Press release

New findings from NFER informs Arts Council England's new cultural education challenge

14 October 2015

NFER today releases two reports as part of Arts Council England’s launch of the Cultural Education Challenge.

The first report, Quality Principles for arts and cultural organisations working with children and young people, develops and pilots seven Quality Principles (QPs) for work for, by and with children and young people. Conducted with our partner, Shared Intelligence, the pilot phases involved 51 lead arts, cultural and educational organisations working with over 800 other organisations, between 2012 and 2015.The pilot organisations tested the QPs in a range of creative and innovative ways, and found they were a useful framework for development and communication. The four main ways they used QPs were: to develop new evaluation methods and tools; to review an existing project; to plan new work; and/or to engage in self-reflection and peer learning.

They reported on their impact on organisational culture and practice, helping them reflect on their vision and values, and questioning what more they could do to provide high quality experiences for children and young people. They also believed that adopting the QPs would lead to improvements in quality experienced by children and young people through better evaluation, and by directly involving children and young people in planning, critique and organisational learning.

The Cultural Education Partnerships Pilot Study, presents the findings from an evaluation of pilot local Cultural Education Partnerships (CEPs) carried out by NFER for the Cultural Education Partnership Group (CEPG).

The evaluation which took place in 2014-15, explored the impact of greater alignment among cultural education provided for young people in three pilot CEPs established in Bristol, Barking and Dagenham and Great Yarmouth. It involved interviews with 25 CEP partners and 11 national strategic partners, together with data on young people’s cultural participation.

CEPs showed potential to provide a strong basis to improve the quality and quantity of cultural provision. They are providing an important role in local areas, adding value to partners’ individual efforts and capacity to help them network, strategically plan and coordinate delivery of cultural provision; leading to signs of enhanced cultural provision and young people’s participation. Partners have worked together to design, fund and deliver collaborative cultural education projects; advocate with a collective voice; and diversify cultural expertise and experiences.

Commenting on the quality principles report, Laura Gander-Howe, Director of Children, Young People and Learning at Arts Council England, said: “We will use the learning from this research to ensure the quality principles underpin our new cultural education challenge to ensure that all children and young people can create, participate in and consume high quality cultural activity.”

More information on these reports:


For further information please contact Jane Parrack at NFER on 01753 637245.

For further information about the Cultural Education Challenge telephone the Arts Council on 0207 268 9674 or visit:

Note to Editors:

About NFER

NFER has a worldwide reputation for providing independent and rigorous research in education. As a charity, any surplus generated by the Foundation is reinvested in research projects to provide evidence that improves education and the life chances of learners in the UK and beyond.; @TheNFER