Creative Schools: Our Story of Change

Story of change image

Creative Schools aimed to create ‘critical mass’ around shared challenges and opportunities in east London, and over the course of a three year programme brought together 280 east London culture and education organisations together through the development of sustainable and collaborative business and delivery models.

Four interlinked strands of activity were designed and delivered by multiple partners to test new and collaborative approaches to supporting outcomes for children and young people, schools, and cultural organisations in east London.

  • Creative Schools brokerage: established new brokerage infrastructure to support east London Schools to meet their improvement needs through the arts and deliver on Artsmark ambitions through a joined up Creative Schools Artsmark 
  • Youth Voice: developed models of empowering youth voice within the commissioning process through student consultation and leadership opportunities
  • Collaborative Learning: strengthened practice and enhanced collaboration across east London’s cultural education sector through a programme of structured learning, dialogue and experimentation
  • New London: tested income generation models and cross-sector collaborations that support more financially viable business and delivery models for cultural education

Creative Schools delivered considerable impact in terms of both scale and depth of engagement, successfully bringing together schools and cultural organisations to strengthen cultural education provision in east London; providing enriching cultural experiences for over 5000 children and young people; supporting the delivery of a wide range of inspiring creative projects that demonstrate the power of creativity to inspire, challenge and develop necessary life skills for children and young people;  and experimenting with innovative operational and funding models to shift the practice of delivering cultural education in east London.

Resources, partner reflections and learning

The future

Building on their significant leadership role within the strategic and operational delivery of Creative Schools, Stratford Circus Arts Centre will continue to work with east London partners to further cement the relationships and models developed together as we move into a new phase of partnership activity in east London.

The East London Cultural Education Alliance brings together partners across east London to ensure that provision, learning and support for cultural education is available to all young people and is being delivered in the most effective way.

Over the past three years, our work in east London, catalysing, convening, and occasionally curating has been a valuable way of testing models of shared ownership across the cultural and education sector in order to ensure that young people in east London get a consistent and high-quality experience of culture.  To this end, the Creative Schools programme has been a hugely successful demonstration of what can be achieved by working together, supporting over 5000 children and young people to access creative and cultural experiences through their school.   Going forward, the Barbican and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama will continue to build capacity for collaboration through our work with the East London Cultural Education Alliance, as well as with new partnerships established through Culture Mile.”

– Sean Gregory, Director of Learning and Engagement, Barbican/Guildhall School of Music & Drama

“Stratford Circus Arts Centre is proud to have led on the schools brokerage component of Creative Schools.  Through its bespoke approach the programme has given thousands of children access to the rich cultural opportunities east London has to offer.  Creative Schools has facilitated an enhanced understanding between education and cultural organisations, resulting in arts projects that have a deeper and longer lasting impact for schools and their pupils.  Stratford Circus Arts Centre will continue in its mission to ensure that every child in east London has access to the highest quality arts education.  With the East London Cultural Education Alliance we will build on the important work of Creative Schools and lead on its evolution and expansion.”

– Tania Wilmer, Director, Stratford Circus Arts Centre