Project Planning

In planning and developing a project, it may be helpful to consider these steps.

Planning and developing a project

You also may find CAPE UK’s guide useful Working with Artists in your School: a Six-Step Guide for schools on how to commission an artist or arts organisation.

Exploring Expectations

The initial meeting with the artist, could be an opportunity to explain briefly how you are working with the Literacy and Numeracy Framework and explore ideas around how an arts initiative could provide an engaging context for applying and using the LNF skills.   

This initial meeting is also an opportunity to cover practical issues including child protection, enhanced disclosure, equal opportunities, health and safety, public liability insurance as well as any other relevant school policies - eg on managing behaviour and the timings / organisation of the school day. Read more about safeguarding in the resources section.

Drawing up the Project brief

Following the initial meeting, you may find it useful to have a project brief to clarify and agree the details and terms of the project with the artist.

Advise the artist about any specific learner special needs, behavioural issues, physical and learning requirements in advance, so that they can plan to accommodate these.

Project brief – checklist of areas to cover
  • Aims and objectives for all partners (What’s the purpose of this project?)
  • Brief project description (what you plan to do)
  • Length of project (start and end dates, frequency of contact time)
  • Background context (What’s the starting point for this group?)
  • Details of learners they will be working with (age range, group size, SEN pupils, ESOL pupils)
  • School staff members involved  (including the main named contact)
  • Project roles and responsibilities for artists and teachers (including management and co-ordination)
  • Venue /school teaching area(s) – including any planned visits off site
  • Available support & resources for the artist – (eg technical, practical, staff support, who will be responsible for providing which materials and resources?)
  • Project outcomes (event / exhibition / performance / sharing of work in progress)
  • Monitoring and evaluation plan Who will lead on this? How you plan to measure the project’s impact on learning? What will success look like?
  • Sustainability (plans to build on the work and skills the project generates)

Shared Understanding and Contracts

Some schools, arts organisations and artists use a contract. This formalises the project and sets out roles and responsibilities including copyright and rights. It can minimise misunderstandings and help resolve differences if they arise.

Even if you don’t have a formal contract, it may be useful to draw up a formal letter of engagement which confirms the key terms of the project.

It is worth investing time in getting the project brief and/or contract right to avoid problems later on into the project and to ensure that partners have a clear, shared understanding.

A contract generally includes:
  • names and addresses of the school and artist
  • the brief (key tasks / outline of the work the artist is being engaged for)
  • start and end dates
  • number of days per week/month the artist will work on the project
  • details of groups with which the artist will work – class size, age and ability range
  • location of work within or outside the school and times that space is available
  • outline of the artist’s contribution to the project including:

    - any time and space for artists to develop creative practice
    - building regulations
    - any artwork which is to be retained by the school
    - copyright and reproduction rights
    - credits and acknowledgements
  • name of school main contact in relation to this project
  • artist’s self-employed status and responsibilities for NI and income tax
  • arrangements for payment of artist’s fee
  • any other expenses to cover artist’s materials, expenses, equipment, travel, insurance cover, public liability
  • safeguarding (child protection) procedures
  • costs relating to final product /event and responsibilities for insurance (if appropriate)
  • procedure for early termination of project including outstanding fees
  • dated signatures of artist and school representative

Measuring Impact

When, how and who will evaluate the project should be agreed at the planning stage 



The project brief / project description may be useful to apply for funding from external agencies. For ideas of possible funding sources, see the relevant page in the resources zone.