Accessing the arts for home educated children in North Lincolnshire

18th July 2022 - Kayla Herbert

Written by Wendy Chan

Courtesy of Wendy Chan

Experienced in delivering to school settings, Wendy Chan saw a gap in the access and support for children who are home educated. This was an opportunity to offer a new and exciting hands-on approach to learning, adapting sessions to the various needs yet allowing space to explore in their own creative way.

Supporting home educated children

I saw this micro-commission as an opportunity to develop some ideas to support the growth of home educated children in the North Lincolnshire, where access to specialist arts is limited. As a creative artist practitioner, receiving this micro-commission was so valuable and allowed me the time to work with home educated families closely to understand their needs and connect with them. From these discussions it became clear these last two years have been a challenge to families accessing quality arts and culture locally and regionally.

Developing a responsive practice

Courtesy of Wendy Chan

The initial idea was to create an online log where the children can engage with the process whilst also coming to my sessions and recording other creative cultural places they may attend. After the first session, there was evidence of the need for these families to receive some general wellbeing sessions for the children, as an opportunity to interact with others outside their family through the delivery. At this time, I also found a group of home educated children who were wanting to develop the next stage of their Arts Awards journey and so, I supported their coordinator alongside the existing network.

It was challenging but also rewarding working with the group, who are aged 7 to 14 and have various access issues and barriers. This micro-commission has allowed time for reflective moments where I’ve been able to that my approach to connecting and delivering with the children has had an impact, and not just in their creative journey but in their every day. Although I didn’t get the chance to fully embed the online log alongside the sessions, I felt the impact of working with them at this stage had improved their wellbeing, friendship building and confidence.

Sophie, a parent of one of the home schooled children, said: “Before Harry came to Wendy’s art sessions, he struggled massively with even the simplest of art, from forming shapes, crossing the midline, drawing people due to his autism and dyspraxia. During these art sessions Harry has produced some beautiful pieces of art and it’s all down to Wendy. Wendy’s sessions are so well planned, fun, and easily adapted for anyone with additional needs. He has learnt so much and can’t wait to continue his learning journey. Harry has enjoyed each session and it’s been lovely to see him progress.”

A new framework for future delivery

Courtesy of Wendy Chan

This micro-commission has led me to integrate my processes and delivery so that I can develop a framework for the future and support other practitioners looking to work with home educated children in the area. To allow others to support the need for high quality arts for children and young people and to embed Arts Award and Artsmark, as a tool to connect and inspire creativity in the area.

I will pursue the online log to work alongside any future workshops as a new collaborative approach for children and young people to explore their own creative journey in the arts!

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