Arts in Schools: is there life beyond Creative Partnerships?

Nick Owen's picture
Creative Partnerships (CP) has been operating in about 20 areas over England since 2002 bringing a range of different creative practices to bear on teaching, learning, curricula and school culutres. Their funding has recently been cut by the Arts Council which is filling many arts organisations and artists with dread about the future of arts in schools.

The Creative Partnerships programme brings creative workers such as artists, architects and scientists into schools to work with teachers to inspire young people and help them learn.

The programme has worked with over 1 million children, and over 90,000 teachers in more than 8000 projects in England since 2002. Until the cuts, Creative Partnerships was England’s flagship creative learning programme, designed to develop the skills of children and young people across England, raising their aspirations, achievements and life chances.

  • Young people who have attended Creative Partnerships activities made, on average the equivalent of 2.5 grades better progress in GCSE (NFER)

  • Creative Partnerships was shown to be associated with an educationally significant reduction in total absence rates in primary schools (NFER)

  • Around 70% of the programme’s funding goes directly to the practitioners and over half of those working with Creative Partnerships have developed other work and employed other professionals as a result. Thus having a positive impact on the economy (Burns Owen Partnership)

Does the termination of Creative Partnerships mean the end of partnerships with artists? We are researching new ways of how schools can engage artists in this era of the Coalition and are gathering views from schools, artists and other interested parties on how there can be 'life after CP'. Please email me if you're interested in participating in planning this new future!
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Francis Gilbert's picture
Sun, 23/01/2011 - 14:55

It is very sad to hear Creative Partnerships is going. My son's primary school, Columbia Primary in Tower Hamlets, had an amazing connection with the organisation, enabling his class to learn about orchestras, story telling, theatre. As Alistair McDonald, the Head of Morpeth, said "the arts should not be a bolt-on extra" for children but integral to their education.

Nick Owen's picture
Sun, 23/01/2011 - 15:11

Exactly Francis - they should be integral to their education. i think the challenge facing us too is to reach out to schools who didn't benefit from the CP programme - and who stand to lose out, even if CP is somehow resurrected by the Arts Council. what will also be true is that CP (or son or daughter of CP) won't be able to reach everyone - so we need to find new ways of reaching those who were unreachable, even during the golden times of CP.

Francis Gilbert's picture
Sun, 23/01/2011 - 15:44

The great sadness for me is the way in which it looks like things like the arts will only be accessible to children from wealthier backgrounds. CP was amazing because it opened the eyes of children who don't normally get the chance to listen to an orchestra play, or don't have someone to show them how the various instruments work, or appreciate the wonders of classical music. CP did this at my son's school, enthusing EVERY child. This is what true education is about, it's about improving a child's "being"; I find it very sad that the Coalition seems only interested in children's academic attainment rather than the "whole" child.

Nick Owen's picture
Mon, 24/01/2011 - 21:25

My own view is that there is bound to be life after CP - but that we have to rely on organisations in the sector to make it happen. I'm not sure there's any appetite in ACE to set up yet more agencies (given their massive cuts) - so I think something that the sector can develop gives us a chance of sustaining something in the long term.

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