal provision in all schools 

  • Continually improving the quality of teaching and learning 

  • Offering broad programmes of enrichment from arts and cultural organisations 

  • Strong curriculum development that embraces arts and cultural education 

  • The development of subject pedagogy 

  • Emergence of talent from non-traditional groups 

  • Breadth of cultural and artistic experiences 

Curriculum development and improving the quality of teaching and learning were highest rated across participants who agreed that the best way to ensure a more equitable cultural education for children and young people had to focus on supporting and learning with schools across London.

Kerri Sellens, Visual Arts Teacher at Lansbury Lawrence Primary School in Poplar, Tower Hamlets, then spoke about how cultural organisations could support schools to develop their creative ambitions through Expertise, Inspiration, Purpose and Sustained Partnership. You can read the full speech here. Kerri was part of A New Direction’s 2015/16 leadership development programme - working to develop senior leadership for cultural education across London.

Lynne Brackley, Artsmark officer at A New Direction then covered how the newly launched Artsmark has been redesigned by schools and now focusses on whole school improvement and cultural education, through seven ‘pillars’ that schools assess themselves on:

Your Schools SIP should clearly demonstrate an ongoing commitment to quality and diversity in arts and culture education across all phases with clear milestones and measurements.

Curriculum Design
The value and impact of the diverse arts and culture curriculum is firmly embedded in the school’s curriculum offer across all phases.

The school can provide evidence of a clear commitment to CPD in the diversity of arts and culture for all members of staff and have allocated appropriate resources to enable this to happen.

Pupil Engagement
All pupils in the school can talk enthusiastically and demonstrate their knowledge, skills, understanding and experience of high-quality and diverse arts and culture provision in their school.

Range of Offer
The school can demonstrate a diverse and universal offer of wide-ranging, high quality arts and culture experiences within and beyond the school day.

Schools can demonstrate that they understand the value of working with a diverse range of partners to provide and deliver high quality arts and culture education.

Equality and diversity
Your Schools Equality Action plan should demonstrate commitment to equality of education and opportunity of arts and culture experiences in line with the Equality and human rights commission’s protected characteristics.

Values and Ethos
Schools actively promote diversity and a life-long love for learning and enjoyment of arts and culture. This is reflected in the school environment, ethos and shared language used by the school community to celebrate and promote their achievements in arts and culture.

For more information on Artsmark, please email:

You can download Anita's presentation from the event here, and book on to the next session ‘Place’ here.