Pioneering proposals for new cultural offer for Newham's young people given green light

​​A new cultural offer for Newham’s young people involving world renowned institutions and with more opportunities to showcase talent has been given the go ahead by Newham Council.

Music lessons, song-writing workshops, cutting edge recording technology and opportunities to perform live at leading venues are some of the elements which could be at the heart of the new pilot offer for young people in Newham schools.

A report setting out proposals to introduce the new offer from September 2019 was approved by the Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz and her Cabinet on Tuesday 4 June.

The Mayor’s aspiration is for every child and young person in Newham to have the opportunity to discover and develop their talents, to achieve personal growth and excellence and have access to a rich variety of cultural and creative experiences. The cultural offer will continue to be shaped by the views of young people and schools.

From 2022, several of the world’s leading arts and cultural institutions will begin moving into Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the Mayor intends to incorporate the opportunities these organisations can provide into the council’s new offer cementing Newham Council as a beacon for cultural enrichment across London.

Delivery of the offer will be in two phases. Phase one will be a pilot offer during the 2019/2020 academic year. The grant based system will give schools the chance to develop their own programme and road-test music enrichment projects, including:

  • Primary and secondary schools working together to support learning of music into adulthood and helping children move from primary to secondary school. 
  • Music activities, during, before and after school and weekends, including music technology and song-writing workshops and access to recording studios
  • Performance opportunities in Newham and beyond, including the Royal Albert Hall’s Music for Youth Proms.

The pilot will be in addition and enhance music teaching programmes which will continue in schools as part of statutory music education.

Phase two will be the implementation of the new cultural enrichment offer from September 2020. This will be developed through the pilot year using feedback as the offer progresses.

In addition to this, over the summer months, a programme of more events, entertainment and enrichment opportunities will be spread across the borough shaped by the borough’s cultural strategy.

The Newham Show, the council’s annual community festival which brings residents together, will evolve to become an event showcasing the borough’s cultural and creative talent as well as offering a fun, family friendly weekend. The borough’s Youth Zones and Youth Movements are already involved in programming the main stage so the diversity of local talent can shine. There will also be a youth studio offering DJ and music production workshops throughout the weekend.

Since February this year, the council has engaged with a range of stakeholders including children and young people and schools to support the design of the new enrichment offer. Engagement has also taken place with local partners including Stratford Circus, Stratford Theatre Royal and East London Dance and national partners such as the Royal Shakespeare Company and Living Song CIC.

The new cultural enrichment offer follows on from consultation launched at the end of last year with young people, parents, schools and other stakeholders to help decide how to best direct vital resources within the children and young people’s budget to provide the best offer for its young people.

Based on this consultation, research evidence, feedback from schools, costs and value for money, a Cabinet decision was made in February to end the current Every Child programme. Research evidence, feedback from schools (and a working group including Head teachers) indicated that although a large number of children received   group music tuition, the largest part of the £2.5m budget, there was no evidence of the outcomes it was achieving. The council also believed it did not deliver best value for money or meet the council’s cultural and creative aspirations for our young people. At the same February Cabinet meeting, the go ahead was given to design a cultural enrichment offer for children and young people. This new offer, designed after consultation with head teachers and young people, will allow a wider range of cultural enrichment opportunities to flourish and be better value for money.

As part of the grants programme, support will be provided for those schools which need it following the withdrawal of the Every Child a Musician programme.

The highly valued scheme which provides free theatre tickets for year six and secondary school pupils will continue as well opportunities for primary school pupils to learn to play chess as they appear to be better value for money and to deliver significant benefits to young people.

Councillor Julianne Marriott, Cabinet Member for Education said: “We want every young person in Newham to discover and develop their talent. It’s an exciting time with new cultural institutions moving into the borough. We want to work with them and existing partners to really put Newham on the map for cultural engagement. I’m looking forward to seeing what opportunities our schools and partners, working with young people, come up with under our new offer.”

Published: 06 Jun 2019