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Meeting the Cultural Education Challenge

How the Royal Opera House is playing a part in offering cultural learning for all children and young people.

By Cliff Manning (Communications Co-ordinator, ROH Bridge)

14 October 2015 at 10.51am | Comment on this article

At a live launch in London this morning, Darren Henley, Chief Executive of Arts Council England, set out a challenge for us all - the Cultural Education Challenge.

‘A great arts and cultural education gives children and young people the confidence and creative skills to thrive, as individuals, as members of our society, and as the next generation of creative talent. All children and young people, wherever and whatever their start in life, should have the opportunity to have an arts and cultural education that nurtures innovation and unlocks the vital skills that are helping to drive our world leading creative industries,’ said Darren Henley.

The creative sector is growing rapidly and now provides one in 20 jobs in the UK. Innovative and creative thinking is vital to our future as a nation. So we need to ensure that all children and young people, wherever they start in life, benefit from an inspiring cultural education. Cultural education gives children and young people the opportunity to enjoy the arts; to engage with our great cultural institutions, and to develop their creativity, both individually and collectively.

The Cultural Education Challenge is a call for arts and cultural organizations, including the Royal Opera House, to come together with schools, music education hubs, local authorities and higher education institutions to offer a consistent, high quality cultural education for all children and young people.

'Learning and Participation is a core part of the Royal Opera House’s ongoing mission. Reaching every part of the country by working alongside local partners across all sectors is at the heart of our ambition,’ says Jillian Barker, Director of Learning and Participation at the Royal Opera House. ‘We are excited to build on the long term partnerships we have developed in Thurrock since 2007. The close relationships formed here are helping us to develop new programme models that can be rolled out nationally.’

In Thurrock, the ROH is working with local partners on a long term strategy to ensure every child can access the best cultural education opportunities. In 2014 Thurrock Council and the ROH, with support from Arts Council England, launched Thurrock Trailblazer, a pathfinder programme to help schools deliver outstanding learning through arts and culture.

Now in its first full year, over 50% of schools in Thurrock have already signed up for the creative whole-school improvement programme. Each school nominates a ‘Cultural Champion’ - teachers who are developing their own creative skills and working with over twenty arts organizations on a wide range of projects. They are developing activities including learning visits, in-school projects and joint performances.

Thurrock Trailblazer is just one example of the many ways the ROH is already working with local partners to meet the Cultural Education Challenge.

Since 2012 Royal Opera House Bridge has been championing Cultural Education and helping to strengthen local infrastructure through strategic partnerships with schools, local authorities and arts organizations across Essex, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and North Kent.

However, access to cultural education and opportunities to progress and improve still vary considerably, and are often restricted by socio-economic factors; by income, class, geography, ethnicity, faith and disability.

Over the course of 2015-18 ROH Bridge will continue to expand and deepen the strategic support for arts and culture in areas of most need through the establishment of new Local Cultural Education Partnerships. ROH Bridge will also support all schools across the region to develop their cultural education through the new Artsmark Award.

Find out more about the Cultural Education Challenge and ways in which you can take part at or on Twitter with #CulturalEdChallenge

By Cliff Manning (Communications Co-ordinator, ROH Bridge)

14 October 2015 at 10.51am

This article has been categorised Learning and tagged ACE, Arts Council England, Artsmark, Cultural Education Challenge, Darren Henley, Education, learning and participation, ROH Bridge, Thurrock Trailblazer

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