Good to work with subject leaders again

It was good to work with primary subject leaders again (see course notes). It reminded me of how different schools are and how important it is to keep an open mind. Some experienced and confident subject leaders will clearly relish the freedoms the new curriculum offers. Their practice is secure and built on the good foundations of the previous iterations. They will use this opportunity to extend and further enrich teaching and learning in art. Their curriculum will be better because it stems from their interests: and they invented it. I think we have almost forgotten (those of us old enough to remember) the resentment we felt when, over 25 years ago, the first national curriculum robbed us of the ‘ownership’ of our own practice. However, other coordinators, new to the role, are wrestling with a school in which art is a low status (messy) subject and is used simply to service the prevailing ‘topic’. I guess those of us, who talk about art education, should be careful not to generalise.

Perhaps the best outcome of the course is nothing to do with what I said, but what the coordinators said. “Wouldn’t it be good if we could meet again and share ideas.” So they have shared email addresses and are taking ownership of their professional development. That’s really brilliant and I hope it works. I look forward to helping if I can – good luck.

PS What do you say to a coordinator in a school in which art simply services the topic? The best you can do is to look at the subject aims – are they getting an entitlement to develop ideas, gain mastery over techniques in a range of materials, learn about art and artists. The fact that the new national curriculum does not define what you must do, should not be used as an excuse to do nothing.

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About Dan

Senior Advisor, Art Inspector, Member of the Expert Advisory Group for Art, Consultant working with NSEAD, IOE, QCA, UCE, UOG. Currently lecturer at UCL working on a project in Kazakhstan to develop text books for a new art curriculum.
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