Previous Quests: OperaQuest and PoetryQuest

OperaQuest and PoetryQuest took children most in need on a year-long cultural journey. They commenced with the children visiting their local cultural venue. For many of the children taking part this was their first experience of live arts in a professional setting. After their visit, the children participated in workshops with professional practitioners (artists, storytellers, singers, musicians), giving them an opportunity to explore their own creativity. Both Quests culminated in the opportunity – perhaps once-in-a-lifetime for many students – to perform on stage at their partner venue. 


For our pupils to experience working with a real-life opera singer and to have the opportunity to watch an opera has impacted on their learning and life experiences… Learning in this way has to be the most powerful learning. 


Image © Vivienne Bailey

Supported by the MariaMarina Foundation and the Hobson Charity, children involved in OperaQuest attended a professional live opera performance and took part in workshops to create their own opera, building new skills whilst developing an interest in music, and hopefully changing attitudes towards opera.  

In 2016/17 Children & the Arts worked with:

2 arts venues - Birmingham Hippodrome and Opera North (Leeds)

8 primary schools 

300 children between the ages of 8-11 years 

OperaQuest ran for four years, and has engaged with over 1,500 children.


PoetryQuest gave our pupils a vehicle to express themselves and achieve more than they or we ever expected


Image © Craig Shaw

Supported by the MariaMarina Foundation and Jonathan Moulds PoetryQuest gave children the chance to see contemporary performance poetry in action, and work on their own poetry to perform on stage at their partner venue.  

In 2016/17 Children & the Arts worked with:

1 arts venue - Square Chapel Centre for the Arts (Halifax)

3 primary schools 

180 children between the ages of 9-11 years 

PoetryQuest ran for six years, and has engaged with over 17,500 children.

To find out more, download our resources or buy a hard copy from our shop.

The PoetryQuest Anthology was launched in June 2017 by Dame Penelope Wilton DBE

Image © Craig Shaw

Dame Penelope spoke to the children passionately about the value of writing and storytelling:

I think every single one of you is a poet and will probably always be a poet. Because that’s what happens in life, once you start very young it becomes the norm and you go on doing it. What I do is I act and I tell stories, so I’m always fascinated by words that make up stories – and the words you use seem to me to be great.

I wish above all that I had had the chance to do what you’re doing. I know it’s probably just what you do in school now, with these two wonderful poets, but if I’d had a chance to do this when I was young I would have had an appreciation for the spoken word a lot younger than I did.

2017 Secondary School Art Prize

supported by  

The Secondary School Art Prize in 2017 was open to pupils aged 11 to 18, at state-funded schools in Essex or Greater London. 

The young people were asked to make an original artwork inspired by the theme: Perspective. The work had to be  2D and no bigger than an A3 piece of paper. The rest was up to them!

There was a £500 cash prize for the winner in each age category and £1,000 for the winner’s school art department, plus more prizes for the runners up.


Our online resources are still available, and include technical tips, inspiring artists and lots more. 

The Winners

11 to 15 Category

Winner: James Brown (Artwork above)

Runners up: Katarina Joannou and Jiya Shah


16 to 18 category

Winner: Martyna Debska (Artwork above)

Runners up: Malick Kimera and Maria Nadeem


SEN category

Winner: Lucas dros (Artwork above)

Runners up: Rosika Edmund and Fox Howard-Ravenspine