Primary and secondary schools in Wales are being funded to take part in the ‘Lead Creative Schools Scheme’, a key pillar of the extensive five-year plan to embed the arts and creativity into the Welsh curriculum.

Child art rainbow

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£20m in grants will go to 131 Welsh schools as part of the ‘Lead Creative Schools Scheme’, an essential element of ‘Creative Learning through the Arts – an action plan for Wales'. The scheme – a joint Arts Council of Wales and Welsh Government initiative – intends to bring creative professionals into schools “as catalysts of change” to address the “particular learning challenges” that they face.

A pool of 60 selected and trained Creative Agents will be assigned to one or more schools to help them develop their creativity. Schools will then use the majority of their grant to pay for Creative Practitioners, who will work alongside the school staff to help deliver projects. £10m of the funding has come from Lottery from the Arts Council of Wales; £10m has come from the Welsh Government.

Diane Hebb, Director of Engagement and Participation at Arts Council of Wales, explained that the Lead Creative School scheme intends to complement and support schools’ current programme of work: “It’s about nurturing and developing the creativity of learners so that they achieve their potential, grow as well rounded individuals and are prepared with skills for life...”

The scheme comes after a complete overhaul of arts education in Wales, prompted by recent research which found that pupil motivation, behaviour and educational attainment are improved when the arts are embedded across the curriculum. Educational success in Wales is now to be measured against four key ‘purposes’ of education -- asking whether students are ambitious, capable learners; enterprising, creative contributors; ethical, informed citizens; and healthy, confident individuals. Arts Council of Wales’ Chief Executive, Nick Capaldi, described the changes as: “The clearest possible endorsement of the value of putting arts and creativity at the heart of the curriculum.”

Minister for Education and Skills Huw Lewis AM has also endorsed the scheme: “These grants are part of our work to ensure that all children, particularly those from less well-off backgrounds, have greater access to high quality arts and creative experiences during their time at school and in doing so support improvements in motivation, behaviour and attainment amongst our young people.”

A full list of the participating schools can be found here.