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New cultural education partnership

Child in Medlock Education Suite

Arts Council England announces the ten regional museums and schools partnerships awarded funding through the Museums and schools programme.

Arts Council England is today announcing the ten regional museums and schools partnerships that will be awarded £3.6 million in funding until 2015 through the Museums and schools programme. 

This programme is one of a suite of initiatives funded through the Department for Education as a response to key recommendations from Cultural Education: an independent review by Darren Henley. 

The Arts Council is also today announcing the three geographical areas in which a new Cultural Education Partnership Group will test their shared approach to cultural education.

Museums and schools programme

The ten regional museums will partner with clusters of local schools, national museums and work with Bridge organisations to increase the number of high quality educational visits by schools in areas which currently have lower than average cultural engagement. It is hoped that the visits will spark young people’s curiosity and help encourage in them a lifelong passion for culture and learning.

Activity plans include working with a range of specialisms and collections. 

The ss Great Britain Trust and the Science Museum will be collaborating to work with pupils transitioning between primary and secondary schools. Walking workshops on board ship led by ‘Mr Brunel’ will be a key feature. Resources will include self-led activities and online educational games. 

Rhian Tritton, Director of Conservation and Education at the ss Great Britain Trust said,

“This is a unique and exciting partnership, which aims to help pupils avoid a dip in their performance at school by supporting them during the difficult period of moving from primary to secondary education. Through a series of inspiring and engaging activities, as well as summer events, we will encourage the continuity of learning at this vital time.”

Alexandra Burch, Director of Learning, Science Museum Group said,

“We are delighted to be participating in this project and to be forging a relationship with our regional partner – the ss Great Britain Trust. We know how important it is to engage all young people with science and culture and we’re looking forward to working together to create a suite  of wonderful new activities to do just this.”

Althea Efunshile, Chief Operating Officer, Arts Council England, said:

“The Arts Council believes that every child and young person should have the opportunity to experience the richness of the arts and of culture – and this is one of our strategic goals as laid out in Culture, knowledge and understanding: great museums and libraries for everyone.  It will be exciting to see how the activities that the Museums and schools programme will invest in can help inspire a generation to actively seek out the opportunities that museums can provide to support their education, both now and in the future.”

The museum and schools partnerships selected are based in areas of both low cultural engagement, as defined by low numbers of schools engaging with Artsmark, and in places of greatest need, as indicated by a higher than national average level of free school meal take up.

The ten regional museum and school partnerships will involve clusters of up to 100 local schools to provide many more young people with opportunities to access their local museum, its skilled staff and collections. Visits will be designed in partnership with the local schools clusters, ensuring they complement and enhance the educational experience and curriculum. 

Simon Lace, Museums and Heritage Manager at Maidstone Museum, one of the regional museum leads selected said,

“We are delighted to have been chosen as one of the regional partners in the Museums and schools programme, and we are very excited at the prospect of establishing a strong working relationship with the British Museum and our local Bridge organisation, Artswork.  This funding will allow us to develop fabulous new activities for children and young people which will both increase use of our amazing collections and utilise the great spaces created in the Museum’s new East Wing. Over the three years of the project, we will work across the curriculum to engage thousands of young people who have not previously visited the museum, establishing them as cultural learners of the future.” 

Michael Dixon, Chair of the National Museum Directors’ Council said,

“The new Museums and schools programme is a great opportunity for national and regional museums to work together to reach out to young audiences right across the country. National museums already work closely with their regional counterparts and this new funding will enable us to share and build on this experience, ensuring access to the collections and expertise of national museums for schoolchildren around the country. Museums are one of the nation’s great learning resources and we welcome this recognition by the Department for Education of the unique value of museums’ educational offer.”

Arts Council England is also today announcing where the new Cultural Education Partnership Group will be testing their shared approach towards cultural education. 

This group is made up of Arts Council England, the Heritage Lottery Fund, the British Film Institute and English Heritage, who will use their resources to maximise the number of children and young people taking part in a range of high quality cultural education activities. This underlines a commitment from all parties to collaborate across the sector.

The Cultural Education Partnership Group will be testing this approach in three geographical areas: the City of Bristol; Barking and Dagenham; and Great Yarmouth.

More information on the Arts Council’s work with cultural education can be found on the Arts Council website including:

  • the network of bridge organisations which connect children and young people with the work of Arts Council funded organisations
  • the new national network of music education hubs
  • a National Foundation for Education Research report commissioned by the Arts Council on raising the standard of work by, with and for children and young people
  • the re-launched Artsmark – the national programme that enables schools, further education colleges and youth justice settings to evaluate, celebrate and strengthen a quality arts offer
  • Arts Award – a national qualification that supports young people who want to deepen their engagement with the arts