Factory International Schools is our pioneering year round partnership schools programme. Factory International Schools unlocks the artistic commissions happening at Aviva Studios with trips, artist workshops, performance opportunities, and a young people's festival which will take over Aviva Studios in June 2025.

Experienced, practicing artists deliver weekly interdisciplinary workshops in your school, linked to commissions happening at Aviva Studios, which are designed to improve young people’s wellbeing and social and emotional learning. The programme is designed to build aspiration, ambition and wellbeing with young people at risk.* Over the course of the year we track both attainment and attendance to see how improvements impact young people’s overall chances of making a successful transition to adulthood.

We develop long-term relationships with teachers and school communities, and offer a bespoke CPD programme to embed creativity in the classroom, with opportunities for teachers to work alongside some of the most exciting international artists and artistic commissions happening in the sector.

Our programme links directly to the commissions happening at Aviva Studios. This year, five partner schools and 181 young people have taken part in The Welcome, learnt about the themes and watched Danny Boyle’s interpretation of The Matrix Free Your Mind, and will also experience Jungle Book and WOW Manchester.

The programme culminates with a festival, co-designed with a collective of young people from each of the five schools and will include performances and public products such as zines, poetry, fashion and social action campaigns.

What do teachers and schools say?

  • “The impact this project has had on our young people has been huge. Its also raised attendance and attainment, it’s created a buzz around the school. The students that are involved feel really special and a huge part of the project.”

    Teacher at Melland High School

  • “Some students make sure that they’re never off school on a Thursday. That kind of attendance element of it is something that we hadn’t anticipated.”

    Deputy Head Teacher at Parrs Wood High School

  • "Teachers have left the session with some thoughts on how they might develop their curriculum design. It is a notable feature of Year 8 and all students in the Year are aware of session content and have been talking about it."

    Teacher, Falinge Park High School

What do young people say?

  • "I’ve learnt to just be confident because no one really cares about what you’re doing. It’s just about who you have in your close circle, that’s all that matters and just to be yourself because you can’t change who you are"

  • "School isn’t just about learning about subjects, it’s also about having more fun, expressing yourself and learning more social skills. You don’t learn that in other lessons, but Factory International, it teaches me to be more creative and is more in-depth"

  • "[I’ve learnt] Confidence, leadership and bravery. When I was in Y7 [last year], I couldn’t even speak[to classmate] like I wouldn’t even speak in front of you, I’d be nervous. Now I’ve spoken in assembly, so its really built my confidence, bravery and leadership"

What are the outcomes?

  • To improve young people’s wellbeing and enhance social and emotional learning
  • To build long lasting relationships with young people, teachers, and school communities
  • To build cultural capital for young people and schools
  • To expose students to creative careers & provide enrichment opportunities
  • To support teachers to embed creativity into the wider national curriculum through CPD


Each term young people will use creativity to build social and self-awareness, make responsible decisions, and improve relationship skills and self-management. The programme will scaffold towards a final celebration event led by young people for their peers to experience, supported by Factory International.

Factory International artists and facilitators will be embedded in partner schools one day per week of the academic year to deliver creative workshops. Sessions will explore social and emotional themes and art-forms linked to our wider programme, including performances and exhibitions.

Activity will support the national curriculum including creative writing, digital skills and citizenship. The sessions will be delivered by an experienced lead artist-facilitator and supporting artist-facilitator who’ll work with students throughout the entirety of the programme, ensuring young people build strong relationships. Facilitators will tailor learning to suit individual needs and interests.

Guest artists will also deliver workshops throughout the programme, exposing young people to familiar and new art forms, building creative skills, confidence and ambition.

We’ll work with each school to implement the programme into the timetable, to ensure it meets learners' needs and is on a path to achieving both the school’s and Factory International’s goals.

Young people will visit us a minimum of three times throughout the programme. Trips will include watching world-class performances, experiencing dress and tech rehearsals, and connecting with our wider team to understand what it’s like to have a career in the arts. Young people will have regular opportunities to perform and share their work at school, in the digital world and at our new home.

There will also be limited work experience opportunities for students at each partner school.

Schools will be expected to contribute to the cost of the programme, however the programme is heavily subsidised by Factory International. To arrange a meeting please complete our expression of interest form linked below. 

Factory International will:

  • Provide high-quality creative learning sessions on a weekly basis at the partner schools
  • Organise a minimum of three visits to Factory International across the course of the academic year
  • Provide opportunity for students to share work created on the programme
  • Provide a dedicated Creative Learning Manager to oversee the programme and be a point of contact
  • Provide a team of skilled artist facilitators with vast experience working with young people of varying needs
  • Conduct thorough evaluation throughout the programme, supported by BeeWell and the University of Manchester, to ensure the programme is achieving its outcomes
  • Offer work experience opportunities to partner schools
  • Support teachers to embed creativity and the arts into the curriculum 

Schools will need to:

  • Provide dedicated member/s of staff for the Creative Learning Manager to contact prior to and throughout the course of the programme
  • Provide a dedicated member of teaching staff to be present during all workshops
  • Provide a dedicated team of staff to accompany students on visits to Factory International
  • Organise and cover the cost of travel for students and staff when visiting Factory International
  • Provide weekly access to the selected students, in our targeted group
  • Provide a dedicated space for workshops to take place. The space must be appropriate to the workshop e.g. a sports hall/gym if delivering a movement session
  • Complete Factory International’s monitoring and evaluation processes, including access to student monitoring data
  • Support Factory International in gathering appropriate consent for student participation in the programme from parents and carers
  • Advocate for Factory International and the Factory International Schools programme with governors, staff, students, parents and carers

Facilitators will deliver two two-hour sessions one day per week of the academic year, with each partner school.

There are 20 spaces in each session meaning we engage 40 students in the core programme as we work with the same 40 students across the course of the year. The core group will be made up of students at risk of exclusion, passive learners as well as high achievers and a minimum of 50% of the group will be eligible for Pupil Premium.

We will also engage with the wider school through additional opportunities. Factory International Schools has been designed for KS3 students but can be adapted for KS4.

We’ve partnered with The University of Manchester and BeeWell to support the evaluation of the programme. A PhD student has joined the Factory International Schools team for a three-year period to support Factory International Schools evaluation in partnership with Factory International.

We will produce an annual report on wellbeing, social and emotional learning, attendance and attainment. We gather data at the start, middle and end of the program to see the value added in all of these areas and, together with UoM and BeeWell, we compare this data with other data sets across young people who are not participating.

The programme’s been designed around a CASEL social and emotional framework (SEL), which helps cultivate social skills that advance students’ learning and development and help young people make a successful transition towards adulthood.

Secondary Schools in Greater Manchester, including SEND and alternative provision.

We define an at risk young person as someone at risk of exclusion from school due to behaviour or attendance. 

Key dates

Online programme overview: Wednesday 20 March, 3.45–4.45pm and Thursday 18 April, 3.45–4.45pm

Individual school meetings: Tuesday 27 February – Friday 3 May

Expression of interest opens: Monday 26 February

Expression of interest closes: Friday 29 April

Factory International Schools programme delivered: September 2024 – July 2025

Express interest

To express interest in the programme and book an Online Programme Overview session or Individual School Meeting please complete our expression of interest form.


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