I am just reading Making a Mark (HMI March 2012) which is the latest report about art education in England by my old friend and colleague Ian (otherwise known as HMI). Click here for a copy. It is so overwhelmingly sensible that it should be required reading for every art teacher and senior manager.
The report provides an objective assessment of the strengths and weaknesses HMI have found in art teaching and education in all key stages. It illustrates the findings with examples of practice gathered from visits to 184 schools and from inspections. One key recommendation is that there needs to be subject specific professional development – particularly in the field of drawing (this is not a strength in key stages 1, 2 and 3). The great thing is that the landscape he draws is so obvious and recognisable and the recommendations are so appropriate.
Earlier this year I spent a day with old friends and colleagues, including Ian (advisers, inspectors and teachers) on the occasion of John Steers retirement as General Secretary of NSEAD. As is normal on such occasions we sorted out art education over lunch. It wasn’t, or didn’t seem, so very difficult and we felt the whole thing could easily fit on a couple of sides of A4. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to write it down. If we had, it would have included simple things like ‘ You must have a clear conceptual framework on which to base both planning and assessment. It doesn’t have to be the very best framework ever, but there has to be one. Assessment for learning just means that children should be able to work out for themselves what they can do to improve and recognise what it will look like when they do. The opportunity to draw regularly and for different purposes is intrinsic to any good art education.‘
You can fill in the rest yourselves but I would recommend reading ‘Making a Mark’ first.