Supporting Schools in the Arts

Writing on the windows is usually frowned on!

I often feel a little bit sorry for MIMA. I mean I shouldn’t really because they are thriving and do such amazing work as a community hub but like many things in our region, they don’t get recognised locally for their brilliant work. I was once chatting to a creative practitioner from London and they knew all about MIMA; they told me it was one of the nationally significant sites for art in the UK. Really? Well I think we should be using it more, in fact, I’m not the only one. Yes its true that the sessions get booked up really quickly but as I type they are already building additional classroom resource spaces and they are always keen to engage with as many people as possible.

One strategy they have used this year is to team up with the Tees Valley Education Trust to support delivery of a well funded arts programme for schools across the Tees Valley. The programme has engaged a number of schools across the Tees Valley with regular in school support from creative practitioners specialising in a range of arts. The final part of the project that will run until July is a series of MIMA delivered workshops for participating schools to send pupils to. The pupils will then be charged with delivering sessions back at school for their classmates and other year groups.

This approach to developing pupil ambassadors has had great success over the last few years through the Ogden Trust in the subject of primary science. Led by Lorraine from Durham University and the Ogden Trust we hosted several events last year with over 25 schools sending pupils, all funded through outreach money from Sirius Minerals.

So we know that this method is really effective. It is great for the pupils themselves who take on the role, their confidence soars. Is is also a really effective way of delegating support a larger audience through a limited supply funding. Win win!

To support the pupils and create a resource that teachers from any schools can use, I have been working with TVED to create a short guide based on each stage of the project. Day 1 was focussed on drawing and was attended by 8 schools. One of the schools has kindly offered to let me work with them back in school when the pupils take the lead and the resource should be available by early December.

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