Children & the Arts make a great Start

Children & the Arts make a great Start

Picture of Annabel Thomas

BY: Annabel Thomas
26 Mar 2018

On the blog today, we are sharing an update on a very exciting partnership we first blogged about last year. We have been working with Children & the Arts to embed Arts Award into their Start programme, and reach thousands of children and young people who otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity to access the arts. Read on to find out how it’s been going…

In the 2016/2017 academic year, Children & the Arts partnered with Arts Award to support the young people in schools and arts organisations they work with through their Start programme to achieve Arts Award. Now, a year on, we take a look back at a partnership which is consistently growing.CA Primary Logo on white cmyk.jpg

Start is a grant-giving programme set up by Children & the Arts to enable school children to experience the very best of the arts by introducing them to a local cultural organisation. The 3-year programme is targeted to reach areas where young people need this inspiration the most. At the heart of the Start programme is the desire to make cultural organisations accessible for a new generation.

For Start partners in the 2016-2019 programme cycle, the 2016/17 academic year marked the beginning of a new partnership with Arts Award. With new Partnership Investments in place with two ACE Bridge Organisations (Artswork in the South East and The Mighty Creatives in the East Midlands), five Start partners trialled an integrated Arts Award as part of Start for the first time. Arts Award and Children & the Arts worked together to map how Start activities can work directly towards achieving Arts Award Discover and Explore, as well as Bronze Arts Awards for older students. This pilot year yielded some exciting results, and proved the value of linking the two programmes for schools and cultural organisations alike.Children & the Arts. Start with Attenborough Arts Centre. Autumn 2017. img26.jpg

By July 2017:

  • Over 1,000 young people achieved an Arts Award as part of their Start project
  • 12 teachers were trained as Arts Award Advisers in the South East and East Midlands through the Start programme

In the 2017/18 academic year, with new Partnership Investments in place with 4 more Bridge Organisations (Curious Minds in the North West, IVE in Yorkshire, and Festival Bridge and Royal Opera House Bridge in the East) a total of 19 Start programmes will be supporting Arts Award.

As of January 2018:

  • Over 2,500 young people are on track to get an Arts Award as a direct result of taking part in Start by July 2018
  • 74 additional Start teachers have been trained as Arts Award Advisers

Start in 2017-18 has seen children and young people visit gallery exhibits, professional dance shows and theatre productions. They’ve interviewed artists and performers; learned about a dance style; written a review of a piece of theatre; attended workshops led by professional artists and practitioners. They have even displayed their own artworks in a professional gallery. The Start programme is inspiring young people throughout the UK and we are delighted that participants are now supported to gain accreditation that recognises their hard work.Children & the Arts. Start with Balbir Singh Dance Company in Rotherham. Photo by Marcin Sz. 043.jpg

With 5 more partners set to begin their 3-year Start projects in the 2018/2019 academic year due to Partnership Investments with two more Bridge Organisations (Arts Connect in the West Midlands and Culture Bridge North East) we look forward to seeing these numbers grow and grow!

For more information on the Start programme and the work of Children & the Arts, visit

Read more about our other partners at If you would be interested in exploring a partnership with Arts Award contact

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