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Story so far......

Get to Know Arts In Action

Arts in Action was originally birthed in 2015 when I begun facilitating some Home-ed workshops in homes of friends and was commissioned to run some thematic based workshops in schools alongside a part time teaching post. I started prepping to come out of mainstream teaching full time.... However I had a slight detour when I was offered the opportunity the be part of a team setting up a brand new school, where I could build a department from the ground and implement my own curriculum design... and so... I ended up back 'in school'. I spent 7 years building a thriving Art and Photography department for 11-18's. It was a fantastic opportunity in a school where the arts were valued and the Head was supportive and trusted my curriculum development. I learnt a lot building everything from scratch, was highlighted by Ofsted for responsive and differentiated teaching and learning practices, 'where learning was most effective', I met some amazing young people along the way, with a record number going to art school and into creative careers. I am privileged in being able to continue to walk alongside several pervious students and have been able to employ a number on different projects as they work their way through Art School or University, and enter the work place as Artists.


 In August 2022 I felt it was time to finally take the plunge  and dip my toe in the the possibilities of finally 'ending' a 20 year teaching career, and began taking on community contracts, art social action projects,  commissions and private students alongside my teaching contract, with a 12 - 24 month 'transition-plan' ....... Things took off slightly quicker than I expected, when I was awarded several community and social action commissions within the first month of dipping my toe in! Things fast tracked and I was able to leave teaching 'in school' withing 4 months  not 24! Fully launch Arts In Action in Jan 2023! 


Early 2023 I also began to I set up the charitable side of AIA, 'Arts In Action CIO' a Community Interest Organisation,  I was providing free sessions that promoted well-being, community-voice, confidence building, and personal development to diverse groups within the community and I could see a huge need for more opportunities as waiting lists grew. Many of the people where need was greatest are not in the position to  be able to pay for sessions...and I... was not in the position to fund everything personally indefinitely .So the charity was born! Constitutions written and policies in place along with a Board of Trustees (Below) we are just waiting for our confirmed charity number at present. 

Arts in Action:

One organisation, three strands!

Arts In Action CIO (Charity):

AIA CIO provides free community and social action projects  for communities, children and young people and will soon launch into projects with vulnerable women.  

Arts In Action (Freelance):

  • Arts education consultations, resources, programs and schemes of learning for educational establishments, galleries and museums.

  • Private commissions and community programs for Arts Organisations, County Council, Public Health, university community schemes, schools work, SEND organisations/ schools, charities and much more. Specialising in theme based projects, responsive projects and co-creation.

  • Art and Faith workshops

Arts In Action Education (Freelance):

  • A Home-Education Arts Program. Face to Face and online. Including thematic projects and skill building 4-16, Pre-Gcse  ( KS3) Skill building programs and Private GCSES/ A-levels in Art, Photography , Graphics, Textiles, Art-craft-&-design and 3D design. 

  • Private 1-2-1 tutoring including Cambridge Online level 1-3  courses.

  • Private adult sessions ( coming soon hopefully !)

 Who's who?


Heidi Pendergrast

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I  am married to Don and we have 3 biological children, but brough up 4. Some of our children are currently home-educated and some are in school. I have a BA Hons Degree in Visual Studies (Multi-discliplinary) from The Norwich School of Art (NUA)  My work  focussed on  instillation and sculptural pieces often with sound that were designed for public spaces, sensory  interactive sculpture and art that focussed on talking about taboos in society, raising the profile of charities and causes world wide, from domestic violence, child soldiers in Uganda and global poverty. Other work included textile and photographic, co-creation artworks with children abroad and in the uk which  went on a touring exhibtion.  At the end of my degree I was chosen by the 

British Arts Council to be exhibited along with 20 others from across the UK in their graduate 'Platform' program. After the initial program and exhibition I was lucky enough to be  offered a large grant to work as an artist and a mentoring program by The Arts Council in London... however  being far too sensible (stupid) at the time I turned this down as I had been accepted in to Cambridge  University for my Post-Graduate PGCE/MEd course in Arts Education at Homerton College and  Faculty of Education. (These days I advise my students to grasp every opportunity as they have time to be sensible when they are older!)

Cambridge set me up for a solid teaching career, being recognised as the 'best' teaching school in the UK and 4th globally.  I'm still not sure how the dyslexic, free-school meals, council estate, Norfolk gal' who sounded like a farmer swung a place at Cambridge...I can assure you that it certainly wasn't due to my elocution and grammer!  And 20 years passed in schools.

During the 20 years, I also set up community projects that were reaching up to 480 families a week and which won awards, and continued running projects in Uganda for several years.

In my last teaching post I was part of a small team that set up a brand new school for children 11-18. I developed an outstanding department that saw ALL children reaching their full potential, especially those who experienced difficulties and set-backs, where children with SEN needs and boys thrived ( which has become quite rare in schools these days) along side the high achievers and young ladies who usually fill art departments across the UK. Results were among some of the highest in the UK even though our children came coming from an area experiencing high levels of deprivation, students in YR 11 & 13 every year surpassed many private and grammar schools.


Alongside this for some years I have run workshops for Home-Educating families and been involved in community projects, social action and faith based arts having originally planned to develop Arts In action back in 2016 finally taking the full leap in 2022/23!  I am now also running projects for Friction Arts ( Children In need funding) Warwickshire Arts & Heritage ( Public Health funded) Arts Connect and others. I also finally am able to develop more of my own artistic practice... I have a love for ceramics and mixed this space!


 Chair of Trustees

Don Pendergrast

Is a internationally recognised Agricultural Scientist and Manager , Don  has been on the board of several charitites and set up several in the past for different groups. He is Chair of Govenors at a local school.

James has his own accountancy firm and  is married to Jayne. He is an experienced trustee and sits on the boards of several charities and organisations. In his spare time he helps run a Tech team at a local church and enjoys hiking.

James Rose 


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Leah is an International  Author and  speaker and  is married to Dave and has home educated 4  children. She  is the founder of Modern Miss Mason.  Leah runs workshops, conferences and mentoring through Modern Miss Mason. You can check out her books and programs HERE.

Leah Boden



Beth Sayers

Beth is married to Jon and is a home educator and experienced adopter to 5 beautiful  children. She is the founder of a successful group and has been a ambassador for Home For Good, an adoption charity. She has a excellent understanding of SEND needs, Autism and attachment .

Workshop Assistant

Bethany Sweatman

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Workshop Assistant

Maarriyah Jamil

Workshop Assistant

Alison Hendry

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Workshop Assistant


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Workshop Assistant 

Work experience

Reuben Pendergrast

Workshop Assistant

Maya Evans

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