Inspiring Futures

Accelerating & sustaining the impact of Barking & Dagenham’s Cultural Education Partnership

The Barking and Dagenham Cultural Education Partnership was established as one of three national pilots in 2013. It is led by Barking and Dagenham’s School Improvement Service.

Inspiring Futures will accelerate and sustain the reach and impact for young people of Barking & Dagenham’s Cultural Education Partnership, its INSPIRE programme, pathways into employment, and the increased expectation that young people will lead, influence, and shape the content of the cultural provision which affects them and supports their ambition.

At its heart, the partnership is driven by collaborative activity between primary and secondary schools, and local and regional cultural partners who are united in improving opportunities and access for young people to high quality, life-enhancing cultural and creative experiences. Its steering group represents all participating interests, making it possible to act directly to realise three key priorities:

  • Improving cultural leadership
  • Celebrating and accrediting cultural achievement
  • Improving and clarifying the pathways into the cultural sector

Growth and success now require increased capacity to realise ambitious targets, including the move to 100% of schools engaged and achieving Artsmark, rapid expansion of our unique INSPIRE festival programme, and the involvement of all school governing bodies through a nominated cultural lead governor. Inspiring Futures will establish a full-time Development Officer to work systematically with schools and partners to rapidly accelerate and embed the reach and impact of the Cultural Education Partnership for the long term.

A key feature of change will be in the involvement of young people directly in the planning and decision making so that young people’s involvement in cultural partnerships will be a normal expectation. Their voice will be heard through arts and cultural forums in schools and cultural organisations, to ensure that programmes for young people are developed with them.

Increased impact and ambition are made certain by a strong collaborative network of HUBs, with a secondary school and a group of primary schools in each.

The dedicated Development Officer will be a change-maker who enables structures and activities to work for the mutual advantage of young people, schools and arts organisations. The impact reaches beyond the arts, raising wellbeing, achievement, ambition and self-confidence, with better outcomes for all.

Challenge London investment from A New Direction: £75,000 over three years

This partnership is also receiving Challenge London Legacy Funding.

Inspiring Futures website

Inspiring Futures Challenge London blog


Amelia Hart, CEP Development Coordinator