Students Staff

Arts Education

Our vibrant and varied programme offers primary school children the opportunity to explore and participate in the arts from an early age.

Schools in and around the Colchester region can contact us in order to access our programme, initiating exciting partnerships and new possibilities. Our programmes also support schools with their Artsmark journey.

  • Creative Writing Competition - now closed

    This year the University of Essex’s Arts Education Team is launching its first ever creative writing competition for primary school children in collaboration with local author James Campbell, the University’s students and academic staff.

    We hope this competition will inspire children from across Essex to get excited about reading and writing. Children are also encouraged to bring their characters to life through illustration.

    Author, James Campbell, has shared a special technique he uses when writing his stories, to help children develop their imaginations and ideas. Called the ‘Labels Technique’, James has designed a teaching resource especially for this competition which is available to download below and a video demonstrating the technique here;

    We’d love to see any drawings that have been created through this technique so please include them with the entry.

    The theme of the competition this year is...

    Let your imagination run wild

    The deadline for entries was Sunday 26 November.

    By Email

    Handwritten stories and accompanying illustrations can be scanned in and emailed to us at:

    Subject title: [Author’s Name] Creative Writing Competition Entry

    All participants are invited to attend a celebration evening at the University of Essex on Wednesday 6 December at 6:00pm. Details to follow shortly.

    Supporting resources;

    Entry Guidelines (.docx - 66.4 kb)
    Labels Technique Learning Resource (.docx - 57.5kb)
    Downloadable advertising poster (PDF - 886 kb)

    Contact Clare Ruffle,

  • Discover in a Day

    'Discover in a Day' will guide students through an exciting day full of hands-on workshops, captivating games, and opportunities to create their own pieces of art. Throughout the day the students complete their own log book, where they draw or write about their experiences and what they might like to do in the future. Each child receives an Arts Award Discover certificate, (entry level award in the arts) that sets them off on their journey through Arts Award.

    • 20 June 2018
    • 28 March 2018
    • 6 June 2018

    Contact Clare at

    "What a fantastic day. The children loved all the workshops and have been inspired (so have the staff!) Very well organised"
  • Mini Beasts

    This year we’ve designed a special project for Key Stage 1 learners to bring the world of mini-beasts to life through the arts. From making and painting to dancing and moving, the children will have enhanced understanding of intriguing insects.

    • April – July 2018

    Contact Kate at

  • Artist in school

    We'll design a bespoke project to meet your needs and collaborate with artists from a range of practices to enhance the arts provision in your school.

    • May – July 2018

    Contact Clare at

  • Teacher CPD

    Our annual teacher CPD brings together an array of experienced arts practitioners to guide teachers through a day of fun, helpful and practical arts activities that they can take straight back into class.

    Arts in the classroom

    Thursday 3 July 2018 from 9.00am-3.30pm at the University of Essex, Colchester Campus

    We are delighted to invite your school to our free annual arts CPD at the University of Essex. We have an array of experienced arts practitioners who will guide teachers and support staff through a day of fun, helpful and practical arts activities that they can take straight back into class. The day will run from 9.00am–3.30pm on Tuesday 3 July at the University of Essex, Colchester Campus

    During three practical sessions on art, music and drama and a talk delivered by Royal Opera House Bridge on Artsmark, (Arts Council England’s flagship programme for schools) you'll be given lots of useful, practical and valuable tool for enriching a school’s arts provision.

    The CPD is free to attend although booking is essential. We recommend booking early as places are limited.

    Sessions will include:

    • I can draw, we can draw! - Jane Frederick, Artist and Educator
    • In this hands-on workshop, Jane will be sharing practical and creative ideas for the classroom that encourage the playful and experimental use of the sketchbook. She will introduce practical drawing techniques and processes to empower primary learners and help them to gain confidence in their drawing skills, learning to use drawing as a means of developing cross curricular knowledge.

    • Making more of cultural music - Peter Lovell, Essex Music Education Hub
    • Explore how different cultural music can be delivered within your school curriculum and how this can be supported by cross-curricular learning, and the wider benefits this could have within your school.

    • What do the Arts Mean to Us? - James Newell, Head Teacher and Vanessa Lindsey, Senior Teacher Wix and Wrabness Primary School
    • Using drama to support Literacy - Annie Eddington, Theatre Practitioner

    Bookings can be made via our Eventbrite page. Lunch and parking is also included.

    "What a fabulous programme. Loads of useful and inspirational ideas! Fabulous networking opportunities. On a personal level - SOUL FOOD!"

Contact us

To find out more about our programme, to join our mailing list, and to find out about ways we can support your school’s Artsmark Journey, please contact the Arts Education Team at