We are part of a growing movement to tackle the increasing problem of creativity being squeezed out of the curriculum and as part of extra-curricular activities due to a number of reasons including: an average 8% cut in spending per pupil over the last decade combined with cuts to essential services; the pressure on schools to focus on attainment; and the introduction of the EBacc (to replace GCSEs) which contains no arts subjects. Arts Council England (ACE) research suggests there is a correlation between students that participate in the arts and higher academic attainment and more positive later-life outcomes.
While the creative industry is booming, with a 24% growth in jobs in London since 2012, the sector is failing to diversify its workforce with only 23% coming from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds and 95% coming from advantaged backgrounds (Centre for London, 2019), Without arts programmes connected to schools, vulnerable pupils are deprived the opportunity to develop creative skills, as well as essential transferable skills due to various challenges going on at home. As a 2015 report by Warwick University, ‘Enriching Britain: Creativity, Culture and Growth’ rightly states, “the goal is to ensure that those creative and cultural experiences and capabilities that are increasingly being limited to the wealthiest and least representative groups are also made available to all.”
Our Arts Education Programme is aimed at participants from 8 – 18 years and involves:
• Music workshops in schools based in deprived areas of London and Birmingham
• Visits to and performances at local cultural intuitions and venues to build cultural capital
• Training for professional artists to design and deliver our workshops
• Continuous Professional Development opportunities to support teachers who want to incorporate more creativity into their teaching practice
We target schools in deprived areas of London and Birmingham and work with teachers to identify students who are at risk of bullying or exclusion, lacking in confidence, struggling to find their place at school and are not engaging in the arts due to challenges going on at home. We are particularly interested in working with young people who are from diverse backgrounds, are eligible for Pupil Premium Funding and/or have Special Educational Needs.
Programme participants access high quality professionally trained artists who deliver music workshops that develop children and young people’s artistic and transferable skills such as creativity, collaboration, communication. Our programme also works hard to develop children and young people's confidence, helping them to build their resilience and overall emotional wellbeing at school.
Between 2015 – 2018 we:
• Reached approx. 6,500 school students
• Led approx.. 250 hours of workshop delivery
• Trained over 20 professional artists to act as our workshop leaders specialising in jazz, acting, directing, creative writing and movement
• Provided 16 Continuous Professional Development opportunities for teachers and youth leaders
• In 2018 students were 73% from BAME backgrounds, 68% eligible for Pupil Premium funding and 25% with Special Educational Needs
• Created and regularly updated a dedicated Tumblr page with image and video content to document the progression of the programme since its inception - http://achieveyourgreatness.tumblr.com/
The programme has demonstrated significant impacts around improvements in wellbeing and social inclusion for Young People. In 2018:
• Nearly three quarters of young people assessed themselves as having improved across the different skills in music and performing arts.
• 80% of young people reported an increased interest in music and the performing arts and nearly two-thirds were planning to join after-school or out-of-school arts activities.
• The average self- rated score for young people having improved across the different skills in music and performing arts was nearly 70%.
• We helped to improve collaboration skills in 76% of participant, creativity skills in 76% of participants, communication skills in 73% of participants.
• The majority of young people taking part in AWF’s programmes felt that it had helped them to feel more confident in themselves
• Workshop leaders and teachers also felt the project had improved confidence in 85% of participants.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING
"I feel like it’s just overall confidence within yourself, believing in yourself, believing the ideas that you come up with, knowing that every idea you come up with is important. It helped me personally to believe in myself and believe that I can do other things."
Student, Mossbourne Community Academy
"I have learned that failing on your first try doesn’t necessarily mean that that is your only chance and that you failed that try. There will always be more chances for you to try again." Student, Plumstead Manor
"I feel like it made me enjoy music more and made me want to become a musician"
Student, Mossbourne Community Academy
"The direct involvement with KOKOROKO, having them come in and performing was just absolutely amazing, they did a lunchtime gig for all the students and it was probably the best music that we’ve ever had in the school so that was incredible and having them come in and do the workshops every week and playing with the kids has been inspiring and exciting.
They have had inspiration from musicians that they can relate to, which perhaps isn’t always the case. These are young people that are working and gigging in and around London and they can potentially see themselves doing something like that in the future. They also are getting just the most amazing mentoring and opportunities to work with them which they definitely wouldn’t get otherwise"
Sophie Sayer, Head of Music, Mossbourne Community Academy
"I think it’s important that bands, especially people like us coming from backgrounds that we did, that we do projects like this to actually just give back. It develops our skills, develops us in other ways as well."
Richie Seivwright, KOKOROKO, Nov 18
"The different skill set and the different forms of creativity that each leader brings allows children to find the medium that works best for them. There is a providing of different mediums for different people to really explore their creativity in a safe, fun and really loving environment so that’s felt good both as a leader but also watching the children step out of themselves has been something really beautiful."
Nina Fine, Workshop Leader, Oct 18
"We are planting the seeds that will blossom into something really fruitful."
Tyrone Isaac- Stuart, Workshop Leader, Oct 18
OUR LATEST REPORT FROM 2018
The Abram Wilson Foundation is supported by the PRS Foundation's Open Fund