FestivALL: Becontree Restart

FestivALL: Becontree RestartBarbican Creative Learning have partnered with The Sydney Russell School as part of our Associate Schools programme since 2016.

Throughout 2021 we developed an exciting programme of creative and cultural activities to celebrate the centenary of the Becontree Estate,  the largest council housing estate in Britain. This culminated in a co-produced festival called FestivALL: Becontree Restart, hosted by the school in autumn 2021.

FestivALL explored the 100 years of Becontree and unlock the potential of the future. The event was accessible to the local community and schools in the Barking and Dagenham area, providing a platform for creativity and showcasing local culture.

Over the course of the year, we supported students and teachers to develop content for the festival considering the past, present and future of the Becontree Estate.

Students became producers and designers of FestivALL, working with staff at Sydney Russell School, Barbican Creative Learning and professional artists to create content that will be presented as part of the event.

Planned work in the lead-up to the festival included a designed anthology featuring students’ reflections on lockdown, workshops for students focused on developing their digital skills, as well as a new permanent wall feature at the school inspired by the Becontree centenary.

More information about FestivALL: https://www.festivall.org.uk/


Barbican Creative Learning

Barbican Creative Learning pioneers new models for creative and cultural learning across the art forms. Our mission, Creative Skills for Life, underpins all aspects of our work and approach in the design and delivery of meaningful and impactful learning experiences across three strategic pillars: Education, Employability and Enrichment.

Every year, we deliver more than 40 programmes and events alongside 150 partners to over 29,000 participants. In order to achieve this, we build partnerships with teachers, artists, young people, schools and community organisations locally, nationally and internationally.



Associate Schools

Barbican Creative Learning’s Associate Schools programme involves a school-wide approach that inspires senior leaders and teachers to harness the power of creativity, and to widen access to the arts for all their students.

We partner with a small selection of schools over a three-year period to develop and deliver a range of activities, events and projects in each academic year – while working towards mutually-agreed objectives. The programme has a strong focus on co-creation in order to produce relevant and engaging learning experiences for staff and students, with the aim of incorporating creativity across the national curriculum. Our ambition for the programme is to embed an ethos of creative and cultural education within each Associate School that continues beyond the life of the programme itself.

Associate Schools 2019 – 2023

  • City of London Primary Academy Islington, Islington
  • New Regent’s College, Hackney
  • Whitefield Schools, Waltham Forest
  • The Sydney Russell School, Barking and Dagenham

To find out more about the Barbican’s Associate Schools programme please visit www.barbican.org.uk/take-part/schools-colleges/associate-schools


The Sydney Russell School

The Sydney Russell School is an all-through, EYFS to Year 13, co-educational comprehensive school in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. The school has 2519 students on roll, of which 19.57% are Pupil Premium and 16 out of 17 possible ethnic groups are represented. Graded Outstanding by OFTSTED, the school’s student outcomes are above the national average. They aim to deliver a carefully crafted curriculum which provides their students with the currency needed to succeed in later life.

The Sydney Russell School strive to develop the cultural capital and the character of their students, through providing a diverse experience with a range of opportunities which students may not have otherwise been able to access. They utilise a wide range of cultural opportunities to inspire and remove barriers to help students gain a true sense of self-worth and have the skills and knowledge in place to expand, reach and exceed their aspirations.