Our work with schools

Supporting increased arts and cultural education, in a curriculum increasingly squeezed of its creativity.
Using valuable tools including Artsmark and Arts Award, we provide support to teachers working to champion the vital role of the arts in children and young people’s lives.




Three ways in which we help schools and education settings flourish in their teaching of arts and culture


Artsmark Creativity Champions 

Developing powerful advocates for Arts, Culture and Creativity 

This project was created to offer schools that are committed to harnessing the power of arts, culture and creativity, the opportunity to share experiences and learning with other schools to help and develop their practices, advocacy and cultural offer. Doing this is an essential requirement of the Gold and Platinum Artsmark awards. 

The first phase of this project (2020-22) sees eight lead schools across the South East (two per sub-region) each collaborate with two Champion schools. The lead school will share their experience and enthusiasm with the Champion schools and help them improve on their current Artsmark award level. 

All lead schools will have achieved Gold or Platinum at least once, while the Champion schools will be looking to improve on a Silver or Gold award. 

Alongside supporting one another, the groups will identify and deliver CPD sessions that will contribute to the growing bank of resources on our website. This is with the ambition of inspiring the Champion schools to create local networks and offer support to schools, new to, or with less experience of embedding arts, culture and creativity. 



“Our school has benefited from the shared expertise within the group and we in turn have been able to share that with our local community too.” Kirsten Black, Glory Farm Primary. 

“I am really inspired by the members of our Champion Schools programme, we all share a common goal, we are all passionate about the Arts and how they enrich the curriculum for our children. It is really rewarding to know we are all facilitating this for our schools and working hard to build future partnerships in our communities and wider” Verity Tyne, Whitelands Park Primary. 


Creative Steps 

Support and mentoring for targeted non-engaged schools 

How can we support schools facing challenges to access the potentially transformative power of arts, culture and creativity? 

Creative Steps aims to test, research and demonstrate the impact that arts, culture and creativity in leadership can have on school improvement outcomes. 

This is an initiative of six sub-regional programmes, led by Senior Leader Advocates, working with up to 16 schools across the South East, mentoring to create powerful stories of change. 

Artswork’s Education Development Managers and Senior Leaders will work closely with two schools to explore how arts, culture and creative partnership working can help deliver on a schools’ priorities, laying the foundations for a commitment to Artsmark and Arts Award, completing in Spring 2023. Artswork will be working with external evaluation consultants, Fulcrum Learning, using Action Learning to evidence the value of this work. 

Additional Department for Education Investment has enabled us to establish four further Creative Steps groups, which will become active within the next year. 



Schools Connect 

Schools Connect is a Department for Education funded strategic investment programme led by Cultural Education Partnerships (CEPs) across the South East, which has run between 2019 and 2021. The aim of the work is to build sustainable relationships between networks of schools and the arts and cultural sector. This has been achieved through the delivery of innovative, high-quality, creative learning opportunities for children and young people, linked to the key priorities and plans of both the schools involved and the CEPs. Each programme aimed to work with 10 schools – 8 new to Artsmark with 2 established Artsmark schools willing to act as Mentors to their colleagues.  This was scalable depending on interest. To date 10 projects have been or are being delivered across the region. 

An integral aspect of all the projects has been the embedding of CPDL for teachers when working with arts and cultural partners, as well as Arts Council England’s Quality Principles, Artsmark and Arts Award.


Education Development Managers

Our team of experienced Education Development Managers (EDMs) are on hand to support schools and education settings across the South East as they work to embed arts and culture in the curriculum, including through Artsmark and Arts Award. Each of our EDMs covers a specific part of our South East Bridge region, more information, and contact details, can be found at their staff profiles below:

Eleanor Markland, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes

Jane Dickson, Surrey, East & West Sussex, Brighton and Hove

Leanne Macdonald, Kent

Lorraine Cheshire, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth & Southampton

Different ways we work with schools

Connecting with Culture

The quick, easy way for schools to connect with arts and cultural organisations

close up of girl with blue eyes and face paint

After speaking to teachers across the South East region, we learned of the barriers they face when looking for arts and cultural activities for pupils. Frequently mentioned was the lack of time to find new opportunities, awareness of what kinds of things were available in their area, and the confidence in the quality of the activities on offer.

Connectingwithculture.com works primarily as a search engine, allowing education professionals to search and filter a large list of arts and cultural organisations to find what they are looking for. Each organisation has their own profile page with details of their education offer, their location, and any additional information regarding age suitability and specific needs they cater for. Below this information, is a contact form, enabling teachers to contact organisations directly with their enquiries.

Teachers and professionals also have the opportunity to leave reviews of specific cultural experiences, helping build our community of word-of-mouth recommendations – something teachers have told us they really value.

Visit the site and sign up for free

Sign up to our newsletter

Receive the latest News & Events straight to your inbox

Recieve the lastest News & Events straight to your inbox

Opt into another list