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THE statutory programmes of study, non-statutory guidance, and other support materials from both the English Qualifications and Curriculum Authority and the QCA for Wales (ACCAC) were, when introduced some years ago, a welcome boost for teachers as an aid to planning and delivering all subjects. These guidelines were especially useful to those working in music and the arts.

However, although a comprehensive compilation of the exemplification of standards, from both agencies in England and Wales, gave teachers some confidence in assessing pupils' work, the standards lacked a statutory range of level descriptions. Early attempts to produce some useful criteria, which in draft form found favour with many teachers, were swept away by a reluctant government fearing that they might be seen as too prescriptive.

Curriculum 2000 demonstrates a more enlightened vision and attitude to the role of the level descriptions, which are complementary to the programmes of study. Now everyone concerned with arts education needs help in interpreting these statements to make them relevant to teachers' day-to-day planning and teaching. Help is at hand in the form of Creative Conferences, an in-service training consultancy for teachers, run by Julian Davies and Sue Cottrell, education consultants respectively in art and music, who are subject officers for ACCAC, and also liaise closely with QCA.

They have been the architects of the subject Orders and non-statutory guiance over many years in Wales and are currently involved in a range of initiatives in curriculum development, while maintaining strong links with classroom practice. They are now completing the first phase of a huge programme of training sessions throughout England, covering level descriptions and consistent cssessment. These sessions are one-day courses for teachers, inspectors and advisers covering a host of related issues such as Exemplification of levels 4, 5, 6 and 7; group task work on standardising judgments and updates on statutory teacher assessment, assessing progress and recording and reporting. This is supported by excellent materials, in written and video form, on the exemplification of standards, developed for ACCAC but having a direct relevance to teachers in England using the statutory QCA documents as a basis for their planning. The most recent sessions, held in London, were well attended by educationists and LEA advisers, perhaps indicating the importance they place on these aspects of curriculum planning and delivery.

Courses are scheduled for March 15 Manchester, March 16 Liverpool, March 28 Leeds, May 9 Bath, May 10 Taunton, May 23 Nottingham, May 24 Peterborough, June 11 Birmingham.

Further details about Creative Conferences can be obtained from Liz Davies, 42 High Street, Berkeley, Gloucestershire, GL13 9BJ, Tel: 01453 810488. Fax: 01453 511662. E-mail: ccinset@aol.comACCAC, tel: 020 2037 5400 Web:

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