Blog Post: The Culture Challenge Toolkit, Code of Conduct and Verified Provider Status, by Jo Atherton

When I first decided to take my creative practice into schools and join The Culture Challenge, I was delighted with the added visibility my website listing brought, along with some fantastic local opportunities. However, at this stage in my career, I had not set foot in a school since I was an anxious teenager sitting my A-Levels and felt unsure as to what exactly I should expect, not to mention what the school’s expectation would be of me.

I quickly realised that being part of The Culture Challenge is so much more than having my name simply featured a directory. The professional advice and support I have received has enabled me to develop my offering to schools, and also adhere to their Code of Conduct, which means I am presenting myself in a professional manner whenever I come into contact with young people and teachers. I imagine this is also of great benefit to teachers too, knowing they will be booking a quality workshop from someone who is striving for best practice.

For anyone considering signing up as a The Culture Challenge provider, or even who have been listed for a while, I thoroughly recommend browsing The Culture Challenge Toolkit. You can find it, along with a whole suite of useful documents on the Downloads section of the website (navigate to the link at the very top of the page just above our logo).

The Culture Challenge Toolkit is your go-to document for all manner of advice and guidance when planning your school workshop. It includes the Code of Conduct, explains what a Verified Provider means, provides planning and booking forms for teachers and providers, advice on best practice for communication and some fantastic suggestions on evaluation, which often can make the difference between delivering a good workshop and an excellent one.

As an artist myself, I find that it is all too easy to lose oneself in the more visceral aspects of creative work, so the clear structure of the Verified Provider criteria was of great help to me when developing the practical aspects of my offering to schools. Striving for this mark of quality on The Culture Challenge website has certainly contributed to my professional development and allowed me to continually reflect on my performance.

For teachers, the Toolkit brings guidance for shaping your project from the outset, guiding you through developing a brief, consider questions around learning outcomes, establishing a budget and safeguarding concerns. An awareness of these elements at the planning stage of your project will allow The Culture Challenge to match you with a cultural provider most appropriate to your needs.

Matching expectations of both providers and schools is at the heart of The Culture Challenge’s success. For creative practitioners, the Toolkit and Verified Provider status is well structured and relevant, giving you the support to establish yourself with schools in the region. For teachers, when you book a Verified Provider, you can be confident that you are booking someone who is committed, conscientious and who strives for excellence in all they do. Simply look for the Verified Provider logo next to the name when browsing, something I am proud to have alongside my profile.