Looking back | Headteachers Symposium – championing the arts, creativity and cultural learning

Date Created: 4th Dec 2018

Extract from visual minutes created for Headteacher's Symposium, text reads 'Children are fires to be lit, not buckets to be filled'

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Words: Jane Bryant

Image: Extract from visual minutes created by More Than Minutes

In partnership with the Royal Opera House Bridge and Festival Bridge, we have been working to bring Headteachers and Senior Leaders from schools across the South East together, to explore how they can help promote creative and cultural learning in their respective schools. This is at a time when arts in the curriculum is being significantly curtailed in many education settings.

“[There was a] great collective energy from school leaders who believe in creativity and the arts.” (Attendee)

On 19th November, we hosted a joint symposium at Tate Modern in their Exchange space (in the Blavatnik Building). Marc Jaffrey OBE facilitated the event, which saw 60 Heads and Seniors in attendance.

The day’s objectives included:

  • Considering how best to influence local, regional and national debates on the importance of creative and cultural learning as a vital component of a high-quality education
  • Sharing and exploring strategies to promote creative and cultural learning in and out of school
  • Gaining insight into what is needed to support and develop the influence of schools leaders who are committed to creative and cultural learning
  • Understanding how to strengthen our ability to influence key stakeholders and decision-makers.

“[It’s] inspiring to know that you are not alone! Amazing to see what is possible and what other more-established schools have achieved. Artsmark is a must for my school.” (Attendee)

The symposium agenda was focused on consultation and dialogue with the delegates, but was stimulated by a keynote from Anna Cutler (Director of Learning, Tate), on ‘Making Change Happen’. Sir Nick Serota (Chairman, Arts Council England) led an Arts Council consultation, to inform the work of the Durham Commission on Creativity and Education. Alongside this, three Headteachers provided thought-provoking vignettes on practice and approaches, which informed further discussion that then took place, both in small groups and for the attendees as a whole room.

“[A] great opportunity to reflect on and articulate our school ‘journey’ and its challenges, milestones and outcomes.” (Attendee)

Next Steps

We are now considering the views and reflections from the event, which will inform both our plans in the South East region, as well as in the wider Bridge partnership areas. The event was well received, with feedback indicating attendees found it to be timely. The Heads and Senior Leaders in the room came not only with a ‘can do’ attitude, but also with a ‘let’s do’ one.

“[I loved] getting the chance to share ideas with others practitioners who are just as committed to making sure that arts and creativity are integral to our work. I enjoyed the fact that the few special school colleagues were grouped together as this doesn’t often happen.” (Attendee)

Full Visual Minutes from the day, created by More than Minutes, can be found here

Find out about the different ways we work with and help schools to promote and celebrate creativity here




Arts Award Artsmark South East Bridge

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