As an artist you might be considering to work with schools. It could be a fulfilling avenue to apply your artistic work. Here are some top tips from Jonathan Clitheroe at Real Ideas Organisation on how to work with schools:

Research what is happening in education right now

  • Familiarise yourself with curriculum requirements for your chosen art form and age of pupils
  • Understand Progress8, the journey measurement for transition post GCSE
  • Find out Dorset schools results to see where they need to focus improvements

Be proactive in researching particular schools

Be proactive in finding out about the schools you are seeking to develop a relationship with; relationships are key to building longer term working partnerships. Check out the particular school’s website and read the School Development Plan to identify each school’s priorities.

There are schools that link arts delivery with other areas as part of their STEAM offer (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Maths).

Define what your offer is

  • What exactly are you offering the school and for what age group and ability?
  • Would your offer make a difference to a specific targeted group of  young people – e.g. under achieving boys?
  • Are you willing and/or able to offer mentoring alongside your work?
  • Could your work be related to the delivery of English, Maths, Science or Humanities curriculum?

Other avenues to explore

1. Stand for election to the governing body of a school or find out more about them

Try to understand how the school governing body works. You can also find out whether or not there is a specific governor with responsibility for creativity or arts within the school. They may help you to lobby on behalf of the school arts offer and influence the budget.

2. Become an Arts Award Advisor

Arts Award is a national accreditation for young people. By becoming an Arts Award advisor you can offer this to schools as an additional qualification outcome.  Arts Award is offered at Discover, Explore, Bronze, Silver and Gold levels.  Some schools use this to support their rounded curriculum offer.

3. Become associated with arts and culture organisations that already work with schools

Many arts and culture organisations have outreach programme that works with schools. By being known and associated with them, you might be able to work with them in schools. Some of the organisations are also Arts Award Supporters, here is the link for those in Dorset


Illustration by Bridie Cheeseman