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Lifelong Learning Blog 1 20-21

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Cultural Leadership in Education Programme 2020-21: Accounts of Practice

Welcome to the fifth collection of Accounts of Practice written, filmed, and designed by those participating in the Cultural Leadership in Education (CLE) Programme 2021, a co-created leadership course in partnership with Culture Bridge North East.

As a consequence of the pandemic, this year the course was delivered in six virtual twilight sessions focusing on developing participants’ understanding of themselves as cultural leaders within their context, of the national policy landscape, of how effective partnership and networking could enhance the cultural curriculum offer in their schools, of how to lead change and therefore an in-school project effectively. The virtual format allowed us to increase the number of participants this year, which was appreciated by many school leaders and teachers in the region. As a consequence the 2022 programme will stay virtual with an additional optional in person session.

This year’s collection of Account of Practice is another repository of successful, exciting, inspiring and impactful in-school initiatives and activities that promote culture and the arts. Many of this year’s projects are of interdisciplinary nature: some are combining culture and the arts with sports and mental well-being activities; others set out to reunite the school community after months of lockdown-separation; others reflect on their schools’ journey to Artsmark – all of them reflect on and/or demonstrate impact either on their learners, their teams, themselves as leaders and on how the initiative influenced decision making about the curriculum. In one case, the project seemed to have convinced school leaders so much that they committed to setting up an art studio as part of their future development plan.

All of this year’s projects are fully aligned to Michael Morpurgo’s reflections: “We need discovery; doing; exploring; creating; critical thinking; seeing; hearing; experiencing.” Congratulations and thanks to all participants, the programme facilitators, partners at Culture Bridge North East and the many school leaders, colleagues, pupils, cultural organisations and individual artists who supported this programme and the in-school projects so generously with their time, creativity and inspiration.

Enjoy browsing and exploring!

Professor René Koglbauer, Director, North Leadership Centre / Educational Leadership Centre

Click on the links below to read the relevant accounts of practice.


Active Week 

Collaborative work around Active Week and especially GRADE 9 Challenge Day, and the benefits of this project at John Spence Community High School.

Adam Pilkington John Spence Community High School 


Garden Project 

Creating opportunities for children to explore nature and the outside world in a safe and contained way in an area with high levels of deprivation. As part of its ''whole School Offer'', Carville Primary School is developing a project focusing on children working outdoors, along-side nature and being creative.

Aggie Freed, Carville Primary School


Introducing our children to the best that has been thought and said 

Giving students opportunities to engender appreciation of human creativity and achievement in Bede Burn Primary School. How a weekly ‘Inspirational Person of the Week’ assembly and the connection of an 'inspirational person' to each taught topic assisted in strengthening the school's range of objectified capital.

Bethany Beadling, Bede Burn Primary


Our Journey Through Mindfulness 

How implementing arts and culture within the curriculum encouraged students to express their feelings. With an overwhelming number of their students coming from deprived families, Usworth Colliery Primary School is on a journey to adopt a more positive mindset and improve the studentss mental well-being.

Cara Barella, Usworth Colliery Primary School


Collaborate, Inspire and Create: working together to experience culture in our outdoor areas 

By utilising existing outdoor learning spaces and incorporating a creation activity into already planned lessons, Grangeview C of E First School managed to promote team-work and build listening skills among the children. 

Caroline Metcalfe, Grangeview C of E First School


Decolonising the Curriculum through the Introduction of Key Artists 

Inspired by Jody Spiro’s ‘Leading change step by step’ model, students at Oakdene Primary School study artists from a wide range of cultures, backgrounds, genders and time periods. By linking their learning in ICT through research and English through writing fact files and biographies, students learn key skills and develop their talents.

Caroline Smith, Oakdene Primary School


Developing Cultural Capital through Literacy and Mantle of the Expert 

South Gosforth First School is on a mission to look into how cultural experiences could broaden the childrens' experiences, vocabulary and confidence in speaking, listening and writing skills. Bu giving students various cultural experiences, South Gosforth First School encourages literacy skills across all areas of the curriculum.

Catherine Burnett, South Gosforth First School


A Reflective Journey

A blog outlining Consett Academy's plans to give its student's the opportunity to gain first-hand experience of the arts and their value by enriching the curricilum with cultural capital and creative opportunities.

Fiona Dodd, Consett Academy


Where I Call Home Spittal is by the Sea 

Spittal Community School promoting team-work and social interactions within the school community by organizing a creative week celebrating the local area by capturing photographs of places special to students. Joanne's Schwartz  ‘Town is by the Sea’ serves as the inspiration behind the whole-school literacy week.

Harriet Bayly, Spittal Community School


#Inspired By 

Atkinson Road Primary Academy teams up with Seven Stories in an art project to create an exciting reading space to empower children, engage with them and their families, raise aspirations and generate an enthusiasm for the arts.

Iva Plhakova, Atkinson Road Primary Academy


Planning and creating an Erasmus Arts Project 

A blog describing the creation of a joint Erasmus Arts project at Collingwood School & Media Arts College to share teaching practices and resources. ‘Celebrating the creative life of Eric Carle’ is a project that celebrates positivity and creativity by providing a series of lessons that incorporate the style and techniques used by the illustrator.

Jenny Blake, Collingwood School & Media Arts College


Creativity, Culture Awareness, Covid-19 and the Catch-up Curriculum

Grange Park Primary School is focused on creating a bespoke curriculum and enhancing the cultural experiences of the students that will allow them to develop skills, knowledge and cultural capital they need to be successful in society, even after their time in school.

Jessica Ditch, Grange Park Primary School


Cultural Capital as an integral part of the curriculum planning process 

Developing a curriculum that fully integrates and promotes cultural capital. How South Gosforth First School introduced new initatives that uses drama, music and the arts to provide experiences and promote positive well-being and health to students.

Jill Whitehouse, South Gosforth First School


For the love of books by the sea! 

Seahouses Primary School supports a local cultural initiative to give everyone free access to books with the aim to reduce feelings of loneliness. Senior leaders, teachers and students rally together to collect books in school and donate them to 'Books by the Sea', so all children in the area would be able to enjoy.

Julia Keenan, Seahouses Primary


Arts Award - How Creativity Will Always Win 

With the country under lockdown, Corpus Christi RC Primary manages to incorporate culture and the arts in their curriculum. From teaching Art and Music via Google classrooms, to parents supporting children with creative tasks at home, students were able to work towards their Arts Award.

Julie Hogg, Corpus Christi RC Primary


Young Civic Award

A poster outlining the introduction of the Junior Young Civic Award to Year 7 students at John Spence Community High School, to help them develop soft skills and support the local community.

Kate Winder, John Spence Community High School


Creating Your Mark 

Students create their own art using rocks, as part of 'Creating your Mark' project aimed at increasing critical thinking and students' confidence to express themselves. Connecting, sharing experiences, and individual value are integral to Swansfield Park Primary School's art projects.

Laurie Horne-Smith, Swansfield Park Primary School


Building an art gallery: Celebrating achievement and culture within the arts 

With a focus on cultural education through the arts, Harrow Gate Primary Academy creates an art gallery within the school as part of its new cultural curriculum, to increase pupil confidence, and encourage exploration and independence.

Olivia Henderson, Harrow Gate Primary Academy


Richard Hay, Duchess's Community High School

A video reflecting on the experience of Cultural Leadership in Education Programme and its influence as a cultural leader at Duchess's Community High School.

Richard Hay, Duchess's Community High School


Here We Are…Reconnecting through the Arts and Culture 

Inspired by the book ‘Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth’ by Oliver Jeffers, 'Here We Are' project at SELEfirst School focuses on supporting students' and their families wellbeing by engaging pupils in Arts and Culture.

Steph Milburn, Sele First School