Take part in the Bedford Arts and Cultural Education Group Twinning Project

Bedford Arts and Cultural Education Partnership (BACE): 

Schools are experiencing a huge challenge with their ability to protect their arts and cultural provision. The Bedford Arts and Cultural Education Partnership (BACE), a partnership of schools and cultural organisations want to address this challenge by creating outstanding cultural opportunities for children and young people through developing cultural leadership here in Bedford Borough. The guiding principle of BACE is that the Children and Young People of Bedford Borough are entitled to a broad and balanced education that equips them with the creative skills needed for their future whilst giving them access to arts and cultural learning experiences.

The Bedford Arts and Cultural Education Twinning Project:

Using the metaphor of ‘twin towns’, we are building an innovative and collaborative leadership project that bridges the two sectors for the collective good of Bedford’s young people. Our project seeks to address challenges around participation and engagement in culture through an innovative twinning scheme that matches local cultural providers with schools. This will offer peer to peer professional development through a mix of formal CPD sessions and informal buddying.

Subject to ESIG funding we will: 

o Develop a cohort of 8 twinned schools and cultural providers, including a financial contribution towards staff time.

o Appoint a cultural governor within each of these schools and a CYP/ education focussed board member in each participating cultural organisation

o Increase access to culture within these schools through Culture Vouchers (minumum £800) plus a travel fund

o Overcome barriers to Artsmark and Arts Award progression within schools including funding support to register for Artsmark (£500)

Twinned organisations will work together to develop and deliver cultural opportunities for young people and to strengthen links with between schools and cultural providers. Cultural twins are yet to be confirmed but are likely to include The Higgins Bedford, Bedford Creative Arts, Full House Theatre & The Philharmonia Orchestra.

Why? The Cultural Learning Alliance (CLA) has identified a number of key findings on the links between cultural engagement and social outcomes:

– Participation in structured arts activities can increase cognitive abilities by 17%

– Learning through arts and culture can improve attainment in Maths & English

– Learning through arts and culture develops skills and behaviour that lead children to do better in school.

– Students from low-income families who take part in arts activities at school are three times more likely to get a degree

– Employability of students who study arts subjects is higher and they are more likely to stay in employment.

Additionally, cultural engagement has a positive impact on wellbeing as people who take part in the arts are 38% more likely to report good health (CLA).  Our recently funded EISG ‘Culture for Wellbeing’ project, measured using the Leuven Scale, showed an increase of 20% in engagement and 17% in wellbeing in the participating students after 20 weeks of weekly cultural engagement.

We are looking for 8 schools across all phases to join us in this leadership journey. Schools at all stages of their Artsmark journey are welcome to join, but all participating schools must be willing to progress along their Artsmark journey over the course of the project.

Please submit your expression of interest by the 20th June stating why you are interested in the twinning programme, where you are on your Artsmark journey, and who would be your dream cultural twin to Isabel Davis at isabel.davis@bedfordnurseryschools.com.