School artists project expanding across the UK

Global Teacher Prize winner Andria Zafirakou's Artists in Residence charity already has 80 schools on its waiting list

Catherine Lough

Andria Zafirakou, founder of Artists in Residence and winner of the Global Teacher Prize 2018

A charity promoting art in schools is set to expand nationwide, with 80 state schools across the UK currently on its waiting list.

Artists in Residence, founded by Andria Zafirakou, 2018's winner of the Global Teacher Prize, will be offered to schools around the UK following a successful pilot in London.

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The charity brings celebrated artists to work in schools in areas of social deprivation. Launched in June 2018 with eminent supporters such as Sir Simon Schama, Lord Bragg (Melvyn Bragg) and pop star Naughty Boy, it offers pupils the chance to hone practical artistic skills.

The Turner Prize winner Mark Wallinger, famous for his sculpture of Christ in Trafalgar Square, Ecce Homo, has previously worked with pupils from Acland Burghley School in North London as part of the scheme.

Mark Wallinger

Ms Zafirakou, an art teacher at Alperton Community School in Brent, north-west London, has put her $1 million prize money from the Global Teacher Prize into the charity.

The power of the arts in schools

"We’re so humbled by the support and encouragement we have received from both the arts and education worlds for our programme since we launched over a year ago," she said.

"We’re very excited about the future as we look forward to working with artists and schools up and down the country that are looking to enrich their arts curriculum. We’ve also received some fantastic feedback from teachers about how the programme is helping to enhance their own professional development."

Pallab Sarker, chairman of Artists in Residence, who is also a  singer-songwriter, was one of the first to sign up to the programme and undertook a residency at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow, East London.

"During my residency, I saw first-hand how the arts are not only essential for personal growth and self-understanding but they also teach young people to think creatively, learn to communicate effectively and build resilience," he said.

"All these skills will be important for the jobs that they are likely to do when they leave school. The arts are also inclusive, help to build confidence and can be especially therapeutic for those with difficult and stressful lives.

“I encourage all artistic talent throughout the UK, including musicians, actors, dancers and fashion designers to support and lend their time to our schools. I hope this can be a true classroom revolution.”

Full details of the scheme and information on how artists, organisations and schools can take part are at



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author bio

Catherine Lough

Catherine Lough is a reporter at Tes.

Find me on Twitter @CathImogenLough

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