Ideas Factory: 25th Year Schools Challenge

Published: 7th March 2019

Callout for Five Primary Partner Schools for Ideas Factory

We are looking for five primary schools across South Tyneside to take part in a funded project. This would be FREE provided your school can meet the commitment to the project.

Since opening as an arts centre twenty-five years ago, The Customs House has been a place where the arts come to life. Ideas are made into plays, exhibitions and inspiring experiences.  The Customs House often give young people in our borough their first experience the arts though pantomime. But the building has a longer history and was formerly a working customs house contributing to the wider development of the town.

To celebrate our anniversary, we want to create an outdoor public artwork looking exploring the idea of moving from being makers of things to makers of ideas. Five classes of Key Stage 2 pupils (ideally from five schools across the borough) will work with a member of our Learning and Participation team to complete this inspiring project.

More About The Project

Each class will have 1 full day workshop where we find out a little bit about the history of The Customs House in the past and its role in South Tyneside today. We will each produce a range of observational, imaginative and collaborative drawings.

Once each school has completed their drawings they will be combined into a digital collage. We have indicative permission to display a large artwork roughly 5.8m by 4.3m on the walk from the Shields ferry over the Summer holidays on the quayside. This would remain on display over the summer holiday.

Your Commitment

  • You can work to the timeframe published below.
  • A teacher will be present throughout the session.
  • The teacher will take photos throughout the day and share a selection of images with The Customs House for us to share online and in print to talk about our work.
  • You will commit to bringing a small number of pupils to The Customs House for a photograph when the project is complete.


We are looking to complete the children’s workshop in the week of the 10th to 15th June 2019s is to allow digitisation of all the drawings and for the printers to manufacture the large-scale artwork to be installed before the end of term. We aim to install the artwork would be installed before the end of term and it will be de-installed mid/late September 2019.


Project Outcomes

Learners will:

  • Introduce the joy of creating collaboratively to a class in your school;
  • Increase their knowledge and understanding of The Customs House role now and in the past;
  • Improve their visual literacy skills and demonstrate the ability to draw for different purposes;
  • Allow every child in the class to enjoy and achieve in the arts.

Additionally, we think this project will raise the profile of your school in the local area, be a great way to engage your children’s parents and carers AND could be used as evidence for any Artsmark Award your school maybe undertaking.

Plus it will be lots of fun!

I hope this illustration gives you a better idea of our proposal…

Monetary Value

The production and installation of the artwork is approximately £1000. full day workshop in school with Discover Arts Award is £400

So the monetary value of this work the selected partner schools is approximately £600.


How to Register Your Schools Interest

To indicate you wish to take part please email Elizabeth Kane Learning Officer

Please include:

  1. Your school name, class teachers name, year group, number of learners (max 32), and details of any additional needs so we can make sure our project is appropriate.
  2. Indicate which dates you would be able to take part… the more flexibility the more likely we are able to accommodate you.
  3. Please let us know why you would like to take part e.g. to support our Artsmark ambitions, to engage pupils who are disadvantaged, to further develop our relationship with The Customs House. Ideally this should be as a quote from the class teacher or member of SLT. We would like to use this quote to talk about the work with The Customs House e-newsletter subscribers and online.


If the Project Is Oversubscribed

If we have more than 5 schools indicate they wish to take part we select based on the following criteria.

  • When expression of interest was received;
  • Commitment and flexibility to the project;
  • Potential impact of deepening partnerships for young people and The Customs House.


Aspirational Extras!

Depending on the outcome of a pending funding bid we would also like to include:

  • A celebration event bringing the classes together. This would happen in July when the artwork is installed;
  • We would love to deliver a Discover Arts Award as part of this project. If the bid isn’t successful, we could talk about what this might cost if the school was able to pay.

We would keep any partner schools informed of the outcome of this bid and whether these additional elements are possible.


Thanks to Richard Barber at South Tyneside Council for his guidance on securing permission for this project and support.


We hope we’ve covered any questions you may have but if not please email