Sharing Camden Practice

Creative learning walks in schools

Key Points

  • Schools share expertise in creative and cultural provision
  • Insight gained into how schools incorporate cultural learning within the school environment
  • Cultural Partners better understand how they can collaborate with schools and add value


What were your reasons for doing this development work?

As part of the development of learning exchange opportunities for school and cultural partners in the Camden Cultural Commissioning Model, we wanted to facilitate better access to schools with a commitment to high standards of arts and cultural provision in order to:

  • Enable cultural partners to gain insight and understanding of school facilities and resources
  • Share best practice around incorporating creativity into curricula
  • Support successful collaborations between the education and cultural sectors

Learning walks focus on how schools incorporate creative and cultural activities across the curriculum.

Who were the identified target learners?

Ultimately, pupils in schools collaborating with cultural organisations.

What were your success criteria?

  • Participants wee positive about the value of the Learning Walks.
  • Participants reported gaining new knowledge and making new connections.

What did you do? (What success criteria did you use?)

Learning walks were developed as an opportunity for school and cultural organisations in the Camden Cultural Commissioning Model to exchange ideas, open up access to the school environment and share best practice.  Through learning walks, schools with a commitment to high standards of arts and cultural provision have been able to share their expertise and best practice with school and cultural partners, facilitating school on school learning as well as knowledge exchange between the education and cultural sectors.

In the 2013/14 academic year, two learning walks were delivered in Swiss Cottage School and Torriano Junior School.  Thirteen partners attended the first 2 learning walk sessions.

Two further walks took place 2014/15 at Swiss Cottaqe School, and Gospel Oak School.

The process:

  1. Partner schools, creative organisations and local authority officers are invited to attend a Learning Walk at a school.
  2. The focus of the learning walks is on cultural provision within the school environment – as determined by the host school. Learning walks are very informal and friendly opportunities for schools to open their doors and share with other school and cultural partners.
  3. Learning Walk sessions are booked in 2 hour slots, for 5-10 participants.

Sessions include:

  1. Introduction to the school’s priorities and an overview of the school’s approach to arts and cultural engagement
  2. Tours of classrooms and facilities including discussions with teachers and students
  3. Q&A session

What specific teaching resources did you use?

  • Time:  the school arranges time for visit and partners are invited.
  • Teacher(s) available to welcome visitors, provide introduction to school, lead walk around facilities, and answer questions.
  • Students and Teacher(s) are available for visitors to speak with during walk / visit to classrooms and facilities.

Outcomes and Impact

What has been the impact on pupil learning and teaching?

A total of nine cultural partners, two school partners and one local authority partner participated in the two walks.  Participants were enthusiastic about the value of the learning walks as a way of sharing knowledge and best practices and the connections they were able to take away from the sessions.

The impact on pupil learning is a long-term aim.

Evidence of impact on pupil learning and teaching/leadership

Comments include the following:

“I found it most inspiring to learn how adventurous and critically engaged the school is about high quality learning and educational rights.”

“Seeing the displays and hearing about what has taken place was inspiring, as were the very engaging children.”

“Seeing the students at work in their classrooms  was very useful as it gave me a context for what they are used to when they visit the Museum and what I can provide which is the same and what I can offer which forms a contrast to their classroom learning.”

Will be evidenced in other case studies of the Cultural Commissioning Model (see Related case studies)