Building STEAM in East London

January 13, 2017

East London schools are putting the ‘A’ in STEAM

Creative Schools was designed to support school improvement needs through East London’s incredible arts and cultural opportunities. Over the past year we have worked with twenty-one schools from across four East London boroughs, talking to headteachers, senior leaders and arts subject leads about their needs and linking them with arts projects that can support these priorities and drive school improvement.

With recent government education policy emphasising the importance of STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths) a number of schools are working with Creative Schools to put the ‘A’ in STEAM – demonstrating a commitment to including Arts on and equal footing with STEM subjects.

Some of the ways in which East London Creative Schools we are working with are putting the ‘A’ in STEAM include 

  • Using creative arts projects to support school improvement needs, inspire students and increase attainment in STEM subjects including maths, science, coding, music technology, digital animation and film making
  • Combining arts with innovative digital tools and platforms to support improvement needs including literacy, creative writing and teacher CPD
  • Supporting skills development though creative arts projects that provide long term social and economic value to children and young people, including skills such as innovation, collaboration, risk-taking, resilience and problem solving.

Putting the ‘A’ in STEAM helps to recognise the economic importance of the arts & design alongside science, technology, engineering and maths.  With the creative economy worth a whopping 84.1 billion to the UK economy, turning STEM into STEAM supports the innovation, collaboration and risk taking needed to inspire children and young people and prepare them for the social, cultural and economic opportunities of the future.

Read these recent articles written by teachers and young people on the importance of including arts subjects on an equal footing in schools. 

London Ambitions celebrates creativity

This month the Mayor’s London Ambitions Portal is celebrating creative opportunities for pupils across the capital in both science and the arts. The Portal is a new website which makes it easy for schools, colleges and outside organisations to connect, helping young Londoners to explore the world of work. Sign up to the Portal to receive the latest newsletter.

Arts projects that support STEAM

Check out a few of the innovative arts projects being offered through East London Creative Schools that support priorities across science, technology, engineering, and maths:

  • The Bomb Factory and SDNA Digital artists SDNA and a creative writer work with a class to create a 360° Virtual Reality (VR) experience. The pupils write descriptions of imaginary places and visualize them using painting, drawing and/or collage. SDNA will record student stories, and animate and composite their artworks in a 360° film to be viewed using google cardboard. The video will be uploaded on Youtube and the artworks will go on display within the Bomb Factory Art Gallery at the end of the project.
  • Output Arts, Magic Numbers Bring maths to life in the classroom through arts, actively exploring and employing the Fibonacci series to construct colourful towers.  Students explore how the Fibonacci numbers relate to each other and where the sequence occurs in nature, architecture and the built environment. Armed with an understanding of these numbers, pupils and staff will use the Fibonacci series to design and construct a number of freestanding towers which form colourful artworks.
  • Salmagundi films, InhabiTENTS Students use film, stop frame animation and creative apps to explore themes of culture and identity in a cross-curricular project for the whole school. Pop up tents become bespoke environments for imagined people/creatures, with the digital images, film and animation, sounds and props curated, created and devised by students.

Find out more about London Ambitions

Find out more about the London Ambitions Project and get your organisation signed up to the Portal. For more info contact

Get involved in Creative Schools Artsmark in 2017

We are looking forward to a busy and creative 2017 and are delighted to be joining up with the Artsmark Award to launch an integrated Creative Schools Artsmark for schools joining the programme in 2017/18.  Schools should submit an application to be part of the 2017/18 programme by 17 March 2017

Schools taking part in Creative Schools Artsmark will join a dynamic network of 50+ East London arts and education leaders and receive tailored support from arts education experts to support your Artsmark ambitions.

Find out about the Creative Schools Artsmark programme and how to apply or email us with questions, comments or ideas at

Photo credit: Output Arts