You Said, We Did

We surveyed Southampton Cultural Education Partnership (SCEP) members in the spring of 2023 about the future of the SCEP. Key things you said you valued about the SCEP were:

  • The generosity of spirit SCEP engenders and how egalitarian our spaces feel
  • How our meetings increase your understanding of the cultural sector in Southampton and new policies and strategies
  • That our work improves your practice through sharing approaches, projects and training
  • Developing your networks which feeds into new projects and work
  • That we extend the reach of the cultural sector into other areas in the city e.g. Youth and Health services

You said you liked the meetings being a mix of online and in person, and that the SCEP newsletter was useful for finding out about new funding and activities, although you asked for bullet points at the top of each newsletter on its contents.

We also asked about your priorities and the areas you felt the SCEP should focus on. You told us children’s health and wellbeing was a key concern, how young people’s employability skills were supported, and how we ensure that it was easy for children in Southampton to know what was on offer and access arts and culture. As a result the SCEP Steering Group agreed our three strategic aims which are:

  • Increasing Health & Wellbeing for children and young people through arts engagement
  • Pathways & Progression: testing out new approaches to conserve capacity and resources including referrals processes
  • Building a workforce for the future: providing inclusive training and skills development opportunities for young people and the cultural sector

Over the past year, as well as concentrating on how the SCEP delivers our strategic aims, we have focused on delivering the things you value about the SCEP. We have:

  • Set up termly member meetings that are online (October 2023) and in person (February 2024)
  • Planned in extra time to in-person meetings for networking
  • Added a section to meetings for members to present emerging practice
  • Added bullet points to the top of our newsletters

We look forward to continuing our work with you to nurture creative and cultural education for all children and young people in the City over the next year.

Creative Health and the Role of Arts Organisations in Health and Wellbeing

By Rosanna Sloan

Rosanna is the Interim CEO at The Arts Development Company and the SCEP Steering Group lead for Health and Wellbeing.

Creative Health is the practice of using culture and creativity to improve people’s health, wellbeing, and quality of life. You may have heard of dance classes for those with Parkinson’s disease or music therapy for dementia patients, but Creative Health supports people of all ages. Many cultural projects for children and young people have direct or indirect benefits to their health and wellbeing, and so, you may be working in Creative Health without even realising.

“When we remember the WHO definition of health, which states that health is more than merely the absence of disease and infirmity, but the attainment of the highest level of physical, mental and social well-being, then the value of the arts becomes apparent.”

WHO Arts & Health Lead, Christopher Bailey

We are currently facing a mental health crisis for children and young people.

It is a sobering statistic that there is a 50% increase in the likelihood of a young person having a mental health problem. 50%. The effects of the pandemic, exam pressure, social media and so on are having a tangible impact on the wellbeing of young people. It is concerning that 34% of young people who get referred to the NHS for treatment are not accepted. Our health facilities are struggling, and this is where the arts can help.

Social Prescribing

Social prescribing is when an activity or service is ‘prescribed’ instead of, or in addition to, medication. It is an area that needs further demystifying for arts organisations. There are, in some areas, dedicated Social Prescriber or Link Worker roles that prescribe activity to support a patient’s recovery.

“Our measures should reflect this holistic approach, focusing not solely on reduction of symptoms but on how the arts may help us cope, achieve our potential, be productive, and active members of a community.”

WHO Arts & Health Lead, Christopher Bailey

What I am seeing as I delve further into the research and on the ground delivery of Creative Health, is that these two distinct sectors need a translator to bridge the communication void between them. The two sectors use different terminology and the funding systems behind creative health from the healthcare sector are not clear. However, there are organisations that are trying to support this, including the organisation I work for The Arts Development Company.

Creative Health is—as demonstrated across many research papers—a highly successful and cost-effective way to improve a person’s health. It allows people to live happier, longer, more fulfilled lives, which in turn reduces strain on healthcare services. And so, it is an area that more arts organisations need to tap into.

What can we do?

As arts budgets are being reduced, we need to tap into the funding streams for Creative Health and identify projects that deliver health benefits for its participants. In our SCEP newsletters, we already see many examples of our members working in this area, but how can more of us get involved?

“We know that time is an important factor in establishing good programmes, so we must work together as a sector to ensure our services have longevity.”

We need to read up and be engaged in the conversations and research papers around Creative Health. We need to find a way to collaborate with health services and each other to create multi-year projects that are effective and provide stability for those that need them. Too often, wonderful projects happen, they support their participants for a short time, and then a lack of funding spells the end of all that work. We know that time is an important factor in establishing good programmes, so we must work together as a sector to ensure our services have longevity.

In addition to this, we should keep our eyes open to examples of best practice for people of all ages and question the health outcomes of our projects so we can provide data for future potential funders. We should use the right language and take advantage of the excellent work that has been done already in this area, for example using the Creative Health Framework as a way to consider and plan Creative Health projects.

As the SCEP Steering Group lead for Health and Wellbeing, I would welcome any of our members to get in touch to connect on your Creative Health projects and your interest in this area.

Further Reading:

Creative Health Talks

Creative Health Quality Framework

Creative Health: The Short Report

Arts Council

National Centre for Creative Health (NCCH)

NCCH Roundtable on Education and Training: Creativity for Health and Wellbeing in the Education System

Social Prescribing (Barnardos)

Join us for the SCEP Expo on Monday 11 March

Join Southampton Cultural Education Partnership (SCEP) for an evening of networking and celebration at John Hansard Gallery on Monday 11 March, 17.30-19.00.

We are delighted to host the Connecting Culture Project and the young Cultural Connectors as they launch the Young People’s Manifesto for Culture and Creativity in Southampton. Connect with arts and cultural organisations and meet SCEP members who will be sharing examples of activities and resources available for children, young people, and schools in Southampton.

Cultural Connectors at What’s Next Southampton? Credit: @devplacephotos

Directions to John Hansard Gallery can be found here. If you’d like to attend, please RSVP below.

How Cultural Education can help SEND students

If we want equity baked into our education system, ensuring children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) thrive is a vital goal.

The former Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield told The Times Education Commission in 2022 that “The talents of hundreds of thousands of children are being squandered”, including those of children with SEND.

Cultural Education provides an inspiring and engaging way to support students with SEND to access a mainstream curriculum and demonstrate their knowledge and skills.

Promising results for SEND students

Our Better Lives Through Culture project, which worked with four schools across Southampton in 2023, found using the arts enabled:

  • Primary SEND students to demonstrate their knowledge and fully take part in lessons
  • Secondary students in Alternative Provision to build confidence, communication and teamwork skills while engaging in school work

Support for children with SEND

For children with SEND the current school wide issues of poor student mental health and attendance are severe.

In the Pearson 2023 School Report, teachers reported that support for students with SEND is expected to be one of the biggest barriers to learning over the next six months. Delays to Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP), and lack of funding for specialist support are reported by schools across the region.

Using dance to demonstrate knowledge

One way to support students with SEND is to use arts and culture across the curriculum. Working with Banister Primary School, movement specialist Natalie Watson used dance to deliver parts of the Geography and Science curriculum.

When studying Butterflies in Science in Year 2, rather than asking children to create a mind map of what they knew about butterflies Natalie asked the children to move and behave like butterflies. This allowed students with SEND to express their knowledge and have it recorded by the teacher. Using dance increased access to lessons for children with SEND and lower achieving children in Key Stage 1.

Increasing engagement with complex vocabulary

Teachers also noticed that using dance helped lower attaining children engage better with more complex vocabulary. Pupils were able to retain and retrieve the words.

In Geography, children could show the different ways rivers moved and could recall geography vocabulary such as meandering to describe rivers. Classifying animals in science was also more engaging for the children using movement.

Natalie and the school worked together to refine their approach to using Dance. This was then rolled out across Geography at Key Stage 2 and Science in Reception and Key Stage 1 with supporting resources and a lesson plan. INSET training was provided to model how to use the resources with the classes.

Engaging students in Cantell’s Learning to Learn Hub

At Cantell School, SoCo Music Project worked with students within the school’s Learning to Learn Hub. Some students wrote song lyrics linked to their English text as part of their Key Stage 4 English Curriculum.

Attendance and engagement are key outcomes needed for the students in the Learning to Learn hub. The students who worked with SoCo’s artist Craig engaged in the project with Craig tailoring activities to the students each week.

Their teacher remarked the approach was very well suited to the learning to learn model. The students responded differently to an artist and respected their expertise. After building trust the students engaged in independent work writing lyrics and worked as a team performing on the drums together.

Working with artists is CPD for teachers

Teachers across all of the Better Lives Through Culture projects reflected that working with artists was a form of CPD for them. They learnt new ways to work and communicate with their students.

For teachers looking for strategies on how to support SEND students within their classrooms cultural learning offers important tools and approaches.

Southampton Cultural Education Partnership (SCEP) members have expertise in working with students with SEND and crafting arts-based interventions.

Join the SCEP to learn more and connect with arts colleagues who can help you support students with SEND.


NEWSFLASH!! After a busy summer and a competitive tendering process we have successful recruited SCEP member SoCo to run the Creative Mentoring Scheme. We recognise a lot of the SCEP organisations have also had a busy summer with full programmes and annual leave over the holiday season. With this in mind we are extending the deadline for applications to the Creative Mentoring programme. The nominating organisation simply needs to complete a few questions on the form. This is a paid CPD opportunity for an early Career Creatives not to be missed.

  • Timescale: October 2022 – March 2023
  • Fee: ÂŁ4,500.00 per mentor
  • Application Deadline: 4 October 5PM
  • Interview Dates:  12/13 October in Southampton

This opportunity is part of Southampton Cultural Education Partnership’s (SCEP) Better Lives Through Culture Programme, in partnership with Artswork.

This is a paid training opportunity open to early career creatives in Southampton to develop mentoring skills and provide 1-2-1 support to young people aged 11 – 18 years.  Successful candidates will be trained as Creative Mentors, developing their mentoring skills, knowledge and experience. Throughout the programme they will be supported to mentor a Southampton-based young person to achieve their goals.

The SCEP’s objective is to develop a cohort of Creative Mentors as local role models in Southampton, who will work directly with and inspire Children and Young People, including those from at risk, marginalised backgrounds or NEET (not in employment education or training).

What being a Creative Mentor involves

Six early career creatives will be trained as Creative Mentors, and mentor a young person over a six-month scheme, guiding them to gain confidence, connections and the advice they need to succeed in their chosen goal/subject/industry. With the support of a Creative Mentor Trainer, mentoring pairs will decide on each young person’s individual goals and work towards achieving them.

Each Mentoring pair will meet over an agreed number of sessions.

What is a Nominating Organisation and how will they support the Creative Mentor

The nominating organisation (person) is a cultural organisation that has a relationship with the early career creative. They simply need to fill in a few sections on a form to complete the application. This will take the nominating organisation 10 -15 minutes.

It is expected that mentoring meetings will be face to face at the nominating organisation, however some remote meetings may be necessary during the course of the programme, as well as email communication between sessions.

Early Career Creatives

This opportunity is open to early career creatives* who would benefit from this training opportunity to develop and grow their skills, knowledge and experience to support a diverse range of young people with their own creative aspirations.

*By early career creative, this means anyone who is at an early stage in their professional creative career. This includes recent school leavers or people who have recently made a career change into the cultural sector/creative industries.


A fee of ÂŁ4,500.00 based on completing 42 days is available for each Creative Mentor.

As part of the Creative Mentoring Training scheme, participants will develop the skills and tools to be an effective mentor and will:

  • work with a trainer to develop their mentoring practice through small group training sessions.
  • Work with and support a young person to develop their own goals over an agreed number of sessions.
  • gain direct experience and transferable skills including coaching, safeguarding and structuring mentoring sessions.

Person Specification


  • An early career creative from any art form; including but not limited to visual arts, music, performing arts, written and spoken word, dance, film making and design.
  • Southampton based;
  • Experience of working with young people;
  • Good at problem solving and/or talking through issues;
  • Reliable and committed;
  • A good communicator;
  • Able to provide insight from your personal experience;
  • Willing to undertake a DBS Enhanced check.


  • Experience of supporting another person to develop personal goals. (You will be given training to do this);
  • Experience of working with vulnerable young people.

Timeline for Creative Mentor Scheme

Shortlisting for mentors from 5 October 2022

Interviewing of mentors 12/13 October 2022

Confirmation of outcomes of interviews for Mentors w/c 3 October 2022

Creative Mentor training and programme begins October 2022 – March 2023

Celebration event for Mentors and Mentees April 2023

Nomination Criteria:

  • Nominating cultural organisations must be SCEP members or willing to join the SCEP*
  • Candidates should self-define as early career creatives and have a connection to their nominating  organisation e.g. artist, freelancer, staff member, participant.
  • Nominating cultural organisations must provide a reference for their candidate, please see the section on the form marked ‘Questions for Nominating Organisation’.

* To join the SCEP you must be a Southampton-based cultural and/or educational organisation. For more information email

How to apply:

  • CANDIDATE:  Please complete the online form
  • NOMINATING ORGANISATIONS: Please complete the section on this form marked nominating organisation. Or email a word document answering the ‘Questions for Nominating Organisation’  as detailed in the online form to stating the name of the candidate at the beginning of the document.
  • DEADLINE: Submit the online application form (And Word document if applicable) by Tuesday 4 October 2022, 5pm
  • INTERVIEWS: To take place in 12/13 October in Southampton

Access Support & General Enquiries

We want to ensure the application process is accessible, and to give everyone the information they need to decide whether they might be suitable. If you require this description or any further information in a different format, or have questions before you apply, please get in touch with Jodie Sadler, Programme Manager, Better Lives Through Culture: please provide a contact telephone number. Please note that queries may not be answered immediately due to the working hours of the team.

We’re especially keen to hear from people who may have shared experience with our mentees, such as people who are Black, Asian or from a minoritised ethnic group, LGTBQIA+ people, disabled people and those who have identified as working class.