Artsmark Spotlight: Northern Ballet

11th November 2021 - Kayla Herbert

Written by Sam Moore, Northern Ballet.

Northern Ballet Puss In Boots Outreach © Gavin Joynt

Northern Ballet Puss In Boots Outreach © Gavin Joynt 

Northern Ballet and the federation of St. Joseph’s Catholic Primary School and Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Catholic Primary School, Durham, have been working together since 2019. In that time, 179 pupils have achieved an Arts Award qualification and Northern Ballet have supported the schools to start their Artsmark journeys.

“Since starting our Artsmark Journey, the arts have been lifted to the forefront of our focus in school. We have endeavoured to look at all subjects through the creativity and inclusivity of the arts.

We have only just started our journey, but already creativity and learning through the arts has been seen as a gateway to all subjects. We have promoted learning through the arts and seen a boost in engagement. We have also enjoyed starting new clubs after school promoting individual interests in the Arts, providing children opportunities to explore their interests further.” Teacher

So far, the partnership between Northern Ballet and the schools has led to 179 pupils achieving an Arts Award qualification at either Discover or Explore level, including 107 pupils who achieved this during the challenges of Covid-19. Three teachers have also been supported to train as Arts Award advisors and have received CPD from Northern Ballet artists to help bring creative movement into the classroom. 

The partnership developed through Northern Ballet’s Arts Council England Funded project, Ballets for Children. Northern Ballet create brand new ballets especially for children aged 7 years and under which are toured across England. The Learning team offer a package of outreach activity to support children to enjoy their first experience of ballet.


Northern Ballet dancers in Little Red Riding Hood. Photo Drew Forsyth

Northern Ballet dancers in Little Red Riding Hood. Photo courtesy of Drew Forsyth.

It has been fantastic to see so many children inspired by various new forms of art they have previously never experienced thanks to the work of Northern Ballet and their Children’s Ballet Tour.’ Teacher 

After the schools showed great commitment to using arts within the curriculum Northern Ballet knew they wanted to support them further and in 2021 funded the schools to begin their Artsmark journeys, something they could not do alone.

‘After the first year of the project it was clear that the schools wanted to do so much more. They had loads of great ideas for ways to explore the arts with their pupils and were so enthusiastic, but there was a barrier. Money. By investing in the schools and providing additional support we’re pleased that every pupil will leave school with Arts Award qualifications at Discover and Explore level and will have received a broad introduction to the arts.’ Senior Learning Project Manager, Northern Ballet

‘Northern Ballet has been invaluable to our Artsmark journey, put simply we would not have been able to begin this journey without both the support in terms of funding and support for improving the delivery of the arts within our school. We greatly appreciate all the emails, calls and Zooms (and the people working hard behind them!) that have enabled us to start our journey and help us along the way.’ Teacher


Northern Ballet dancers in Little Red Riding Hood. Photo Brian Slater

Northern Ballet dancers in Little Red Riding Hood. Photo courtesy of Brian Slater.

Northern Ballet look forward to continuing their partnership with the schools, including working together on the Children’s Ballet tour of Pinocchio in Spring 2022.

‘The children have learnt so many things thanks to their work with Northern Ballet. They have not only gained confidence in sharing their work, applying themselves in different art forms, as well as an opportunity to give new things a try, but also that working in the arts is much more than the dancers you see on stage!’ Teacher

If you’d like to learn more about Artsmark or becoming an Artsmark Partner, contact our Schools Engagement Manager, Aoibheann at

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