Cultural Education Partnership to bring creative artists into Oxford’s schools

Published: Wednesday, 19th December 2018

Oxford City Council is leading the development of a Cultural Education Partnership (CEP), bringing creative educators into local schools to improve cultural education for young people in the area.

Formed in collaboration with Artswork, Oxfordshire County Council and arts and cultural organisations in the city, the CEP is a response to Arts Council England’s Cultural Education Challenge calling for a more coherent and visible delivery of cultural education.

14 schools have signed up so far for the CEP, which will see arts and cultural organisations in Oxford, along with educational institutions and local authorities, coming together to drive a joined-up art and cultural offer locally.

There are currently 50 Cultural Education Partnerships across the country.

The types of arts organisations in Oxford that are on board and actively contributing to the development of Oxford’s CEP are:

  • Theatre
  • Music
  • Dance
  • Film
  • Libraries
  • Gardening

As part of the educational programme, artists and staff from affiliated organisations will join forces with teachers and students on a range of creative projects.

The CEP is structured around four strands, encompassing both the projects to be worked on and the outcomes for the collaborators. These are:

  1. Music - a project looking beyond traditional ways of learning music, focusing more on the act of playing and expressing creativity through sound.
  2. Reminiscence and storytelling - a project looking at the notion of people who come from elsewhere and settle into Oxford. Visiting artists and curators will find parents or elders throughout the project to come in and tell their stories to the children, ruminating on the differences between where they came from.
  3. Professional development - focusing on the collaborative learning between teachers and visiting artists, and the mutual learning that takes place.
  4. Babylab - looking at how children and their parents learn. Working with Brookes University psychology department who are doing early years research, the aim is to understand more about what stimulates learning and the brain. Schools with nursery and early years attached will be asked first.

Projects will take place once a week, with the Windrush strand occurring presently until June and the music strand set to start next September until the following July.

In its findings from a pilot study report, Arts Council England reported children and young people taking part in the CEP had: increased engagement in culture, enhanced understanding of local history, and heightened pride in the local area.

Anyone who wishes to submit a story for the storytelling project, donate funds or generally contribute is encouraged to get in touch:

For more information on the CEP project visit the Arts Council website.

Councillor Mary Clarkson, Board Member for Culture and City Centre, said: “Whilst the Arts are being squeezed out of the curriculum, the Cultural Educational Partnership offers an alternative way for schools and arts organisations to continue to offer some Arts activities for their pupils. This isn’t about every child going on to become an artist, rather the power that creative expression can have holistically for children in terms of their learning and engagement.”