About dot-art Schools

dot-art Schools is an interactive, online, inter-school, art competition, taking place annually and culminating in a public exhibition of the winning artworks and prize giving celebration for teachers, students and their families. The competition is open to all Primary (Year 5) and Secondary (Year 9) and SEND schools in the six boroughs of Liverpool City Region. It is designed to nurture talent, raise aspiration and take art out of the classroom into the real world. Set up in 2012 in response to demand from local schools and the side-lining of the arts in the curriculum, to date over 11,500 children have taken part.

dot-art Schools celebrates and showcases visual arts
excellence in schools.

Download dot-art Schools leaflet

Why take part?

Art is the perfect way for students to process their thoughts and feelings when trying to make sense of the pandemic. Participating in dot-art Schools  provides a key part of that recovery process.

The positive impact of our programme on students’ mental health and well-being has been proven.  Research carried out by Liverpool Hope University and Curious Minds showed that taking part in dot-art Schools  nurtures children and young peoples’ creativity and boosts their confidence. We learnt that the students gain a measurable sense of self-respect from the process. ​ ​​

Participating in the competition can also raise students’ aspirations and engage student’s families. We know that the pandemic has increased the disadvantage gap markedly; engaging with dot-art Schools helps build valuable cultural capital in students.


  1. Contributes to a broad and balanced curriculum which builds pupils’ cultural capital (included in the new Education Inspection Framework)
  2. Increase pupil’s self-esteem, particularly important with the growing mental health crisis facing young people, which has been magnified during lockdown.
  3. Help close the disadvantage gap, which has been significantly widened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  4. Raise your school’s profile regionally and demonstrate the school’s commitment to arts and creativity
  5. Fantastic opportunity to showcase your student’s artwork outside school
  6. Compare standards of artwork with other schools across the region, online and in a gallery setting.
  7. Improve students’ confidence in their own ability and give a real sense of pride
  8. Great way to engage student’s families through the public vote, exhibition and prize giving ceremony.
  9. Demonstrate the quality of artwork produced to students’ families and the wider community
  10. Support your Artsmark journey and help meet Gatsby benchmarks, OFSTED and National Curriculum attainment targets

“The dot art schools programme has reached out to particularly deprived communities, in a manner that is not only inclusive but that has brought out the very best that these communities have to offer, resulting in, at primary level, schools in highly deprived areas being far more successful than their affluent peers. This is undoubtedly evidence that the cultural capital of these participants has been significantly increased.”​ 

Liverpool Hope University, CERI Researcher

Boost student’s self esteem

“It’s a nice way to celebrate our pupils work and for them to receive acknowledgement for the work they’ve done. I think the awards ceremony is fantastic for boosting their self-esteem getting them out of their comfort zone to go.” ​

SEN teacher ​from participating school

Engage student’s families

“Well done Tayla from her proud mum. Thank you so much to Gateacre School and dot art for giving her the platform to express herself.”

Lisa Mairs, Parent

Nurture creative talent

“Cultural education programmes are so important in nurturing new artists that will become the next generation of artists that builds and progresses the country’s creative industries. The dot-art competition is a fantastic platform for young people to showcase their work.”

Vikki Merriman, Arts Council England


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