Using the metaphor of ‘twin towns’ the Bedford Arts and Cultural Education (BACE) group are launching an innovative and collaborative leadership initiative that bridges the two sectors of arts and education, for the collective good of Bedford’s children and young people. The Twinning project addresses the current challenges around educational participation and engagement in culture by matching local cultural providers with schools. These “twins” will then be supported to work together to develop and deliver cultural opportunities for young people within an appointed host school. Bedford Creative Arts are delighted to be working with Peter Pan Teaching School on this innovative initiative, funded by the Education Improvement Strategy Group.
Eight schools have been carefully selected and twinned with eight cultural providers, including The Higgins, The Philharmonia Orchestra and Full House Theatre. All partners are funded to take part, and each school has been allocated over £1000 each in Culture Vouchers (provided by The Culture Challenge) and access to a travel fund to enable their students to access the cultural offerings in Bedford. In addition to this, participants will take part in six half-day creative professional development (CPD) events, have access to peer-to-peer development and can request SLE (specialist leader in education) support, as well as email and telephone support from a project manager.
The CPD programme will be facilitated to strengthen links between the cultural and education ‘twins’ and provide an incubator-style environment to test and develop cultural opportunities for children and young people.
Kayte Judge project manager of the BACE Twinning Project comments: “There are a number of challenges that schools come up against when seeking to provide cultural experiences for their students, the BACE Twinning Project serves to bridge this gap by building a working relationship between schools and cultural organisations, with an aim to creating outstanding cultural opportunities for children and young people. We believe that all children and young people are entitled to a broad and rich education that includes giving them access to arts and cultural learning experiences, as well as developing the creative skills needed for their future. This project, the first from BACE, has been designed to develop leadership in both the education and cultural sectors and to provide practical support in delivering high quality creative and cultural experiences for learners. This is foremost a collaborative endeavor between the sectors, and one I am delighted to be part of.”
The launch of the project, which takes place on January the 9th, will see the introduction of each of the eight creative professionals with the representative of their twinned school. This pilot project is well placed to provide significant insights into the potential and power in collaboration and learning will be shared beyond the participants. Each twin will be supported to create a case study to summarise their journey, which will be shared at the success conference to be held at the end of the project on July 10th this year.