Using arts and cultural partners in your curriculum: entitlement vs enrichment

As part of the Why Creativity Matters NOW strand of the Learn Sheffield Autumn Online Festival, Jenny Coats, Create Sheffield’s Creative Education Producer and Head at Beck school, welcomed arts organisations and schools to discuss using arts and cultural partners in the curriculum: entitlement vs enrichment. Below is a little bit of information about what was shared. 


Ideas for embedding arts into the curriculum

Mary Myatt is an education adviser, writer and speaker and also the curator of Myatt and Co, a collection of thoughtful work on the curriculum and wider school improvement. Mary shared an array of resources, offering teachers and school leaders examples of how they can embed arts and culture across the curriculum. Mary’s examples followed the following principles;

  • Privilege thinking over task completion. Providing ways in which children can deepen their thinking. 
  • Give opportunities to children to master a subject area through deep thinking and exploration. 
  • Offering our children beautiful resources (over quick simplified worksheets found on some websites).

Mary also offered her thoughts on how schools might support teachers to put these principles into practice, discussing elements of the OFSTED framework, staff meetings, marking, data targets and more. 

Example resource: In the Garden by Emma Giuliani

A heritage-rich curriculum that promotes creativity

Local Historian and Teacher, Dan Eaton talked about establishing a ‘heritage-rich curriculum to enhance and promote creativity’ at Loxely Primary School. 

Dan shared how Loxley uses local historical events and people across the curriculum, using stories from the Sheffield Flood (in reading, history and music), local heroes like the WWII ‘Women of Steal’ (in history and writing), and also working with the children to look at how modern migration has both changed and benefited the UK since the second World War (in history and writing).  

Dan also talked about his work with arts partner Soundpost and using studies of folk songs, poems and riddles to learn about and celebrate local dialect. This work is used across reading, writing, history and music and importantly helped address some of the bad grammar and slang used in the children's writing. 

Example of Loxley's dialect work from Dan Eaton

Writing workshops 

Grimm & Co are a literacy charity that champions the writer in every child. They build confidence, self-esteem and skills in both workshops for schools and holiday clubs. Gemma from Grimm & Co described the wonderful multi-sensory immersive spaces they create for children to explore their imagination, writing stories in their ‘Imagination Gym’ and their ‘Writers Pad’. Grimm & Co also offer workshops for teachers, exploring their child-led philosophy and exciting creative writing approaches. Find out more about their work with schools. 


 'The Literacy Tree' Grimm & Co Programme

Cultural opportunities for disadvantaged students 

Anita and Laura from the Sheffield Museums Trust shared a couple of their school projects where they worked with artists and cultural venues to open up new opportunities for young people that wouldn't usually be able to access them. Laura also discussed the Trust’s upcoming work and ambition to support a Sheffield curriculum, using Sheffield stories, objects and local history.  

The examples given illustrate that teachers don’t necessarily have to try and find a balance between meeting the aims of the curriculum and providing exciting and engaging experiences for pupils. The speakers demonstrated very well that the arts, culture and heritage are excellent tools for learning. With training, support from arts and cultural organisations and access to brilliant resources, creativity can support both.


This online event is well worth watching in full. You can access the recording here