Paul Hamlyn Foundation has stepped in to enable teachers to access on-going professional development that will help them use arts practice across the curriculum.

Teacher at chalkboard

cybrarian77 (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Primary school teachers are to be given access to long-term professional development to help them use arts-based teaching practices across the curriculum.

A pilot scheme, launched by Paul Hamlyn Foundation (PHF), has been designed in response to a knowledge, confidence and skills gap holding teachers back from delivering effective learning in and through the arts.

According to PHF, “teaching professionals often struggle to access high-quality, sustained professional development that will support effective arts-based practices in the primary classroom.”

Research suggests that children from economically disadvantaged backgrounds miss out on some art forms, resulting in a less rounded and balanced education. The £1m Teacher Development Fund, aims especially to increase support for primary teachers serving disadvantaged communities, including those that are struggling to attract and retain teachers.

It will enable arts consortia across the UK to work in partnership with over 70 schools. Lead partners in the consortia include the British Council, Creative Scotland, film education charity Into Film, and Arts Council England’s Bridge Organisation for Yorkshire, CapeUK. One consortium will be led by a school, Hotspur Primary in Newcastle, whose Head Teacher will lead the project.

Each consortium will focus on a different approach, including using music to enhance language learning, improving literacy and numeracy through film-based learning, and co-designing drama-based interventions to improve writing.

As well as delivering benefits to the teachers and school leaders in the consortia, the outcomes from the pilot will be evaluated to inform PHF’s work in the future and provide new evidence of the impact of the arts in schools.

Liz Hill