Ofsted investigation calls for wider roll-out of Creative Partnerships scheme.
An investigation by the Governments schools inspectorate has recommended that the scope of the Creative Partnerships programme should be expanded so that more pupils have the opportunity to work with a creative practitioner. The survey, carried out by Ofsted, examined the impact Creative Partnerships was having on children in schools involved in the first phase of the scheme. Inspectors visited a total of 39 schools in six areas across England Kent, London East, Merseyside, Nottingham, Slough and the Tees Valley and found that the programme was generating good creative approaches and positive attitudes [among] teachers, school leaders and creative practitioners, while raising the personal and social skills of pupils.
The report found that Creative Partnerships has so far started over 5,000 projects and worked with more than 300,000 young people in over 1,600 schools. Projects were generally found to be having a positive impact on schools with pupils benefitting from their contact with creative practitioners, often developing an ability to improvise, take risks and collaborate with others. The report cites evidence that pupils literacy, numeracy and information and communication technology skills all improved as a result of learning through Creative Partnerships programmes. Inspectors found that many of the Creative Partnerships projects had resulted in changed attitudes and behaviours, and the demonstration of creative approaches to work. Particular attention was paid to the schemes impact on disaffected pupils, many of whom were inspired and given high aspirations for the future.
However, the report acknowledged that some projects lacked focus and clarity. Arts practitioners were occasionally uncertain about pupils starting points and pupils were sometimes unclear about how to apply the skills they had developed through the arts activity. While noting the effect on pupils key skills, the report found that, for many pupils, the greatest impact was felt in terms of their personal and social skills, particularly in terms of collaboration with peers and maturity in their relationships with adults. For many, the high quality of the experience was directly related to the unpredictable approaches taken by creative practitioners working with teachers and the different relationships that developed.
The Ofsted report, commissioned by Culture Minister, David Lammy, makes a number of recommendations for boosting partnerships between schools and creative practitioners. Chief among these is that the Department for Education and Skills and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport should work together with Arts Council England to establish a framework that aims to give more pupils the opportunity to work with a creative practitioner. Local authorities should become more involved in helping Creative Partnerships direct resources to particular areas of need, and schools should do more to monitor and evaluate the impact of the programme on pupils. The report also calls on creative practitioners and industries to make more links between activities in schools and in the arts sector and to try to increase opportunities for pupils and teachers to work directly in the creative industries.