It is a week before the deadline for expressions of interest from schools who would like to be our Partner School next academic year. Having spent ten years working with Creative Partnerships in a wide range of schools we were upset that the scrapping of this initiative may mean our accumulated skills and experience would be lost. We persuaded the Arts Council to promise us a sum of money in each of the next three years to deliver one outstanding education project per year.
We evaluated all our previous experiences in schools to identify the characteristics of a truly successful project. High amongst these was continuity, the sense that we had become part of the school’s life. We also need to feel useful, not a luxury but a tool for delivering the school’s priorities. We have enjoyed big spectacular events that have boosted a schools profile and confidence but we have also been deeply rewarded by almost invisible initiatives which we know have helped teachers in classrooms find new ways of teaching things they previously found difficult to address. From these considerations we formulated a plan for approaching our Arts Council Funded projects.
We are searching for a school that would welcome Stan’s Cafe into its life, that would be prepared to talk to us openly about its ambitions and collaborate with us on helping them deliver these ambitions. We are looking for a school with the imagination to see beyond the fact that we could help them deliver a great school play and realise that we could be a resource across the school throughout the year in ways they can’t currently envisage.
We will bring money for our own time. The school will need to find budget for any materials that may be required – what these will be will obviously emerge through the year, so we will happily work to budgets. We will being experience and imagination and a commitment to listen and collaborate. The school will need to commit to making the process and outstanding success from the highest level.
There’s a week left to express an interest and as no one ever puts an application more than minutes before any deadline it’s difficult this far out to gauge who is going to come forward.