During Covid-19 restrictions we are continuing to find innovative ways to creatively connect primary school children with older care home residents on the Isle of Wight.

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School Ties art display for care homes

“Thank you so much for the exhibition board, the children’s contributions are so lovely and our residents have really appreciated the artwork and the letters.”

Brighstone Grange care home


School Ties poem




Schoolroom in a Care Home

"Not only were the staff and residents friendly and accommodating, the children were on top form! The children and residents were engaged and the conversations between them were an absolute joy!

"Thank you for organising and managing the morning. It was so well prepared and the delivery was spot on. When we returned to school, the children shared their experiences with their classes."
C Edmonds, Year 1 teacher, Queensgate Primary School


Our successful 2018 Schoolroom in a Care Home pilot project was extended to more care homes and schools in 2019-2020, under the name School Ties. Please contact us if you are a school or care home interested in taking part.

About School Ties

Independent Arts (IA) are behind an ambitious new project, School Ties, that aims to put the Isle of Wight at the forefront of intergenerational care by introducing school rooms in care homes.

In 2018 Independent Arts ran a pilot project, Schoolroom in a Care Home, where 10 primary school children regularly had lessons in a care home.

After just 12 weeks the results were astounding, care home residents felt a range of improvements from increased physical mobility, improved communication and enhanced feelings of self-worth.

For the children the results were equally impressive with teachers rating 100% strong improvements in all children over seven criteria including sensitivity, behaviour, confidence and expressive skills.

The school subsequently scored an improved Ofsted rating with the report highlighting: ‘Learning in lessons is enhanced successfully by events and activities that raise awareness of the wider world.’

After the success of the initial pilot project, IA have just secured funding from the Big Lottery and will introduce this concept to more schools and care homes across the Island.

Kerry Tindall, Programme Manager, says:

“We will be working with five care homes and schools this year, doubling to ten by 2020.

“We know from our own experience and research that this concept really works.

“Ideally, Independent Arts would like to create an easily replicated blueprint for intergenerational care on the Isle of Wight, improving the quality of adult residential care and enhancing education to transform lives both young and old.”

The Isle of Wight was recently highlighted for poor adult residential care ranking 47 out of 47 for its residential, nursing and home care services, this was based on the Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection ratings.

Similarly education has hit the spotlight with figures from the Department of Education showing 46 per cent of 16-year-olds failed to pass their English and maths GCSE a figure well below the national average.

Kerry finished by saying,

“This inspirational project has the potential to address some serious issues we face here and actually put the Island in the spotlight for creative, affordable solutions that positively change lives and that is at the heart of Independent Arts.”

Get involved

If you are interested in your school or care home taking part in this exciting project please contact us.

2019 Summer Term!

  • 10 sessions of workshops were delivered at both Victoria House and The Orchards care homes.
  • The children planted up fruit and veg plants and flower planters, with the residents sharing their gardening knowledge.
  • The children learned about the seed cycle and produced a beautiful textile book with artist Mandy Bangerter, showing the growth of a sunflower.
  • With assistance from residents and staff the children did some sewing for the first time, which they excelled at.
  • Children and residents have been learning Makaton sign language together and inocorporating the signs into various stories and songs.
  • One child talked about their visits to the care home so much that his family organised an additional visit at the weekend!
  • The residents have loved sharing the sessions with the children and have been instrumental in developing the children's confidence.

About the 2018 pilot project

Independent Arts launched a progressive new project running a weekly school room in a care home where school children and homes’ residents learn alongside one another in a highly creative and mutually supportive environment.

Independent Arts has been developing links with Dover Park Primary School, Ryde, for some years, running creative collaborations with pupils from Years 2 and 3 and residents from Cornelia Heights residential home. This new project was more ambitious in that it involved a group of Reception-aged children visiting the home once a week for a whole morning of creative lessons alongside residents over a 12-week pilot period during Spring and Summer 2018.

The idea of running a school in a care home is not new one, and some ground-breaking work has already been done in this field in the US. The benefits for both groups are obvious. Not that long ago children were regularly cared for by the older members of their families, and yet today, with more pressures on families, children are increasingly being put into after school clubs and day care settings to cover the gaps.

Spending time with the elderly, children learn very early on to be accepting, tolerant and compassionate, all necessary skills for ensuring a caring, inclusive society. They can also be shown new perspectives, and benefit from the wisdom of so many years of lived experience. 

Similarly, the elderly who are often the most isolated in the community have the opportunity, once again, to play an extremely important developmental role, providing the stability and ballast that children need to feel secure and to develop confidence as they grow up.

Independent Arts put together a carefully devised creative programme for this project across the twelve-week pilot phase. As well as enjoying, lessons in art, music, poetry and story-telling, residents and pupils worked together on an indoor garden and learned Makaton sign language together.  

With such an incredible age range (the youngest pupil being 4 and the oldest being 94) the lesson content is a constant surprise. In week one, during a Makaton signing class, resident Ron introduced the children to the V sign for victory telling them that it had been "invented by a very great man called Winston Churchill during WWII".

By the end of the 12-week pilot project:

  • 80% of the children were better able to adjust their behaviour and take changes in situations in their stride.
  • 80% of residents showed an improvement in mood.
  • 100% of children showed more sensitivity to others' needs.
  • 60% of residents showed improved dexterity.

Schoolroom in a Care Home

School Ties

Schoolroom in a Care Home

Schoolroom in a Care Home

For more information please
contact us

School Ties: lunchtime

Shared lunchtime at the care home.

Schoolroom in a Care Home

Schoolroom in a Care Home

Schoolroom in a Care Home

Schoolroom in a Care Home

Schoolroom in a Care Home

Schoolroom in a Care Home

The children and care home residents enjoy a whole range of activities together, from music and movement, art, felt-making, poetry and story-telling, gardening and learning sign language.


Independent Arts' innovative school room project featured in an article on the Carehome.co.uk website (July 4 2018). Read it here.