Who Are We?
Sparks Film and Media Arts is the UK’s leading provider of film and media activities for children and young people.
We provide fun and engaging filmmaking classes and workshops, from our film schools in London and around the UK.
Our weekly filmmaking classes help young filmmakers to develop their skills, grow in confidence and expand their imaginations. Our fun holiday camps promote creativity and help introduce children to the joy of making movies.
We have a unique programme of activities for children and teenagers. Our programmes are underpinned by Project Based Learning educational methodologies and focus on child-led creativity.
We’re Ofsted registered and committed the highest standards in safety and wellbeing.
Sparks Film and Media Arts started out 10 years ago. (We have a 10th birthday party on standby, we’re just waiting for Covid-19 to clear the way!).
The company was founded by Dan Farrell and Donna Bamford, who still lead the company today.
In 2010 – back then, we were known as Studio Film School – we began with just 9 children on a Saturday morning. Soon we were soon welcoming more than 100 children weekly to film classes.
In 2014, we opened our second school in Highgate. This was quickly followed by several more. Today, we have a growing network of film schools across London and Surrey. We have plans to establish film schools all over the UK and soon expect to have classes on offer all over the UK.
“We wanted to create a fun, engaging space for children to tell their own stories using film and media.
We both treasured the experiences we were involved in as children. Our participation in drama, dance and theatre classes was a huge part of our lives. It led to us both working professionally within the arts.
Film training wasn’t available to us growing up, however, early in our careers, we found ourselves working more and more with film and video. We quickly saw how much potential was emerging, we felt truly inspired. With new available technologies, we realised there was a real opportunity to engage with film and media in a way that was never possible before, especially for children.
We set out to combine our passion for creative education with film and media activities. Our aim was to create opportunities for young people to discover filmmaking and to share their ideas. We wanted to offer a space for the creators of tomorrow to develop their voices and their skills.
We focused on creating the right environments, and the right experiences to support creative learning and development. Over the years, it’s become a bit of a recipe for success. Ten years on, we’re in awe of how much Sparks has grown. We’re thrilled to work with a wonderful team, as well as such an incredible membership of young filmmakers, who continue to inspire us every day.”
Our unique approach prioritises child-led creativity. Our activities are underpinned by educational methodologies including Project Based Learning and Mantle of the Expert, which we use to facilitate learning, skills development and confidence.
We believe that every child has their own unlimited creative potential. We also understand that everybody learns in different ways.
Our inclusive approach focuses on using real projects and practical experiences. It allows every child to contribute and to gain in skills, all whilst having fun and enjoying the process. It’s highly engaging and creates a strong impact on learning and development.
All our activities are ‘hands on’. Our members immerse themselves in the experience and learn by doing and taking on responsibilities.
We use small class sizes, along with high staff ratios, to make sure that every child receives personalised attention. We try to get to know each young filmmaker well.
All our instructors are well-qualified and carefully trained. Everyone is DBS-checked and receives specialist training in how to deliver our programme. We don’t use volunteers*. We strongly believe in using qualified professional instructors, who deserve to be paid properly for their skills.
* We welcome work experience placements, where the student is looking to gain practical skills to support coursework or schemes such as the Duke of Edinburgh Awards. These are usually Sparks members, or students on educational placements from selected university partners. Placement students are always in addition to our regular team, they are never responsible for supervision or learning.
Sparks Communities is a Community Interest Company, which undertakes work with children and young people who face disadvantages in their lives.
We engage and support participants who may feel excluded from or underrepresented within arts activities.
There is a special emphasis on work that improves inclusivity, work that improves life chances and projects that improve youth mental health and wellbeing.
Through these activities, we fulfil social and community objectives that are important to us.
We help to build confidence and aspirations, as well as develop valuable skills for the future. We aim to give children and young people a safe space to express their voice, share their experiences and interact with the world in new and interesting ways.
Our Communities work is supported through contributions from our main operations at Sparks Film and Media Arts. We also receive support through organisational partnerships, charitable trusts and foundations.
Policies & Official Info: Sparks Film and Media Arts
Frequently Asked Questions
Find the answers to lots our FAQs below.
Here you can find lots of official info, including our policies and registrations.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for, then please contact us.
Sparks Film & Media Arts, Floor 3, 86-90 Paul Street, London, EC2A 4NE
Policies & Official Documents: