Swale Creative Schools Network (SCSN)

The Swale Creative Schools Network is a thriving and active network, welcoming like-minded, creative teachers from all education settings across the Swale region. As a major part of the Swale CEP’s programme, termly meet-ups are arranged for teachers, SLT, artist educators and arts organisations from the area to come together to share opportunities, resources, information and important learnings – including free art CPD workshops! The meet-ups alternate between online and in-person sessions, usually held after-school between 4-5.30pm, and often welcoming inspiring guests.

This network is a platform for the CEP to best understand what schools and teachers need from arts providers and foster strong relationships between education and arts professionals. The goal is to improve creative and cultural learning opportunities for children and young people across the whole of Swale.

All Senior Leaders and Arts leads (across visual arts, performing arts, music and DT) are welcome to attend any of the network meetings which take place termly. To sign-up and find out the next forthcoming meet-up, please press the ‘get involved’ button on the right or email the organisers Animate Arts on

  • The colourful logo which reads Swale CEP Creative Schools Network sits on a white background
  • Five adults in coats are kneeling on a grassy floor, looking at a old church building. It is cold but sunny. They are drawing a picture of the building.
  • A hand is stamping letters on brown paper. It reads Flock Together'
  • multiple hands are painting on a large sheet of paper. the illustartions are of trees and nature, made with natural colour paints
  • Hands are crafting with paper. there are scissors and bright colour sheets of paper
  • Hands flick through a hand-crafted sketchbook. Each page has different papers.

Youth voice and the Swale CEP

During 2023, Icon Theatre, on behalf of the Swale CEP, undertook a consultancy project to firstly ensure that youth voice is represented as part of the work of the partnership and secondly to invite young people to contribute to the refresh of the KCC Cultural Strategy with their thoughts, views and opinions.  The aim was to engage with existing youth organisations, schools and youth settings within the Swale region to consult with young people around their priorities for local arts, culture and creativity. To achieve this, Icon Theatre worked with  Youth Centres in Faversham, Sittingbourne and Sheppey, Sheppey FM, Children’s Centres and local primary schools. The consultation included a workshop, youth debate and opportunity for young people to pitch their ideas for the future cultural landscape of their local area. The consultation engaged over 300 young people aged 4 – 23, a collection of the participants came together to write a manifesto, voicing their questions and opinions for the future of Swale.

This project supports the strategic aims of the Swale CEP, ensuring that the ideas and opinions of young people living in Swale are embedded in its decision making processes and actively influence our long-term planning.

To read the final report from this consultation, please click HERE

This strand of work is funded by the Kent County Council Arts Investment Fund.

Young girl walks down a catwalk dressed as a book. Her costume is made from cardboard. An seated audience applauds her creation.

Culture Camps in Swale

As part of the Swale Creative Collaborations, each town in Swale (Faversham, Sittingbourne and Sheerness) are hosting 2-day Culture Camps. These brilliant projects invite local young people to work with professional artists and take the opportunity to try some different creative activities. From singing to fashion design to drama, young people will be stretching their creative muscles outside of school hours.

Between August – December 2023, approx. 90 young people will have taken part in a Culture Camp, and obtained an Arts Awards Discover as part of the programme.

Culture Camp Faversham: In August 2023, Animate Arts worked with young people from Faversham in their school holidays. Transforming a school hall into a hive of creative activity, children and artists worked together to create a fashion show of Super Hero costumes, inspired by each individual’s super powers. The young artists took their costumes on a catwalk-runaway to show-off their creativity to friends and family.

COMING-UP! Culture Camp Sheerness: Icon Theatre and LAStheatre will be hosting a Culture Camp during the October half term – Tuesday 24 & Wednesday 25 October, 10am-3pm. Young people will journey into a world of theatre unlocking their creativity through storytelling, character crafting, soundscapes and enchanting puppetry. While sparking their imaginations, the participating young people will also achieve a nationally recognised qualification – Arts Award! FREE opportunity, but booking essential by email  You can also download the flyer CLICK HERE.

COMING UP! Culture Camp Sittingbourne: Audio//Culture Camps – a new collaboration between Ideas Test and Da Base Music Centre, coming to Sittingbourne in October 2023! There are 2 x  2-day project for 11-15 year olds to take part in on either Monday 23rd & Tuesday 24th October OR Thursday 26th & Friday 27th October.  Designed to unlock and maximize your creative potential through music technology, the experience is geared towards building confidence and raising self-esteem too. Book a place HERE



Playground is a partnership between Kent Libraries and Kent Culture and Creative Economy Service and became a National Portfolio Organisation with Arts Council England from 1 April 2023. It is an artist-led initiative for babies and children under five from underrepresented and marginalized groups working in children’s centres, libraries; museums, galleries, with refugee families and those with complex needs.

Playground is committed to the United Nations Rights of the Child ARTICLE 31 – ALL children have the RIGHT to access high quality cultural activity and aims to empower the creativity of babies, young children and their families. Our focus recognises that the first five years are crucially important for the development of the children and that the first three years are the most critical in having lasting impact on a child’s ability to learn and succeed in life.


We currently have 19 Playground artists who are supported with mentoring from highly experienced artists and professionals to develop their understanding, creative skills and confidence in working with young children and their families thus creating a lasting legacy.

In Swale we currently work in Sittingbourne and Sheerness Libraries, Seashells Children’s Centre and The Orchards Centre.


Our future plans include the development of Digital Playground, commissioning and producing work for early years and in 2026 a new International early years festival.

Watch the full documentary about Playground by clicking video (right). For further information please email

arts council england logo and Kent libraries logo and Kent county council logo

A baby wearing romper suit and a pink bib is sitting up in amongst textile tassels and looks in wonder at world around.

Sheppey Arts Festival

Each summer the Island’s Cultural Education Partnership host a schools arts festival in collaboration with Oasis Acdemy and Island primary schools. This year for the first time all delivery went online. Monday and Tuesday saw the main activity days, with further outreach from our partner artists happening mid week, and a virtual sharing opportunity taking place on Friday.

We’ve been delighted to collaborate with a wide range of arts practitioners, arts and cultural organisations to deliver the festival. Set and costume designer Ryan Dawson Laight brought his space themed Adventure Backpack workshop, Theatre31 offered their popular Playground Theatre session, local artist Nicole Mollett led on illustration, Kent Music introduced choral singing and students at Oasis Academy shared street dance and a celebratory visual arts workshop.

In total, 7 individual workshops took place with 66 classrooms tuning in to take part across 6 Island schools. This meant that on Monday, 420 pupils were making space backpacks with recycled items at the same time, and on Tuesday, another 450 were collectively getting active with street dance! We were delighted to receive so many bookings from schools at this very busy time of the year, proving that arts and culture remains as popular and ever! That’s 2000 separate instances of making and doing of the arts in less than a week! Well done to all our participants and thank you to all those staff who helped to make this happen in your schools.

In the run up to this year’s festival, the CEP was lucky to be able to work with two Applied Humanities students from Canterbury Christ Church University who volunteered with us as part of their Employability in Practice work experience placement. They researched digital platforms to the deliver on an online festival, drafted promotional materials, consulted with a Year 3 group at St George’s Primary around their ideas for the arts festival, and one student went on to assist us this week with the technical running of the festival.

The festival was funded by the Swale Cultural Education Partnership, with support from Royal Opera House Bridge and Kent County Council Arts Investment Fund.

Theatre 31

Theatre31 is managed by ICON Theatre, a celebrated theatre company led by Artistic Director, Nancy Hirst based at the Brook Theatre in Chatham. ICON Theatre co-creates high quality, contemporary new work with communities and young people across north and east Kent. The company’s vision is to transform lives and strengthen communities through the power of world class theatre and participatory arts.

Theatre31 is one of the UK’s five Youth Performance Participation Projects set up by UK Government Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. We are fully funded by Arts Council England, Royal Opera House Bridge, Kent County Council and supported by Medway Council.

Taking place across Medway and Swale, the Theatre31 programme is totally free and all of our activities are driven by the young people we work with. We offer everything from youth theatres, workshops and technical training to Artsmark support, careers advice and schools’ projects. So whether your students are aspiring producers, performers, arts marketeers, lighting technicians or set designers – we will nurture their talent and help them shine.

Theatre31 Young Artist Collective

Our groups run for ages 11-14 and 14-18.

Thursdays: 6:30pm -8:00pm (Please be aware times may vary when Masterclasses are running)

This is a brand new and exciting initiative at Theatre31, bringing young theatrical creatives together to create work.

  • Looking to enhance your creative and practical understanding of the Theatre industry?
  • Want the opportunity to bring your artistic visions to life?
  • Have a particular Theatre-based skill that you want to explore?
  • Want to gain new skills, make friends and have fun – whilst shaping your future?

As a youth led group, Young Artist Collective strengthens the voices and practices of young people by handing the decision making over to them.

This completely free programme creates opportunities for its members to work alongside and co-create with a range of industry professional throughout the year by accessing masterclasses and specialist projects. The platform also offers specialist theatre-based careers advice and project management experience.

Maybe you want to be a director? Maybe you like acting? Or maybe you want to harness your skills in theatre producing or arts marketing? The collective shines a light on all areas of the theatrical industry so a 360-degree view of making theatre is experienced.

In addition, as part of forming this important collective, you will have the opportunity to take part in programming decisions for the overall Theatre31 programme and the current Medway City of Culture festival – informing us what we do and assisting us shape how we serve other young people in our local community.

The team at Theatre31 supports and encourages you to collaborate with your peers. We make space for you to collectively explore and play, creating theatrical masterpieces; digital experiments; and new writing, which shape the future of theatre in Medway and Swale.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION – We have 15 spaces in each group. There are a small amount of places left in the older group so don’t miss out and the younger group is currently full but please apply to be added to the waiting list. Any young person who is accepted onto the programme will receive a Young Artist Collective members welcome pack to get you started.

Find out how to sign up here:


Arts Award recognises and accredits the creative development of individual young people. The range of unique qualifications supports all children and young people aged up to 25 to grow as artists and arts leaders. The Award inspires them to connect with and take part in the wider arts world through completing activities in an art form or art forms

Arts Award is offered at five different levels, one introductory award and four regulated qualifications. Two levels (Discover and Explore) have been developed with primary school aged children in mind. At Gold level, students can achieve 16 UCAS points with Arts Award.

Arts Award also builds transferrable 21st century skills such as teamwork, resilience and leadership. It is suitable for all learners and can be delivered as a universal offer, a targeted intervention or extra-curricular activity. At all levels young people get to:

  • Discover the enjoyment of creating and participating in any art form
  • Develop their creativity and leadership skills
  • Learn new skills and share them with others
  • Work with or experience working with creative arts professionals
  • Gain experience and knowledge to progress into further education and employment

The Swale CEP actively advocates for and supports the delivery of Arts Award. We endeavour to embed the qualifications into all funded activity, and we offer guidance to settings wanting to get started with delivery.

For further information and support contact us

Artsmark is the creative quality standard for schools and education settings, awarded by Arts Council England. The Artsmark award provides a clear framework for teachers and education professionals to plan, develop and evaluate their arts and cultural provision. It supports settings to commit to and celebrate embedding arts, culture and creativity across the curriculum and the school community.

Artsmark is open to primary, secondary and special schools, pupil referral units, youth offending teams and sixth form colleges. It is awarded at three levels, Silver, Gold or Platinum. Most settings take up to two years to complete their Artsmark journey. Their award level then remains in place for two years at which point the setting can-register to repeat the process and be awarded again.

The Artsmark journey is supported by a regional network of Bridge organisations, providing training, advice, practical teaching resources and introductions to other settings and leading cultural organisations in your area.  The Arts Council Bridge organisation for North Kent covering Medway is Royal Opera House Bridge.

The Swale CEP encourages all schools and education settings to take part in the Artsmark journey. It works with Royal Opera House Bridge to support training opportunities for staff and connects all those taking part with local support and guidance opportunities.