Case Studies

Leeds Art Gallery

Key Stage 1 and 2 (ages 5 – 11)

An original painting, On the Move by Jack Butler Yeats, is loaned to a local primary school where it stimulates ideas for colour, poetry, music and public performance.

  • Pupils became far more confident in using language and metaphor, including comprehension
  • Pupils now actively choose poetry over other forms of creative writing
  • Student behaviour has dramatically improved

Leeds Art Gallery is an international centre for modern and contemporary art that celebrates and explores creativity in Leeds with free access to exhibitions. Founded in 1888, the gallery is nationally significant with a collection of 19th, 20th and 21st century British painting and sculpture, alongside contemporary work and other media widely considered to be the best outside the national collections.

The school and gallery worked with poet Helen Mort and flamenco guitarist Samuel Moore, with participation from the whole of Stanningley Primary School including five families acting as ambassadors for the school community.

After considering several paintings from the gallery’s permanent collection, the pupils voted to borrow On the Move by Jack Butler Yeats and have it professionally hung in their school. Helen helped Year 5 classes write their own poems using colour from the painting as a starting point, and to work together as a team to write a collective poem. This was set to music and performed by Helen and Samuel to a packed hall of children and their families in the school. A second performance was held in Leeds Art Gallery.

Leeds Art Gallery
Gallery leads
Amanda Phillips (Education) Nigel Walsh (curator)
Creative Practitioners
Helen Mort (writer) Samuel Moore (musician)
Stanningley Primary School, Pudsey
Lead teachers
Susie Pritchatt and Jody Soames
Year 5
Number of participants
  • art on loan
  • families
  • poetry

Resource produced

On the Move

Short film

A short film demonstrates ways of raising literacy skills and confidence for year 5 pupils and their families, with the help of a well-known writer/poet, a flamenco musician and a prestigious painting.

Want to explore a creative approach to literacy?

  • Ask your local museum or gallery if they have a loans scheme for original artworks: involve school representatives of all ages in the selection
  • Bring literacy off the page and raise the confidence of your pupils by supporting it with art, drama, music
  • Use the project to engage not only pupils but also families and raise attainment in the process

Explore more ideas in the resources

Explore other case studies

Kettle’s Yard

Key Stage 1 and 2 (ages 5 – 11)

Maritime artworks and a unique domestic collection inspire year 3 pupils to create messages in bottles and lead family tours. Long term partnerships benefit the whole community.

  • developing vocabulary
  • EAL
  • writing for audience

BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art

Key Stage 3 (ages 11 – 14)

A major exhibition is the stimulus for bookmaking, guided writing, printing and random poetry, and an alternative audio guide for the venue is voiced by year 7 students.

  • exhibition
  • mixed ability
  • visual impairment

York Art Gallery

Key Stage 3 (ages 11 – 14)

An evocative statue of a bleeding young boy is the starting point for year 9 students to explore storytelling, poetry and playwriting through drama and wordplay.

  • creative literacy
  • empathy
  • five senses
  • role play

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