The photography session in school

Frequently asked questions

Where will the photography session take place?

The photography session needs to take place in the school hall so when you book, please do make sure you have checked the hall will be available without interruptions for the duration or the session. A large space is necessary as the photographer needs to be at least 30 feet from the children for the photo and some of the session activities need more space than is available in a classroom filled with tables. Please note, where schools have tried to use a shared space or share the hall for the session, children have found it difficult to focus and get the most out of the session.

How long is a photography session?

A typical photography session is 30-45 minutes long for each class with sessions in Special Schools being between 20-30 minutes. In addition, the photographer needs 15 minutes to set up before the children arrive. For a three-form entry school for example, this means the hall needs to be available without interruptions for between 1 hour 45 minutes and 2 hours 30 minutes.

What happens in the photography session?

During the session, the photographer will:

  • introduce the project
  • discuss photography including children’s experience of photography and how we ‘read’ a photo
  • play a drama game linked to the themes of the artwork
  • take the class photo
  • answer children’s questions about the project and photography. If you have time, it would be great if you could show the video before the session to children so they are ready with questions for the photographer.

For Special Schools, we will liaise with you to ensure a session that meets the needs of your children.

Do all the Year 3 classes need to come to the hall together?

No, each class will have a separate session with the photographer. We will agree a timetable with the school’s lead contact, who can then pass this information on to Year 3 class teachers. An example morning for a three-form entry school would be:

  • 9.15 – Photographer sets up in the hall before children arrive
  • 9.30 – First class photography session
  • 10.15 – Break
  • 10.30 –Second class photography session
  • 11.15 – Third class photography session
  • 12.00 – Finish

Can all the Year 3 classes be involved in my school and what happens when there is a mixed Year 3/4 class?

Yes, we’d love for schools to register for the full year group, and where mixed year 3 and 4 groups are taught they too can take part as a whole class. For special schools, Year 3 children from different classes can be brought together for a single class photo.

Will teaching staff be included in the Class Photograph?

Yes. We want the class teacher to appear in the Class Photograph alongside their pupils. The class teacher will remain responsible for supervising the pupils during the session itself and all teaching and support staff involved with the class will be invited to be part of the Class Photograph. There is a staff consent form that will need to be signed and stored securely at school alongside pupil consent forms.

Can interested staff who are not working with Year 3 be in the photograph?

It’s essential that staff and SLT are enthusiastic and supportive, however, the Class Photograph will only be taken of Year 3 pupils and their current teacher, teaching and learning support assistants.

Does the class teacher need to stay for the whole session?

Yes. The class teacher will remain responsible for supervising the pupils during the session itself and all teaching and support staff involved with the class will be invited to be part of the Class Photograph. Children cannot be left with Tate Year 3 Project staff at any time during the workshop and must always be supervised by a member of staff from the school.

Where class teachers have taken an active part in the photography discussion and activities, the children have got much more out of the session, particularly those with EAL or SEND. It has also helped teachers maximise the learning from the session by planning follow up activities, whether they are simply continuing the discussion started in the session, writing letters to Steve McQueen or using the free learning resources available on the website.

What if a child chooses not to be in the photograph?

Tate and A New Direction staff will be sensitive to any child who does not want to be included in the photograph even if parental consent has been obtained by the schools. Project staff are not in a position however, to assume a duty of care directly over children and your school will be responsible for informing the photographer about which children cannot be included in the photograph. Children who choose not to be in the photograph can still take part in the session activities.

Can pupils still participate in a session if their parents / carers don’t consent to the Class Photograph?

It is anticipated that in every class there will be pupils who may not be able to be photographed. We will make sure there will be ways they can take part in the discussion and activities so they feel fully included in the session even if they are not in the photograph, during which they can act as photographer’s assistants.

Should children wear their school uniform for the photograph?

Schools should follow their uniform policy and can choose for children to wear uniform with logos, or sweatshirts where that’s a preference. Please note that if booking a photography session on World Book Day, Christmas Jumper day or other non-uniform days, pupils will need to change into their normal school uniform for the Class Photograph.

What will we need to do to prepare for the Photography visit?

The most important things to do in advance would be to:

  • Check you have uninterrupted use of the school hall for your session
  • Make sure Year 3 staff are available to take an active part in the session
  • Follow the consent process using Tate Year 3 Project forms and on the day, make sure Year 3 class teachers are clear on who has and hasn’t got consent before the session starts
  • Show the introductory video to each class
  • Put two benches in the hall.
  • Let your office staff who to expect and when

Have a look on the website to find out more about the requirements and how to prepare and make the most of your session.

What if the children have more questions about the Tate Year 3 Project or for Steve McQueen after the session has finished?

If the children have more questions, you can either email them to or post them to:

Tate Year 3 Project
A New Direction
3rd Floor
20–26 Brunswick Place
London N1 6DZ