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Creative Education Trust schools give children of all abilities wide scope to discover what they enjoy and what they are good at. Our unique enrichment offer extends these opportunities beyond the classroom, with opportunities in dramatic and musical performance, public-speaking, debate, enterprise, and community engagement. Our growing calendar of cross-trust events and competitions brings young people together from across our schools - primary, secondary, and sixth-form.  

Creative Education Trust’s programmes expose pupils to professionals who are experts in their field, including writers, performers, STEM ambassadors, and barristers. An employability component is embedded into each of our programmes, helping to broaden the horizons and aspirations of our young people, supporting them to connect their learning and skills with life beyond the classroom. Alumni from across the Trust are a key part of many of our activities, as competition judges, speakers and providing Q&A opportunities (read more about our alumni here).

Cross-Trust enrichment activities are conceived, scheduled, and run by the Programmes team

Find out more about:

Primary school programmes and prizes

There are three annual opportunities for our youngest pupils to engage with: the Primary Art Prize; Day of Change; and the Primary Poetry Prize.

Primary Art Prize

New for 2023-24, the Primary Art Prize invites year 3 and 4 pupils to create an artwork in response to the theme 'What’s important to me?' The focus will be on using observational drawing to depict objects which represent what matters to them. Year 4 pupils in all Creative Education Trust primary schools will participate in an artist-led skills workshop coordinated by Artists in Schools

Day of Change

Year 5 pupils across our primaries develop their own ‘world changing idea’, through our enterprise competition in collaboration with 8billionideas. Following in-school heats, three finalist teams from each school attend an in-person event, where pupils present their posters, prototypes, and talk about how their idea will have a positive impact on the world!

Read our blog on the 2023 competition. 

Primary Poetry Prize

Our popular annual competition invites Year 6 pupils to learn how to recite poetry, and write odes. Following heats in schools, 20 finalists are invited to participate in a live final and record their recitation at a London recording studio.

Read our blog on the 2023 competition

Secondary school opportunities

Our cross-Trust enrichment opportunities for secondary students range from the performing arts, to STEM, to debate.

Days of Shakespeare

Our annual Shakespeare Festival, co-created with HMDT Music in 2014, invites teams from across our secondary schools to design and perform 30-minute Shakespeare productions. Every participant spends a minimum of four hours working with a theatre professional, focussing on either theatre design or voice and text in performance. In 2023 more than 275 students participated in the activity, with nearly 200 of those taking to the Abbeyfield School stage over two days in November. Read our blog on the 2023 performances here.

Cross-Trust Choir and Singing Ambassadors

Creative Education Trust's choir is coached and led by experts from Voices Foundation. There is a strong focus on vocal and choral development, with the choir working on repertoire specifically designed to stretch them. In 2022-23 this included folk songs from a number of different cultures, Seasons of Love from Rent, and Beethoven's Ode to Joy (in German). 

The Singing Ambassadors are our soloists - one particularly skilled singer from each school, chosen by music teachers to receive additional tuition. They are given classical repertoire to rehearse and sing, often in a language they do not speak, and they are expected to perform with piano accompaniment as part of the end-of-year performance.

Cross-Trust OrchestraAn image of two students playing cellos

Now in their second year, the Creative Education Trust orchestra is coached and conducted by experienced music teachers from across the Trust. Placing beginners next to more experienced musicians, for many it's a first experience of playing in an orchestra. During the four annual opportunities to rehearse together, performers are tasked with learning challenging music in a range of styles.

STEM Prize

Year 9s across our secondaries gather at the National Space Centre in Leicester for an exciting day of science, maths, and STEM challenges. With quizzes set by Pav Aujla and Craig Latimir, our Trust Subject Leads for science and maths, the day also includes a Q&A opportunity with former pupils who’ve pursued careers in STEM.

Debate Prize

Introduction to Debate classes introduce year 9s across our participating secondaries to advocacy, debate, and key public speaking skills. Each school then puts forward a team to compete in the cross-Trust competition, with all teams receiving coaching from a barrister through our partnership with the advocacy charity Kalisher Trust. All teams then take part in virtual rounds and an in-person final, which we run in collaboration with Debate Mate.

The Debate Prize is documented by a team of student photographers, mentored by professional photographer Becky Mursell. This opportunity is a valuable experience in teamwork and also represents an exceptional insight into the industry.

Read our blog on the 2023 competition

Sixth form competitions

Sixth form essay prize

Sixth form students are encouraged to submit a 1,500-word essay on a topic of their choice. All sixth formers have access to a writing workshop delivered by our programme partners the Royal Literary Fund before entering, and every entrant receives a tutorial with a professional writer before developing further drafts.

Sixth form public speaking prize

Sixth formers are invited to develop a 10-minute speech with their own interpretation of Creative Education Trust’s annual public speaking theme, which has included ‘Where are you From?’, ‘Strong and Silent’ and ‘The Future Starts Here’. Each entrant receives a 20-minute coaching session with a barrister provided by the Kalisher Trust and has the chance to hear from a professional public speaker at our event final. Previous speakers have included MPs, activists, and barristers.

Read our blog on the 2022 Sixth-form Prizes.

Through-school opportunities

Employability programme

Workbooks and lesson plans support pupils across Key Stages 3, 4 and 5 to understand their interests and what matters to them, to reflect on their options after school, to know how to demonstrate their skills and experience, and to identify ways to improve their wellbeing and resilience.

Festive card competition 

We invite pupils from primary to sixth-form to create the artwork for our annual festive card. A team of judges choose one primary and one secondary winner to represent Creative Education Trust's good wishes for the season. See the 2022 winners here.

Our Town Community ProjectThe cover of a magazine, reading 'Our Town'.

In 2021, every Creative Education Trust school was invited to bid up to £7,000 for an ongoing student-led social action project that delivers benefit to the community beyond the school, often in collaboration with community partners. The project has led to initiatives to support mental health and wellbeing, to promote allyship and equality, to tackle loneliness and social isolation, and projects to protect the environment and help address food poverty.  

In January 2023 we released a publication celebrating the community action projects of Our Town, which you can read here.

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