In January 2004 the Directors of the Creative Partnership Programmes for London East and London South commissioned Arts Inform to design, manage and evaluate an arts and cultural mentoring programme for teachers in the CP schools in their zones.
40 schools mentored by 36 arts organisations
The pilot programme ran from autumn 2003 to June 2004 and a second year of the mentoring programme ran in 2004/05. Overall 40 primary, secondary and special schools took part in the first year and the teachers were mentored by employees from 36 arts organisations across theatre, film, craft, libraries, visual arts, opera, poetry, architecture and music.
Two models: Individual pairing and group mentoring
Two models were explored. In the first model, individual teachers identified specific areas where they felt they would value support and were paired with an individual mentors whose skills and expertise matched that need. Each pair established a specific task that the teacher would be undertaking over the academic year and this task then provided the basis for the mentoring relationship. The mentee and mentor met several times over the year to discuss how the task was progressing. In the second model groups of between twelve and fifteen teachers and arts professionals worked collectively around two specific topics – use of the moving image in schools and introduction of the built environment into the curriculum.
Programme taken forward by Creative Industries
The mentoring programmes were highly successful and both teachers and arts professionals felt that the relationship enabled them to develop professionally and learn more about each other’s ways of working. After 2005 the mentoring programme was further developed by Creative Partnerships nationally and taken forward as the Reflect co-mentoring programme.
“The relationship has enabled me to grow as a school leaders; I have gained skills in fundraising that will help me with my future work” Teacher
"It has been a real privilege to work with my mentor; she is insightful, enthusiastic and gets me thinking in new ways” Teacher
“It brought me closer to an understanding of the value of teachers and the many skills/resources they draw on in their day-to-day work” Mentor
“Through talking and listening, a dialogue and a way of communicating between both sectors has been established. … this can only be a positive move for more effective collaboration and partnership practice between the two sectors”. Creative Partnerships Director