Raising the Standard of Work by, with and for Children and Young People: Research and consultation to understand the principles of quality

Caroline Sharp, Pippa Lord, Hilary Grayson, Louise Cooper, Ben Lee

13 July 2012

Research summary | Full report | Conference presentation

Many artists and cultural organisations work with children and young people. But what are the hallmarks of high quality in this type of work? Arts Council England commissioned this research from NFER and Shared Intelligence to understand more about how to demonstrate quality and impact. The team investigated a range of existing quality frameworks and consulted with people across the arts and cultural sectors.

This work provides a starting point for further sector-led development and testing the quality principles in practice.

Key Findings

Quality needs to be embedded throughout the cycle of planning, delivery, monitoring and review. The research identified seven principles for high quality work by, with and for children and young people:

  1. Striving for excellence
  2. Being authentic
  3. Being exciting, inspiring and engaging
  4. Ensuring a positive, child-centred experience
  5. Actively involving children and young people
  6. Providing a sense of personal progression
  7. Developing a sense of ownership and belonging.

Although there are a number of existing tools and frameworks, the study identified the need for:

  • clear definitions of the core principles of quality and practice examples
  • a focus on the quality of the art itself
  • further explorations of how the principles apply in different sectors and circumstances (for example, in work with and for children and young people; for different age groups)
  • consideration of the challenges in achieving high quality
  • a stronger focus on demonstrating quality and measuring outcomes.

Sponsor Details

Arts Council England