Policy and Practice round-up May 2021

20 May 2021

This month we bring you news of Creativity Collaboratives school grants; a report from the EPI calling for a £13.5bn multi-year programme of support for children and young people to reverse the damage of the pandemic; the launch of Amplify Voice; resources from the Centre for Cultural Value; a Dance in education survey and Thank You day for schools.

Applications open for Creativity Collaboratives grants of up to £360,000

Creativity Collaboratives were a recommendation of the Durham Commission in 2019, reinforced by the recent Durham Commission Second Report. The Creativity Collaboratives programme, run by Arts Council England, will build networks of schools to test a range of innovative practices in teaching for creativity, sharing learning to facilitate system-wide change.

Grants of up to £360,000 are available for delivery between October 2021 and July 2024. Lead schools (as part of an existing or planned network of schools) can apply for funds to co-develop creative strategy and pedagogy, test out approaches to teaching and learning, and evaluate their impact on pupils, schools and communities.
Expressions of interest are due by midday on 10 June, and full applications by midday on 26 July. Read more on the Arts Council England website.

EPI report calls for £13.5bn multi-year programme of support for children and young people to reverse the damage of the pandemic

On 18 May the Education Policy Institute published Education recovery and resilience in England. The report suggests that a three-year funding package totalling £13.5bn will be required by the government to reverse the damage to pupils’ learning as a result of the pandemic.

£1.7bn has already been committed in short-term ‘recovery’ funding. A comprehensive, long-term education recovery plan is expected to be unveiled soon, building on work by Sir Kevan Collins, the Recovery Commissioner, who has been clear that the arts need to be part of any ‘recovery’ package.

The EPI research calls for a multi-year programme of support, including extended school hours for social and academic activities, although we are surprised they do not include arts in their suggested activities of ‘sports clubs, social activities, games, pastoral support and academic programmes’, given the impact of participation in the arts on outcomes. Although they do suggest a new 16-19 Student Premium should include funding for a ‘combination of academic and enrichment support, including extra-curricular activities such as sport, music, drama and volunteering to rebuild engagement.’

The EPI also calls for additional Pupil Premium funding; summer wellbeing programmes – which again don’t reference arts activities; more incentives for teachers to work in “challenging areas”; further mental health support in schools; and an option for some pupils to retake the year.  

EPI research also shows that prior to the pandemic, disadvantaged pupils were already 18 months of learning behind their more affluent peers by the time they took their GCSEs – with that attainment gap already starting to widen.  

Read the full report.

Bridge Organisations launch Amplify Voice

Profiling children and young people's voice in creative and cultural learning, Amplify has been produced by the Arts Council Bridge organisations for professionals working in the cultural, education and youth sectors. Presented as a series of episodes featuring interviews, stories and evidence from a range of contexts, Amplify is designed to inspire and give practical tools to support work amplifying the voice of children and young people.

Amplify is for those who are well practiced in this work, and those who are just starting out, and provides information related to questions such as: How is this ‘youth voice' work managed?; What impact does ‘youth voice' activity have both on your organisation and the young people who are participating?; and How do you fund your youth voice activity? Find out more.

Thinking about impact? Resources from the Centre for Cultural Value

The Centre for Cultural Value is building a shared understanding of the differences that arts, culture, heritage and screen make to people’s lives and to society.

The Centre has published a series of different resources on Culture Hive to help practitioners think through how they understand cultural value; measure impact; and run evaluations. As well as research digests, guides and blogs, the site includes links to webinars covering policy making, place and participation online.

You can sign up for updates on the Centre’s work and upcoming events.

Dance in Education Survey – deadline 24 May

One Dance UK, the Subject Association for dance in schools, strongly believes that access to high-quality dance education is an entitlement for all children and young people. We agree with them that there is no doubt that dance education has faced enormous challenges, with shifting educational priorities over recent years, and now with the impact of the Covid pandemic.

One Dance UK is conducting a large-scale survey of dance in education in the UK, including the many challenges, and will use this information to strengthen their advocacy for the value of dance in schools and colleges. If you teach dance in school or college settings then please take part. There is a prize draw for entries. Find out more: Dance in Education Survey 2021 (

4 July Thank you day schools project

Charlie Mackesy, author and illustrator of The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse has come together with the nation’s schools and the Together Coalition to create a nation-wide Thank You card. As part of the project every class in the country is being asked to make their own large thank you poster, listing some of the people they want to thank. These will be inserted into the card and unveiled in the week ahead of Thank You Day.

Thank You Day is 4 July 2021 and is supported by hundreds of organisations across the UK including the NHS, the Scouts, the Royal Voluntary Service and the Football Association. Read more on the Thank You day website.