Creative way to learn

A group of youngsters from the North are being immersed in culture for a year to see if it improves their test scores across the curriculum.

A group of youngsters from the North are being immersed in culture for a year to see if it improves their test scores across the curriculum.

The 30 children from three schools in Northumberland have already had a backstage visit to the Northern Stage theatre in Newcastle and a special workshop in the Brazilian martial art capoeira as part of the Young Creatives scheme.

And tomorrow they will go to The Sage Gateshead for training in singing from voice coaches Carrie and David Grant, best known for their work on the BBC's Fame Academy.

The project will see the end-of-year results of the Year Nine children from Prudhoe High School, Astley High in Seaton Delaval and St Benet Biscop High in Bedlington compared to classmates not involved in the project to see what effect the exposure to creativity has.

The project is part of the Creatives Partnership scheme, which was yesterday hailed by Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell as a great success.

Philippa Raper, who is leading the Young Creatives project, said: "The idea is that the children will be measured against others from their year group who haven't been to the same workshops.

"We'll look at their SATs and also see if they're more confident and self-assured.

"We'll be looking at other subjects, not just the creative ones, because we think this can have benefits right across the curriculum."

Creative Partnerships is a £150m Government programme that began in 2002 to improve the creativity of young people, raise their aspirations and increase teachers' skills in artistic subjects.

It has four schemes in the North-East - Northumberland, North and South Tyneside, Durham and Sunderland, and the Tees Valley - and yesterday announced a partnership with The Sage Gateshead to offer music training around the country.

Speaking at a national Creative Partnerships conference yesterday, Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell said: "Creative Partnerships works. Headteachers, Ofsted and academic research bodies agree: involvement in the CP programme helps build skills for the new creative industries of the 21st century, develops personal and social skills and boosts literacy, numeracy and ICT skills.

"But we also know that for us to compete internationally, we need to give young people the chance to develop their creative abilities too. We know the CP Programme is a really effective way of reaching those in deprived areas who would normally be most likely to be passed by."

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