A new Cultural Education Partnership for Barnet

08/11/2019
Middlesex has joined forces with Artsdepot, local schools and arts organisations across the borough in the Barnet Cultural Education Partnership

The Barnet Cultural Education Partnership (BCEP) project aims to provide a rich cultural education for every child and young person in the borough. The partnership supports three strands of activity: Performing Arts Education, Culture and Heritage and Health and Well-being. Within the broad project there is a special focus on children with special needs, pupil referral units, faith schools and home schooled children.

Middlesex was part of the original bidding group that won funding from A New Direction (Arts Council England funding organisation) and the John Lyons Trust. The funding is for three years and includes a full-time project manager post who is based at Artsdepot. The project will be guided by a Steering Committee, a Youth Panel and three themed Working Groups - Performing Arts and Education, Health and Wellbeing, Culture and Heritage.

"Creativity in education is as essential as STEM, Maths and English and its importance has been ignored for too long. Being creative and developing creative skills supports mental well-being and resilience during childhood, adolescence and later life and should be nurtured." Dr Lesley Main, Middlesex

Middlesex is in a unique position to provide strategic leadership when it comes to creative education and developing cultural projects. Our students are participating in the project from the start. They were involved as part of the support team and as performers for the launch event at Artsdepot in October that was attended by over 120 arts teachers, practitioners and sector professionals. One of our second students is part of the Youth Panel and some of our music staff and students are working with Barnet Education Arts Trust (BEAT) on a collaborative Christmas Concert in the MDX Quad in December, the first in a series of projects.

Middlesex Dance and Theatre Arts students are leading practical workshops for Mapledown SEN School, preceded by training from the school's Art Coordinator on how best to interact in a workshop setting with young people with severe needs, including non-verbal communication, which is a valuable 'beyond the curriculum' learning opportunity for MDX students.

Dr Lesley Main, Head of the Performing Arts Department at Middlesex said the importance of creativity is already acknowledged by the business community. The CBI's recent report 'Centre Stage: Keeping the UK's Creative Industries in the Spotlight' emphasises that access to creative arts disciplines in schools is essential for economic growth and wellbeing.

“Creativity in education is as essential as STEM, Maths and English and its importance has been ignored for too long. Being creative and developing creative skills supports mental well-being and resilience during childhood, adolescence and later life and should be nurtured.

“Creative skills are proving invaluable in the business world too. An individual who has a creative outlook will be able to seek out innovative solutions and develop new ways of working. The creative industries are already vast employers in the UK – fashion, the arts, animation, product design. This sector has the potential to turbo charge employment growth and entrepreneurialism even further but to achieve this we need to empower children and young people to unleash their creativity.”

BCEP’s key objectives include identifying barriers to cultural engagement and finding mechanisms to introduce cultural offers to partners who work with disengaged and disadvantaged children and young people, encouraging and supporting schools to achieve Artsmark and increase engagement between Barnet’s cultural and creative organisations and schools, celebrating local successes and profiling positive role models for young people in Barnet.

The partnership includes Middlesex University, The Hyde Primary School, The Compton Secondary School, Mapledown SEN School and The Pavillion PRU school, the boroughs’ Schools Improvement Team, LBB Libraries and CAMHS service and London Studio Centre. It also includes cultural assets such as Artsdepot, RAF Museum, Young Barnet Foundation, Barnet Education Arts Trust, Barnet Partnership for School Sports (dance festival) and Unitas Youth Zone.

Find out more about Middlesex courses in the Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries

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