START at the Jerwood Gallery, Hastings – Year 1

The START programme was designed for children and young people, particularly those with least access to the arts, to enjoy quality cultural experiences, become confident in their own responses and create their own art. Five artists worked with teaching staff from 11 local schools to deliver workshops to 541 children and young people.

Two CPD sessions built teachers’ skills and confidence in working with modern art, introducing strategies to support pupils’ engagement and ideas for follow up work.

During gallery visits, children explored the collections and a temporary exhibition (Gillian Ayres: Paintings from the 50’s) developing skills of looking using storytelling, literacy skills (wow words), view finders and dramatic/movement interpretations.

Schools then expanded this into other areas of their curriculum through painting, movement, written work, video and social media.

Who was involved

  • Jerwood Gallery, with Culture Shift
  • Teachers and students from 11 schools in Hastings: Dudley Infants, Sacred Heart Primary, Castledown Primary, Red Lake Primary, Elphinstone Primary, Hastings Academy, Helenswood School, St Mary Star of the Sea RC Primary, Torfield School, Churchwood Primary and Little Ridge Primary
  • Creative practitioners Joseph Coelho, Rosemary Harris, Alex Brattell, Ed Boxall, Wendy Greenhalgh


  • To connect children and young people, currently with least opportunity to access the arts, with Jerwood Gallery, using positive role models (creative practitioners and Gallery Assistants) to raise ambition and aspirations
  • To enhance young people’s experience through critical analysis and participation, and encourage them to create their own work
  • To inspire and support teachers to use the Jerwood Collection and exhibitions in ways relevant to the curriculum that can be sustained in the future
  • To engage a multi-disciplinary group of professional artists to work with schools to support critical engagement and creative responses to the Jerwood Gallery programme


The opportunity to look at art and work with artists in the gallery has been inspiring for teachers and students.

Schools reported improvements in spatial awareness skills, story-telling, vocabulary development and written communication skills and teachers were impressed with students’ behaviour, listening to each other’s opinions and ideas concerning the artworks.

Some children have returned to visit the gallery with their families.

As a result of the CPD sessions and gallery visits, teachers feel more confident using the gallery to inspire classroom-based learning. Teachers  value having a ‘tool-box’ of activities if working in a gallery without an artist. Some schools are continuing relationships with practitioners.

A celebration weekend is planned over the long weekend of June 21-24. This is an opportunity to share work from all schools in the project with a wider public, Jerwood visitors, children and young people’s families and school colleagues.

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Through the START programme we have benefited greatly from the expert involvement of our artist. Most of our children hadn’t visited the Jerwood before and, although they had a knowledge of art through our theme weeks and curriculum, their involvement and engagement deepened greatly. The children certainly hadn’t seen so much art before and their faces have been a picture of awe and wonder. Their excitement at the visits has grown each time we have gone

Headteacher, Castledown School

It has been a truly wonderful experience watching their confidence grow and listening to them talk so maturely and sensitively about the artwork, something that has only been possible because we are in a gallery

Teacher, Helenswood School

I really enjoyed talking about the art work and having my opinions listened too


I didn’t expect to like all the abstract work but have ended up choosing one to work from, I would never have done that before coming here


I just like being in the building it makes Hastings look like a piece of art and it’s a really calm place


START is supported by the Prince’s Foundation for Children and the Arts.