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Magpie Designs works consistently within educational settings, and has done since we began. Why schools? Easy – young people themselves are just pure creativity and in our experience, education and learning is an exchange that serves everyone who participates.

Our approach when we work with students and educators is to draw from our experience and knowledge to then share our professional design and illustration-based practices through developing effective and engaging approaches to creativity. We’ve gone on some remarkable journeys with our co-creators, made all the more enjoyable for never knowing the destination at the time. The journey into creativity itself allows the young participants to attain things vital to their overall development, including confidence, knowledge and pride. It also helps them to find a clearer creative voice. They bring their enthusiasm and an abundance of ideas and we in turn respond by providing an informed path, leading to practical and sustaining outcomes. It’s been invaluable for both the teachers in the schools we’ve worked in, and ourselves, to step back from a place of knowing and instead just trust in the students’ instincts. One things for sure – we’ve certainly learned a thing or two from working with them.

Over the years we’ve been able to deliver a wide range of projects with students and teachers across all Key Stages. Here’s a selection of some of the benefits and outcomes created with young people to date:

• A hugely successful 500k regeneration project in north London which saw 35 businesses receive new signage and facades informed by designs generated by two KS4 classes in two local schools. Delivery of a BTEC in Art and Design for the participants was included as part of the work and students got to see their ideas made real on their local high street.

• An engaging 10-minute interactive animation comprised of student-generated artwork, examining cultural diversity from a KS1 class.

• Working with a group of 20 KS2 students identified as having dyslexia and/or dyspraxia to combine elements of their local area, maths and the importance of rules through the designing and building of board games.

• Exploring how visual narratives and storytelling could help a group of KS3 students with literacy and communication needs extend their ability to express themselves. A blog was set up for teaching participants to generate ideas on cross- curricular sharing. Many of the participating student’s saw their level of self-expression and confidence boosted, resulting in better attendance and engagement with their literacy work.

• Facilitating a series of large-scale paintings and an imaginary bestiary book created by two KS2 classes in response to a green space in their school. Students explored pattern, scale and colour, which in turn improved their aesthetic appreciation. The paintings were then permanently mounted in the space.

• Working with twenty students across various ages, each with significant emotional and behavioural needs, to help create computer based graphics for use in a movie project. The experience help facilitate better group dynamics than had previously existed.

• A hardback book showcasing individually designed and printed t-shirts in accompaniment to the views on life of a class of KS3 students.

• Delivery of workshops on illustration techniques with an entire KS3 year group centered around Aesop’s Fables.

• An exploration of design and typography working with two KS3 classes, resulting in three 8 x 4 foot signs, permanently mounted, welcoming visitors to the school. The work then became a focal point for developing a stronger school brand.

• Co-facilitating the creation and design of a monthly school newsletter made entirely by KS2 students.

• A mural, measuring 100 x 8 feet created with an entire primary school and local community . All 600 students along with the staff and some parents contributed to the work, which was then mounted in a local community space to coincide with a regeneration project.