2 July 2018

Five tips for artists on getting your arts project into a school

As an artist, you know that your work can benefit a child’s literacy and numeracy skills.
But how do you convince a school that what you do, is what it needs?
A great place to start is the Celc website where you’ll find useful links and practical guidance to help you work with teachers to develop pupils’ literacy and numeracy skills, and support to help you take each of the following steps:

1 Research the curriculum & evidence about the arts

Before you do anything, do your research so you understand schools’ requirements and can speak their language:

2 Think about your offer in terms of school needs

Start with this in mind, and if necessary think creatively about whether you may need to adapt what you do.
Every school has a plan which sets out its strategic priorities. These are likely to include work related to the LNF as well as addressing the needs of specific groups of pupils (eg disadvantaged or More Able and Talented (MAT) students).
If your introductory call, email, or letter doesn’t ‘sell’ your offer to them in their terms, you may not get further than the receptionist.

3 Who you gonna call? A2: Connect!

Get on the A2: Connect app and see what opportunities are being posted – and build some relationships with teachers who are using the app to bring creative projects to their schools.
You can also aim to speak directly with someone at a school. Rather than approaching the headteacher, it may be quicker and more effective to contact the subject co-ordinator. The contacts section of the Celc website contains some great advice as well as a list of the types of contact you might approach.

4 Prepare for a great first meeting

Once you have a meeting lined up, preparation is everything (see 1 above). Find out what you can about the school – the area it’s in, and any particular challenges. Your initial conversation may have given you insights into how your work fits into the school/teacher’s plans but if not, that’s the first thing you’ll need to focus on in the meeting.
Don’t forget to discuss practical issues such as child protection, enhanced disclosure, health and safety, public liability insurance and any other relevant school policies.

5 Sealing the deal: the brief / contract

Following the meeting, draft a project brief, letter or contract that outlines the key details, responsibilities, and terms of the project. It’s well worth investing the time to get this right.

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