Cultural education forms an important part of a broad and balanced curriculum.

Esdential provide co-created, progressive, quality creative and cultural experiences for schools, families and communities, enabling our children and young people to communicate what they see, feel and think and develop new talents, confidence and aspiration.

Working with carefully-selected creative practitioners and cultural organisations through delivery in schools (live and virtual), in inspirational venues, including our residential centres, we offer:
Artists and Authors
• Collaborative projects and festivals (across year groups, MATs, clusters and intergenerational groups)
• PPA and team-taught delivery
• Live and virtual taught sessions, galleries and performances
• Themed residentials
• Whole school INSET, CPD

Edsential aims to encourage young people to explore their artistic and creative potential. We can provide visual, tactile and sensory experiences and an alternative way of responding to the world: our creative practitioners can help your setting achieve ArtsMark and provide exciting and inspirational learning journeys for children and young people’s in attaining individual Arts Awards, JASS and Duke of Edinburgh Awards.

Artists and Authors

Edsential’s Artists And Authors programme is an exciting opportunity to work flexibly with a creative practitioner to enrich curriculum delivery, support skills development and embed a creative culture across your school. The provision can be online, in person or a blended approach to suit your requirements.

A residency can be anything from a few weeks to a full academic year and beyond, including residential provision, and is planned to fit to your school’s vision for a cultural curriculum through, for example:

  • Regular classroom skills sessions (class-based team-teaching or PPA cover)
  • Special projects and topic-based activity
  • Creative playtimes, lunchtime and/or after school art clubs
  • Creative planning with curriculum leaders/teaching staff; developing creative teaching resources, schemes of work and lesson plans, INSET and staff meetings
  • Larger scale collaborative/cluster projects – resulting in new, high quality displays and production of original works for school / community, including online galleries and exhibitions or displays of children’s work


“We have very recently been inspected and the work that you have done at various points with our children has been described as “stunning” in the report!”

David Jobling – Head Teacher, St Michael’s Academy, Crewe

Projects & Festivals

Edsential specialises in developing and running cultural projects that involve creative and performing artists and educators working with pupils to produce high quality pieces of work.

Delivery for an Arts Project is school-based and may begin with a visit to a cultural venue or landmark, a creative workshop or a book / author study, and culminate in an exhibition / performance in an inspiring setting.

Cluster schools and MATs may wish to develop this into a shared Arts Festival; a bespoke provision for cohorts of schools creating inspiring opportunities for pupils’ to perform and for schools to engage their wider communities. The service involves planning, liaising with identified co-ordinators and cultural venues, providing expert tuition in the Creative and Performing Arts, developing a programme, managing logistics, hosting an art exhibition and running the event.

Some schools may want to explore using the arts to support transition between Years 6 and 7 – this could link to the highly-popular residential courses here.

If you are interested in commissioning an inspirational Arts Project or Arts Festival, please email who will tailor a unique event to meet your specific requirements.

“As your story telling fellow said – its days like that that will live in the memory.”
Darryl Pickering, Head Teacher, Cambridge Road Primary School

“My teacher said it was the best festival we had attended, and was hugely impressed!”  Sutton Green Primary School

Arts in the Residential Centres

Our facilities and practitioners offer the opportunity to create a bespoke experience which will reflect the individual nature of your school and its community. We recognise there are unique challenges faced by settings in delivering the curriculum in its widest sense and especially across the arts, which we can help you achieve through participation in an Creative and Performing Arts residential, or in combining both arts and adventurous activities: we will work with you to create sessions linked to your curriculum topics and / or PHSE, developing key skills and increased engagement in learning – and to give you and your students a positive and memorable experience that will support personal development for years to come!

Our offer includes:

  • Art; sculpture, Batik, fine art, recycled products projects
  • Dance; classical, modern, musicals and World Dance styles
  • Drama; including radio and play-script writing, Shakespeare study workshops, myths, legends and historical tales
  • Music; composing and performance, song writing and instrumental workshops, including World Music sessions
  • Exploring topics and themes; from the wildlife and music of Africa to the journeys on a Zepplin, we can create arts workshops which will inspire learners

The course is open to all ages and levels of experience and is available in our residential centres in Anglesey, North Wales and Cheshire.

Exam Support Courses

These courses are aimed at raising attainment in the Creative and Performing Arts and support schools with their formal GCSE and A Level syllabuses.

These residential courses are attended by over 1,000 students a year and the feedback from pupils and teachers alike is that they contribute to achieving higher grades.


We would just like to say a big thank you for Art GCSE weekend that we attended. It was brilliant and students thoroughly enjoyed the sessions and weekend. We were very impressed with the workshops and staff at the centre.” – Rainford High


Working with a number of the best creative practitioners from across the UK, our tailored CPD will support teachers in both primary and secondary settings with the skills, knowledge and confidence to understand how learning through and about the arts enriches pupil experience whilst at school, as well as preparing students for life after school.

Each session is carefully planned to support your school’s vision, or intent, as well as providing exemplar teaching materials for implementation in the curriculum: our CPD and INSET packages are often used by school clusters and MATs, venues include Tattenhall, Anglesey and the Williamson Art Gallery.

“It is simply the best CPD my colleagues and I have all year – and much of our teaching this week has had a ‘Menai twist’. The pupils obviously have come on leaps and bounds too.” St Gregory’s High, Helen Chappel Teacher

Please email to discuss how we can meet your specific requirements.

Young Artists in Tuscany

The Italian Art Education Tour is a highly successful A Level project, offering a unique opportunity to study and work in Tuscany, probably the most loved region of all Italy. Practical workshops run alongside organised visits to see the works of the Italian Renaissance artists.

Students use sketchbooks to record, from first- hand experience, their personal responses to the Renaissance works of art, thus developing their critical appraisal skills and adding to their knowledge and understanding of the theory and practice of art.

“Overall this trip is an irreplaceable experience which I will never forget. It has helped me to develop as an artist and bring confidence to my approach to work. I am so shocked and proud of the achievements I have made during this whole experience. This was not just as trip, but a life changing opportunity that I am so grateful for.”Lillie Ford, Bishop Heber High School.

Email to enquire

Cate Madden – Culture Lead

I was born in the Isle of Man and I am very proud of my Manx heritage and the inspired music in schools and at home which led me to become a member of folk groups, choirs and orchestras, as well as numerous stage performances.

Having moved with the Music Service from the Local Authority into Edsential, I am really excited to have been asked to review the cultural offer from our organisation, including the creative and performing arts in Edsential Residential Service. As designated Deputy Safeguarding Lead for Edsential as well as continuing my Advisory role, I am passionate about promoting engaging, safe activities for children and young people.

Read More

Having taken a degree in English and Drama at Chester University, I decided to pursue a career in teaching – despite numerous warnings from family members already involved in education! A PGCE in EYFS and Key Stage 1 at University College of Wales, Aberystwyth led to teaching posts in Cheshire and a recognition that although creative and performing arts mattered to schools, many teachers found delivering the arts curriculum a challenge. Having spent many years coordinating and specialising in delivering the music and the arts in primary schools, I was part of a regular school inspection which was judged provision to be outstanding: Music is a real strength of the school. Pupils sing beautifully, compose their own pieces of music, and have opportunities to learn to play a variety of instruments. Their performances are of remarkably high quality due to the high expectations of the specialist teacher.

As a result, I was seconded to Cheshire West and Chester Music Service where I worked for over five years. Within that time, I have supported practitioners still at University through to experienced Music Coordinators, delivered CPD and bespoke curriculum guidance, planned and delivered large scale music making and singing events for children in inspirational venues including the Bridgewater Hall and Chester Cathedral. In addition to supporting instrumental and vocal tutors in their work in school and at the various Music Centres where the ensembles rehearse, supporting schools’ music in Sefton and Knowsley (Sky Music Education Hub) and of course within Cheshire West and Chester and Wirral (Edsential Musical Routes Music Education Hub), I worked closely with Debbie Cottam, former Arts and Residential Lead to understand the current provision.  In order to ensure that the information and guidance I share with colleagues continues to be current, I am undertaking a Masters in Creative Practices in Education at the University of Chester. I also represent Edsential in the Local Community Education Partnerships, or LCEPs, an Arts Council initiative with direction provided by our bridge organisation, Curious Minds. In collaborating with local and national organisations to support and promote children’s and young people’s access to Arts and Cultural activities, Edsential is delighted to be working alongside our local and national arts providers, schools and families within the LCEPs in both Cheshire and Wirral; #CheshireLCEP and #WirralLCEP.

Please contact Cate Madden, Culture Lead, to discuss your setting’s needs; or call 07710 706 194
You can follow Edsential Culture on Twitter @Cate_Madden and on Instagram @EdsentialCulture