Creative school project progress

With every project there comes a week when all the planning, thinking and plotting has to be recorded and agreed. For the two Lead Creative Schools I am working with on the Arts Council Wales funded projects that is this week.

Last week we had our planning days at the two primary schools, Bryn Teg and Pennard. At both the appointed creative practitioners came in to deliver an engagement activity with the pupils and then spend time with the school team and me planning the delivery next term.

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The photos above show this happening.

This week has been all about the administration, a necessary evil! We have until Friday to complete and submit the documentation. So enough of this sharing, nose back to the grindstone.

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Lead Creative School Projects

It has been a hectic couple of weeks. The Lead Creative Schools (LCS) scheme has taken off in earnest with consultation events at both of my Primary Schools.

I work as a Creative Agent on this Arts Council Wales scheme. Whilst this is the most fabulous job title I have had to date it is also fascinating and challenging fun. I am working with two quite different primary schools who both have an interest in outdoor education. One is Ysgol Bryn Teg just outside of Llanelli and the other is Pennard Primary on the Gower.

I have worked with the LCS team at each school to set up consultation events with stakeholders (parents and governors) and the pupils who are going to be involved. Being a creative project these consultation events made great use of creative activities and challenges to explore what was important about learning for each group, and how they thought learning could be most effective.

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We used exactly the same activities and games at each school for each group. So the adults got to play and explore and the pupils got to explain how they felt they would learn best. It was all great fun, entertaining and informative.

From this base I then sat down with each team to develop and write the Project Outlines. These are then used to invite Creative Practitioners from any artistic discipline to apply and explain how they would meet the brief. You can view and download the Project Outlines by clicking on the links below.

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Pennard Primary

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The closing dates for expressions of interest for both projects is quite soon and then we have interviews to arrange, which will involve stakeholder, pupil and staff representatives working together to choose the creative practitioners who they feel would create something engaging, imaginative, inspiring and sustainable at their school. Not much pressure there then!

Interesting times are ahead. Delivery of each project is during the Spring Term, so there is a lot of work to be done between now and the end of this term.

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Creative Agent

Last week I spent 4 days locked in a space with 30 creative types learning about creative learning. How did I end up in there? What happened to me? Read on…

The Arts Council for Wales have a fantastic scheme called the Lead Creative Schools Scheme which ‘aims to promote new ways of working, with innovative and bespoke programmes of learning designed to improve the quality of teaching and learning.’ Fab huh? I should mention at this point that a similar programme ran in England for 10 years, had a hugely positive impact upon attendance and attainment, and then the Tories got rid of it. Gove!

But we are in Wales and have a devolved government, even if as I write they are still trying to sort out who’s gonna lead – Labour have a clear mandate, but not an outright majority. Anyway, away from the politics the current scheme is just ending year 1 of a 5 year funded plan.

Simply put, the idea is that (primary and secondary) schools who are interested employ creative practitioners of any discipline to help the school deliver innovative, creative learning in areas such as literacy, numeracy and disengaged learners. The creative agent is the role that brings it all together, working with the teachers, practitioners and learners to meet all their needs and deliver a fantastic project, which has the potential to change learning culture in the school. Easy?

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Being a Creative Agent

The four days were all about understanding the scope, philosophy and intentions of the role. It was four full days of presentations, discussions, games and of course innovative creative learning. Everybody in the room had a creative practice and vast knowledge, experience and ideas.

We got to learn about the details of the scheme and the role, but we did it many ways. PowerPoint was used, but we also worked in groups to discuss and hone ideas, share thoughts and reflect upon our learning.

Then there were the games. Some of these were warm ups or physical. Others were used to generate ideas. The highlight of these was probably the last one which was called Sticky Thanks (or something similar) and involved all of us in the space with a pad of sticky notes and a pen writing positive messages and sticking them on each other’s back. The photo below is the lovely feedback I received.

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What next?

Very soon the Arts Council team get together to match each of the Creative Agents to a school. We then get the offer and if happy start work. Over the next school year we get between 10 – 15 days (dependent upon school level) to work with all partners to deliver an exciting project.

I am looking forward to the adventure, and hoping for one primary and one secondary school, not too far away. Stay tuned, I will be blogging our progress.

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