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Leeds Curriculum

What is it?
The Culture Strategy sets an ambitious roadmap to celebrate the city’s diverse cultures and create an environment where they can thrive alongside growing the city’s international reputation for culture. This is particularly important for children and young people and how we empower them to create the cultures of our future whilst understanding, valuing and respecting those of our past.

The Leeds Curriculum is a key project for the Culture Strategy and is the first programme to grow out of the Arts Council’s Local Cultural Education Partnerships focusing on the role of arts and culture in developing the individual life chances of children and young people in Leeds. Focusing specifically on primary schools, the Leeds Curriculum offers one opportunity to redress the balance of the curriculum in schools which face increasing pressure from national policy changes to move away from arts education.

On 14 June 2018, Leeds Museums and Galleries launched the brand new, place-based Leeds Curriculum, along with the redeveloped national MyLearning.org teaching resource website. Drawing on resources, archives and stories from across more than 40 culture and arts organisations, the curriculum is a one-stop shop resource for primary school teachers featuring 50 stories about the diverse cultures of Leeds that they can use to teach any subject.

The curriculum is designed to be woven into the syllabus, using the cultural stories of our city across subjects of Maths, Science, History, English and more. Although place-based curriculums do exist elsewhere in the UK this is the first of its kind in terms of collaboration and the breadth of stories offered through the programme, which is also supported by a lending scheme utilising the Leeds Museums and Galleries extensive collection.

Kate Fellows, Lifelong Learning Manager at Leeds Museums and Galleries hopes that all primary school children in the city will be able to benefit from the Leeds Curriculum. She said: “We are really leading the way forward. So much hard work has gone into developing and designing the Leeds Curriculum from everyone involved and I’m delighted that children across the city will now have access to a wealth of resources which will help them to discover more about their home.

“Place-based curriculums, like this one, are proven to raise attainment. Arts and culture are not an added extra; they are a fundamental way of delivering curriculum goals, helping with children’s health and wellbeing and helping to create well-rounded individuals. Research has shown that children who participate in the arts are three times more likely to get a degree and three times more likely to vote when they grow up.”

The curriculum is designed to not only inform and engage children and young people in the cultures of the city but to inspire the future culture makers who will put Leeds on the map alongside these stories which include everything from a pre-historic hippo in Armley and spooky ghosts that walk the halls of Temple Newsam to Nadine Senior, an inspiring and visionary dance teacher in Harehills who founded Northern School of Contemporary Dance.

Which Leeds Culture Strategy Aims & Objectives will it deliver?

  • For people, whatever their background, to be supported to be creative through school, informal learning, training, volunteering and employment, ensuring that culture can be created and experienced by anyone.
  • Value and respect artists and creativity considering both vital to the growth and prosperity of Leeds and ensuring that they are promoted as part of our diverse economy.
  • For the city to value and prioritise cultural activity, utilising it as a means of improving the quality of life experienced by every person and every community in Leeds.

Which Leeds Culture Strategy Area of Focus does it serve?:

  • A City of Creators

Project Contacts
Kate Fellows kate.fellows@leeds.gov.uk

Further Details

Image: Art workshops and classes at The Tetley. Photo Matt Dale.