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New education partnership launched to expose more Sheffield children to arts and culture

Sophie Hunter and Stephen Betts outside the Crucible, where the Sheffield Cultural Education Partnership was launched
Sophie Hunter and Stephen Betts outside the Crucible, where the Sheffield Cultural Education Partnership was launched

Children across Sheffield will get more exposure to the arts and culture in a bid to increase attainment in schools and create a workforce fit for the modern world thanks to a new partnership in the city.

Create Sheffield - Adventures in Cultural Education will bring together organisations from the education, arts, culture and voluntary sectors to ensure that every children and young person, up to the age of 25, in the city will experience and participate in arts and culture.

Sophie Hunter gives a speech at the Crucible about the Sheffield Cultural Education Partnership

Sophie Hunter gives a speech at the Crucible about the Sheffield Cultural Education Partnership

Those behind the new partnership believe being exposed to the arts and culture will help children achieve better in school and learn vital skills to gain creative jobs.

They said that subjects such as music and art are being squeezed out by schools who are pressured to reach Sats targets and climb league tables.

Headteachers, teachers and representatives from organisations across the city descended on the Crucible to hear more about the partnership on Friday.

Stephen Betts, the chief executive of Learn Sheffield, which is part of the partnership's steering group, said: "This is about overcoming the barriers that exist and about being pro-active and improving the quality of life and educational and employability outcomes.

Dave Herbert gives a session at the Crucible about the Sheffield Cultural Education Partnership

Dave Herbert gives a session at the Crucible about the Sheffield Cultural Education Partnership

"We are trying to do something strategic and make a significant impact to the children in our city."

Create Sheffield has two main proposals - to create a list of all the experiences that children and young people could do in Sheffield and become a platform for the development of learning resources, opportunities and fun, and create an initiative that focuses on developing young makers.

Sophie Hunter, a spokesman for Create Sheffield, said the project started 18 months ago and has been developing partnerships with organisations and consulting with youngsters.

"The idea is that we find a way to take arts, culture, heritage organsations, from gaming manfacturers to ballet, and that everyone finds a way of engaging with children and young people," she said.

"We know there is a lot of young people that get it and there is also an awful lot that don't get anywhere near it."

Other opportunities it will offer include enabling youngsters to learn about creative careers, enabling parents to access the arts with their children and seeking support from schools to gain Artsmark, a creative quality standard for schools, accredited by Arts Council England.

Pete Massey, director of the Northern Economy and Partnerships for Arts Council England, said that the introduction of the EBacc school performance measure, which looks at what youngsters achieve in their GCSE's in core subjects such as English, maths, science and languages, has seen the reduction of creative and arts subjects in schools, particularly in deprived areas.

He said art was a way of allowing youngsters to create perspectives and understand empathy, which in turn gives them the skills to become more civilised.

"If there was a time in our history that a more civil society was required and the tools to create one, it's now," he added.

Vice-chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University, Chris Husbands, said that engaging in arts, culture and creativity is important because it drives high attainment and creates a workforce fit for an ever-changing world.

Membership for the partnership will begin in September.

Members will be asked to pay between £125 and £5,000 per year, depending on their turnover and size of the organisation or school, to enable to partnership to continue and develop.