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Special Projects

We have been delighted to welcome a limited number of school visits to YSP through our pilot programme and are now in a position to open limited bookings for the Autumn term. To book, please contact our Learning Programme Administrator: +44 (0)1924 832528 / learning@ysp.org.uk. Please sign up to our Schools & Colleges e-news to receive updates.

As well as our core Schools & Colleges programme, YSP Learning engages in special projects allowing us to research and develop aspects of learning in partnership with schools.

‘At the beginning of this research, we had no idea what a transformational affect this work would have on our families and community.’


Challenge Yorkshire

In summer 2015, Yorkshire Sculpture Park was selected as a cultural partner for the Challenge Yorkshire Cultural Learning programme, managed by IVE (formerly Cape UK). The project supported schools and creative organisations across the region to work in partnership on a piece of action research around creative teaching and learning.
YSP was chosen as cultural partner by Pentland Infant & Nursery School, a small school situated in Savile Town in Dewsbury, just a few miles from the Park.  The project wanted to explore how children could be encouraged to question, to become more curious about the world and how this could support speaking and listening, leading to improved attainment in writing. The project was planned to identify how the outdoors, and exposure to a wider cultural experience, could enhance children’s thinking and communication skills. 

Artist-led sessions, at YSP and in school, used visual and performing arts to take children on a creative learning journey, exploring character, storytelling and specific language learning within the Key Stage 1 and Foundation Stage curriculum. Reception and Year 2 children worked with a storyteller, visual artist and dancer over three terms; creating puppets, developing their own sculpture trail in school, becoming moving sculptures themselves and imaginary adventurers inspired by our exhibitions. 

The impacts were not foreseen: it opened the curriculum and the arts beyond what was thought possible, enthused and empowered staff to teach in different ways. The project has contributed to the development of YSP’s schools programme; linking our exhibitions and outdoor resources more closely to the curriculum. The project is a powerful testimony of the value of outdoor and creative learning on children’s attainment in school and development of the whole child. 

In school, the arts and cultural institutions are seen as a learning vehicle, rather than as a discrete focus of the arts curriculum. They are not a tag-on, an enrichment opportunity – they are a way of providing children with experiences and knowledge to develop their skills across the whole curriculum. Above all the project has widened the community’s appreciation of the arts and their access to a range of cultural opportunities. YSP welcomed over 150 children and parents to celebration days, including performances, bug hunts, sculpture building and nature trails in 2017, showing the value of family engagement in supporting creative learning and attainment in school.

‘We have unlocked doors to new experiences and it appears they are widening by the day, for the benefit of all our children and families’



Spark was a funded project which allowed us to work with selected schools in socio-economically deprived areas, providing two days with an artist-educator at YSP and one day in school. Over six years we worked with 90 schools in Wakefield and other Local Authorities and over 2,400 pupils. The project introduced children and teaching staff to creative ways of looking at art through interactive activities which encouraged personal interpretations of sculpture and sharing of ideas. Creative engagement with art and nature helped pupils explore their own personal stories as well as open up debate about world issues. Over three days pupils investigated a vast array of materials and techniques through indoor and outdoor making activities, experiencing clay, carving, collaborative drawing and paper sculpture. 

‘My children asked so many questions and were fascinated by everything they saw, heard and touched. Awe and wonder was achieved. Their memories of the project will stay with them for a long time’

Teacher, Feversham Primary


Ignite was YSP’s schools outreach programme, enabling schools from Wakefield, Barnsley, Leeds, Kirklees and Calderdale to work directly with artists both inside and outside of the classroom. Ignite was an enquiry-focused programme which modelled ways in which creative activity could support cross-curricular learning both at YSP and in school settings. Artistic practice was at the heart of this process and Ignite aimed to inspire and invigorate teaching and learning through engaging with artists’ own practice within the context of YSP.  

In 2015/16 we worked with three artists: sculptor, Sarah Jane Palmer; musician, Dominic Moore; and digital artist and dancer, Wayne Sables. Working with over 20 schools, Ignite projects were tailored to the needs of participating schools and schemes of work. Pupils made films as part of the Science curriculum, inflatable sculpture linking to Key Stage 3 Maths and plaster-casting to link with a dinosaur project in Reception. Previous years’ projects involved multi-media artist, Hardeep Sahota working with schools to experiment with drawing, light painting, performance and sculpture; working with Wakefield schools from Foundation Stage to Year 10. 

Download the Ignite Teaching Resource

‘Thank you for a brilliant day! The staff and children have enjoyed a unique experience and it has helped us realise how you can stretch the boundaries of art’


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