Since 2012 Arts Council England has been working with a range of cultural organisations to devise and test a set of principles to underpin high quality work by, with and for children and young people.
The seven quality principles are:
- Striving for excellence and
- Being authentic
- Being exciting, inspiring
- Ensuring a positive and
- Actively involving children
and young people
- Enabling personal
- Developing belonging and ownership
As part of A New Direction’s Bridge work for Arts Council England in London we are tasked with working collaboratively with the arts and cultural sector to test and adopt the quality principles and link to Arts Council’s overall approach to value and quality. Here at a A New Direction (AND) we believe it is important to debate the characteristics of quality, to ask ourselves what does a good quality cultural education look like and how do we best describe the value and impact of the work of the cultural sector.
At a fundamental level, the Quality Principles act as series of prompts and ways into deeper conversations within an organisation to debate and agree definitions of terms (such as authenticity and inclusivity) and what these look like in our practice.
11 of the 36 organisations who took part in the recent pilot for the Quality Principles were from London. As part of the pilot AND facilitated three peer learning sessions to unpick, explore and engage with the principles in practise. The individuals who took part in these sessions found it useful to share experiences and ways of working, and to engage in professional dialogue about the characteristics of quality.
Organisations utilised the principles in various ways:
- As part of discussions at the project conception to ensure that young people's needs and interests are paramount.
- To develop shared understandings and common aims with partners.
- As a checklist for project planning e.g. incorporating selected principles into workshop session plans.
- To inform indicators of success in an evaluation framework.
Quality Principles offer
To support deeper engagement with the Quality Principles, A New Direction are recruiting a group of 10 individuals/organisations who would like to pilot and share ways of working with the Quality Principles. This Peer Learning Group will meet together for three facilitated sessions between September 2015 and April 2016.
Organisations who wish to be part of the Peer learning group can focus on a project (that will be delivered between October 2015 and March 2016) or work at an organisational level with the Quality Principles.
The Peer learning sessions will:
- Help organisations to articulate their own characteristics of and conditions for quality and how these relate to their mission and core values.
- Debate organisational interpretations of the Quality Principles: How the ACE Quality Principles are manifest in their practice. Do the Quality Principles suggest areas for development?
- Explore how the Quality Principles can inform and support project planning, delivery and evaluation.
- Share and critique current ways that organisations monitor review and reflect on the outcomes and quality of their work.
We have capacity to work with 10 ten individuals/organisations during the autumn and spring terms. All learning will be recorded and later disseminated via the AND website as a set of Quality Principles case studies.
If you or your organisation would be interested in participating in the Quality Principles Peer learning Group please download the Expression of Interest form below and send it to email@example.com by Monday 17 August 2015.
If you are or your organisation are new to the Quality principles and are keen to begin exploring how best to use them but don't feel you have the capacity to engage in the peer learning group, we will deliver a series of six briefings and introductory sessions at A New Direction’s offices in Old Street. More information on the briefings will be available later in the summer. Please sign up for A New Direction’s newsletter for more information.
For more information on the work we have delivered to date on value, quality and impact assessment please see the following web links: