Cultural education in every school

Culture Bridge North East launches its first cultural leadership in education programme. The programme for teachers has been developed in partnership with Newcastle University, with the aim of building a group of cultural leaders in schools to lead cultural learning experiences.

Participants will be helped to understand their role as curriculum leaders, to raise awareness and to promote opportunities for cultural and creative learning within their own schools and across a network of local schools. They will be advocates for arts and culture and will be able to assess and articulate the impact on children and young people as well as be thoroughly informed about cultural organisations.

This new programme is part of Culture Bridge North East’s schools engagement strategy, which has been developed in consultation with head teachers and school leaders who agreed in principle that a broad cultural education is of value to children and young people.

Elvie Thompson, Culture Bridge North East programme manager, said: “We’re excited to be launching our schools leadership programme with the North Leadership Centre at Newcastle University. We developed our partnership after extensive research with school leaders across the North East. Every school leader we spoke to agreed that creative, cultural education can have a huge impact on children’s lives. What teachers need is support to plan how to make every day in school creative within the curriculum and assessment guidelines in which they work. Those are the skills participants will build on the course.”

Culture Bridge North East, as the Arts Council England bridge organisation for our region, has a role to lead the Cultural Education Challenge, a call for the arts, culture and education sectors to take a fresh look at how they work together. Working with schools to ensure every child is able to experience the richness of arts and culture is critical. The Local Cultural Education Partnerships which Culture Bridge North East is developing across the region allow schools to be at the heart of decision making around the cultural offer.

Dr Anna Reid, Deputy Director, North Leadership Centre (NLC), explains: “We at the North Leadership Centre are delighted to have hosted a growing partnership between Newcastle University and Culture Bridge North East in order to produce a two day programme on cultural leadership. Cultural leadership is an increasingly important area of children’s personal, social and moral development. I am immensely proud of the end product and I look forward to receiving the views of the school teachers who will be amongst our very first cohort, which is due to begin in November this year.”

In the context of national changes to the education system, curriculum and progress measures, teachers face increasing challenges in giving children creative cultural experiences. These experiences are vital for children’s development; they are proven to improve attainment in all subjects, increase cognitive abilities, and the likelihood of children going on to further and higher education, employment or volunteering.

Debi Bailey, Head Teacher at Walkergate Community School, said: “I am very excited about the Cultural Leadership in Education programme and feel it offers a fantastic opportunity for teachers to develop their leadership skills in a real hands on practical way, ensuring we make a difference in our own schools. As the programme is predominately school based, it will ensure that the outcomes are grounded in what schools need and are action focused. What enthuses me most about this opportunity is this programme offers schools a real opportunity to put arts and culture at the heart of the school. It is providing schools with a way of building capacity in arts leadership, crucial in this time of budget cuts and squeezed curriculums.”

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