Experiencing child poverty can undermine the health, wellbeing and educational attainment of children. By the age of five, children in poverty are between ten and thirteen months behind their peers from more affluent backgrounds in terms of educational attainment. Children in the most deprived areas of Dundee have significantly worse health compared to children in the least deprived areas, including dental health and obesity rates.
Aims of ASPIRE Dundee
- to transform children’s lives using performing arts;
- to empower and strengthen communities;
- to focus this work on school communities in most need in areas of deprivation.
The design of the programme had to:
- respond to the socio-economic context of the City;
- demonstrate value for money;
- address sustainability;
- demonstrate integration between school, community and the cultural sector;
- be neighbourhood focused;
- be supported by a raft of cultural partners;
- prioritise inclusion and engagement of those who stood to benefit most.
Extensive research has been undertaken into the ‘Transformative Power of the Arts’. Arts learning experiences play a vital role in developing pupils’ capacities for critical thinking, creativity, imagination and innovation. These capacities are increasingly recognised as core skills and competencies that all pupils need as part of a high quality and complete 21st century education. Arts programmes help to develop high levels of motivation, enthusiasm and self confidence. They instil self esteem, develop team working, encourage social integration, raise attainment and drive achievement.
ASPIRE Dundee is underpinned by a belief that issues of attainment, achievement and lack of aspiration facing local communities, children and families should be addressed at local level through a multi-partnership approach. To help to address the issue of equality for some of our most deprived communities we are working in collaboration with targeted schools and key local arts partners to deliver both the right interventions and the factors which will facilitate their implementation. This builds on and links existing partnerships, plans and resources related to children, their families and the communities in which they live in. By working in targeted school communities with children, staff, parents and in association with local partners such as health, Social Work and community learning and development - and in bringing together existing community based programmes - ASPIRE Dundee aims to create the opportunity and develop capacity for long term social and transformational change.
By analysing attendance, exclusion, free school meals, clothing grants entitlements, PIPS and INCAS scores in numeracy and literacy we identified 11 primary school communities in Dundee in most need.
Phase One: - Launched in November 2013
To develop and deliver an immersive and intensive arts based programme led by professional artists/music educators working directly in schools during core curricular time, and then, in addition, develop strong extra curricular opportunities after school for out of hours learning.
Phase Two: - Spring – Autumn 2015
To develop and deliver the ASPIRE Dundee community engagement programme, creating more opportunities for families to access participation activities within their local area towards developing stronger school, family and community relationships
Phase Three: - Autumn 2016
To firmly embed and establish the ASPIRE Dundee model of practice with key partners and stakeholders to be a sustainable and locally led intervention demonstrating a ‘smarter spend’ and more effective allocation of existing resources.
Local Management and Governance - the ASPIRE Project has a full-time Project Manager, an operational delivery team and a Board including representatives from Scottish Government, Creative Scotland, Health, Communities and further associated partners. Our self-evaluation is underpinned by robust evidence of what is working and what needs further improvement. The ASPIRE Dundee Project has a clear, planned and consultative approach to improvement. All stakeholders including our local arts partners are involved and informed. Accountability and Quality Improvement are critical aspects of the effectiveness of the programme.