Case studies and the impact of cultural education



In August 2017 the Liverpool Learning Partnership commissioned MetaValue, an independent research company, to evaluate the Liverpool Cultural Education Partnership. Between September 2017 and March 2018, Chris Hayes from MetaValue analysed data and gathered information and opinions from a wide range of people who have been involved in the partnership from March 2016 onwards.

You can read the full report here: Liverpool Cultural Education Partnership: an evaluation of the partnership’s early impact, March 2018. It includes six case studies about cultural education partnerships and programmes (pages 28-38) and there are more case studies telling the story of LCEP-supported cultural education partnerships a little bit further down this page.

Those consulted for the evaluation include representatives from the education and cultural sectors, the local authority, and Arts Council England. The report evaluates early impacts (pages 15-19); describes the work of the partnership’s three task teams (pages 20-22); and outlines recommendations for strengthening the partnership, including an evaluation framework for April 2018-March 2020 (page 23 -27).



Since January 2017 the Liverpool Cultural Education Partnership has been supporting young people to gain high quality experiences of art and culture that supports their education and learning.

We worked with Shaping Futures over the 2017-18 academic year to raise the awareness of young people and careers advisors about skills needed by business, industry & the growing creative and digital sectors. This was a free programme for schools that brought students ‘behind the scenes’ of cultural & creative organisations and into contact with Higher Education Institution representatives. Shaping Futures paid all transport costs.

We also funded some programmes to help schools develop new curriculum activity and resources with arts and cultural education partners. These linked to priorities that schools themselves had identified: Personal, Social and Health Education; Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural Education; and the challenge of supporting children through transition from Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 3 (primary to secondary). Schools worked with a diverse range of arts and cultural partners and linked learning to many different curriculum subjects, including music, history, geography, science and literacy.

Here are the stories of some of these initiatives:

1. Academy of St Francis of Assisi with Handstand Films

The LCEP supported Handstand Productions to work with students to gain knowledge of jobs within Handstand Productions and skills needed and they created this film to tell their story: A Day at Handstand Productions

Handstand Productions was one of ten local cultural organisations to work with a school in the Liverpool City Region as part of the LCEP ‘Creative Futures Merseyside’ programme. This was a collaboration with Shaping Futures throughout the 2017-18 academic year to develop young people’s awareness of skills needed by business, industry & the growing creative and digital sectors and how participation in art and culture helps develop these.

Outcomes for the students working with Handstand Films included:

  • Learn new skills that students could transfer across subjects and sectors (communication, filming, workshop planning, choreography, presentation, leadership, creative planning, etc);
  • Increase confidence and aspirations about career and Higher Education pathways.


2. Academy of St Francis of Assisi with Brouhaha Carnival – CARNIVAL PERFORMANCE SKILLS

Academy of St Francis of Assisi – ‘Carnival Performance Skills’ Case Study 2018 – within this case study you can link to some of the films of students’ experiences.

With Brouhaha at the Liverpool International Music Festival
With Brouhaha at the Liverpool International Music Festival

3. Broughton Hall School with Sense of Sound and professional musicians (including a vocalist, cellist, drummer/guitarist and saxophonist) – MUSIC MENTORS INITIATIVE

Broughton Hall ‘Music Mentors’ Case Study 2018

Broughton Hall Music Mentors – Schedule 2017-18

Broughton Hall Event PowerPoint INTRO

Broughton Hall Event PowerPoint NAMESBroughton Hall Music Mentors – Costings & Contacts


The Music Mentors - Paul Leonard (saxophone); Hilary Browning, cellist; James Dodd, drums/guitar; and Jennifer John, Sense of Sound, vocalist.
The Music Mentors – Paul Leonard (saxophone); Hilary Browning, cellist; James Dodd, drums/guitar; and Jennifer John, Sense of Sound, vocalist.
Woodwind workshop - rehearsing with Paul Leonard
Woodwind workshop – rehearsing with Paul Leonard


 4. De La Salle Academy with Resonate Music Hub – REACH OUT & PARTICIPATE

The De La Salle Academy ‘Reach out and participate’ case study 2018

Film to follow.


5. Leamington Primary with FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) – SUPERPOWERS & WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY

Leamington Primary ‘Superpowers & Wearable Technology’ Case Study 2018

Leamington Local Hero Learning Resource 2018; Leamington Primary ‘Superheroes & Wearable Technology’ Photo Diary 2018

Leamington Primary ‘Superpowers & Wearable Technology’ Case Study 2018


Leamington pupils wearing technology in the classroom with FACT
Leamington pupils wearing technology in the classroom with FACT

6. North Liverpool Academy with National Museums Liverpool – CELEBRATING DIVERSITY

North Liverpool Academy ‘Celebrating Diversity’ Case Study 2018

NLA Celebrating Diversity Projects – Mapping Document

NLA Celebrating Diversity Projects – Teacher Planning Overview


Celebrating Liverpool's incredible diversity
Celebrating Liverpool’s incredible diversity

You can find more information and images here:


7. Windsor Community Primary and St Patricks Catholic Primary schools with The Unity Theatre – WORKING WITH UNITY

Windsor & St Patrick’s primary & Unity Theatre ‘Working With Unity’ Case Study 2018

Curriculum Resource Pack Windsor Cp St Patricks and Unity Theatre – Final

Windsor Primary curriculum map


8. Holy Trinity Catholic Primary School with Liverpool Everyman Theatre, Garston Historical Society and Hilary Keating ‘Wild About Words’ – CITIZENSHIP, BRITISH VALUES & OUR COMMUNITY

The cultural education initiative developed by Holy Trinity was recognised in its Ofsted report of January 2018, rating the school as ‘Good’: ‘Leaders have established plentiful links with external providers [including the Liverpool Everyman Theatre] to enhance the curriculum further. The Garston local history project…helps pupils to understand the history and culture of their local area. Pupils whose families have moved into the area from across the world have found this particularly useful. Pupils have created a high-quality resource that is going to be of value to the community for the forseeable future.’

Holy Trinity ‘Citizenship, British values & our community’ Case Study 2018

Holy Trinity Primary planning framework.docx

‘Wild About Words’ – British Values.docx


9. Sandfield Park & Bank View High with DaDaFest and Collective Encounters theatre company – CHAMPIONS CREW

Sandfield Park & Bank View ‘Champions Crew’ – Case Study 2018

The Champions Crew Video 1 – United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child:

The Champions Crew Video 2 – Accessible Menu:


10. Kings Leadership Academy & 20 Stories High theatre company – SELF-ESTEEM THROUGH SPOKEN WORD

Both based in Liverpool 8, Kings Leadership Academy and 20 Stories High worked with students to explore the themes of identity and belonging. Young people wrote and performed their own original spoken word poetry in response. This film captures their experience:  Everyone has a story to tell

Young people went on to develop their performance for the NOW Festival 2019 and won – they were recognised for the strength of their own independent leadership, production and creative skills.

Kings Leadership Academy ‘Self-esteem through spoken word’ – Case study 2018


11. Notre Dame Catholic College with St Julie’s Catholic High School, Cardinal Heenan Catholic High School, Broughton Hall Catholic High School and West Derby Comprehensive

The Head of Music at Notre Dame Catholic College, John McHugh, led a programme with the drama department at Notre Dame and four other secondary schools, a practitioner at the Everyman and musicians from the Liverpool Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. This culminated in a performance by the young people at the Everyman Theatre on 6 November 2017. The young people derived their performances from the testimonies of people living with dementia captured on film and accompanied by the musicians playing music live, composed by John McHugh.

Hidden Voice performance:

Schools performance at the Everyman:

The following document was used as background information and inspiration for teachers and students in each school:

Hidden Voice Booklet



Over the years there have been many studies on how art and culture benefits individuals, communities and society as a whole. It is impossible to quote them all here but it might be useful to look at a few retrospective examples of impact – you can find some examples below.

It’s also important to keep evaluating our art and cultural education practice. This guide, published by the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) on 14 February 2019, might help: The Cultural Learning Evidence Champion’s Handbook. It is designed to help you understand what we call the ‘evidence agenda’ in arts and cultural learning. It states:

‘Using evidence of how others have made a difference and evaluating our own impact can help the whole sector improve, making arts and cultural learning stronger and more sustainable. Throughout the guide we talk about the attitudes, the approaches and the key skills of an Evidence Champion. There’s also advice on the things you can do right now with the teachers, arts and cultural educators, funders and evaluators you collaborate with to make arts and cultural learning more evidence-rich.’

The impact of art and culture is notoriously difficult to evaluate using rigorous, quantitative measurements and randomised control trials. These often fail to capture the shifts and changes in children’s and young people’s behaviour, engagement, confidence, thinking, learning and well-being as a result of quality cultural education. Also, when children and young people experience lots of different projects, activities, interventions and support simultaneously, it is very difficult to pin down what exactly has been the cause of any change or improvement in their lives.

What has been proven is that only a ‘quality arts-rich education’ that is a ‘valuable provision’ can lead to positive outcomes for children and young people (The Wow Factor: Global research compendium on the impact of the arts in education, Anne Bamford, 2006).

The Arts Council has developed the following set of seven ‘Quality Principles’ ( to help people in education plan and deliver art and cultural education that meets high standards:

  • Striving for excellence and innovation
  • Being authentic
  • Being exciting, inspiring and engaging
  • Ensuring a positive and inclusive experience
  • Actively involving children and young people
  • Enabling personal progression
  • Developing belonging and ownership

These principles are embedded in the Artsmark planning process, so that everyone involved can consider how they are meeting children’s and young people’s needs and putting them at the centre of any programme being developed.

For in-depth research about the impact of art and culture on people’s lives, including through education, go to:

For specific research about the impact of art and culture on children’s and young people’s educational outcomes, as well as on their active participation in society, go to:

The ‘Cultural Learning Alliance’ is a collective of voices from across the nation, working to ensure that all children and young people have meaningful access to culture. It has gathered together findings from a diverse range of research and evaluation that show the impact of art and culture on children’s and young people’s educational outcomes. The evidence is drawn from cohort studies with large sample sizes (typically 12,000) and research with control groups that emphatically indicate that it is cultural learning that has delivered the outcomes.

The five key research findings are:

  1. Learning through arts and culture improves attainment in all subjects, specifically: taking part in drama and library activities improves attainment in literacy; taking part in structured music activities improves attainment in maths, early language acquisition and early literacy.
  2. Schools that integrate arts across the curriculum in America have shown consistently higher average reading and mathematics scores compared to similar schools that do not.
  3. Participation in structured arts activities increases cognitive abilities.
  4. Students from low income families who take part in arts activities at school are three times more likely to get a degree.
  5. Students who study arts subjects are more employable.
  6. Students who study arts subjects are more likely to stay in employment.
  7. Students who engage in the arts at school are twice as likely to volunteer and are 20% more likely to vote as young adults


  1. Liverpool Curriculum and Culture case study 2014 – Liverpool Curriculum and Culture Project 2014

Officers from School Improvement Liverpool worked with 15 schools and Curious Minds to explore the new History & Geography curriculum in 2014. They developed Schemes of Work that schools could use to link history and geography topics to activities and resources offered by cultural organisations in the local area. Schools reported the ‘local relevance’ of their new curriculum, developed with a wide range of cultural partners, and reported on the benefits to staff and children.

2. Artsmark school case studies

3. Specialist Leaders in Cultural Education (SLiCE) case studies

Following the recommendation of Darren Henley is his 2012 report Cultural Education in England Curious Minds has developed a team of ‘Specialist Leaders in Cultural Education’ or ‘SLiCEs’ within the North West education sector. SLiCEs work with schools within Teaching School Alliances to develop new cultural education partnerships and programmes and research the impact these have on teaching and learning. The following links lead to one written and one visual case study, capturing the main findings of Cultural Leaders in two North West schools:

‘How does cultural education impact on the academic attainment of Year 10 Pupil Premium Learners?’  –;

‘In which ways do different CPD models best support the development of leadership skills in an arts subject?’ –– this film also gives an insight into how the SLiCE programme works.

The SLiCE initiative gives leaders in both the education and the cultural sector the opportunity to explore each others’ practice and pedagogies. It therefore has an impact on the professional development of colleagues in both:

‘Working with Studio School through this SLICE fellowship partnership has meant that this year’s Liverpool Biennial 2016
festival has had an even deeper engagement with young people as part of our Children’s Episode, where we see artists
making work with children and for children. Through this partnership we are delighted that young people have worked
in collaboration with leading international contemporary artists in the development and delivery of large scale
commissions.’ Sally Tallant, Director, Liverpool Biennial

Does your school or arts organisation have a story or case study you’d like to share with others, to show the impact of the arts on educational outcomes? If so, please contact