Schools to fight Covid 'misery' with national arts fest

Schools urged to fill social media with paintings, drawings, poems, music, dance and drama for new festival

John Roberts

Covid: Schools and colleges are being urged to take part in a national arts festival celebrating the art work of pupils

Nine education unions and organisations are encouraging schools to take part in a national festival of art to provide a “badly needed antidote to the misery and disruption of Covid-19".

Organisers, who cover the state and independent school sectors, say they want schools to help fill Twitter with paintings, drawings, poems, music, dance and drama on the day.

The event is being organised by nine education unions and organisations to celebrate the role of arts in schools and the work of children.


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Schools and colleges can take part by posting the artistic achievements of their pupils and students on Twitter using the hashtag #EduArtsFest.

The festival takes place on Friday 28 May.

It has been organised by the Association of Colleges, the Association of School and College Leaders, the Confederation of School Trusts, the Independent Schools Council, the NAHT school leaders' union, the NASUWT teaching union, the NEU teaching union, the National Governance Association and the Sixth Form Colleges Association.

Covid: Arts festival 'a chance for schools to turn the page'

Jacqui O’Hanlon, director of learning and national partnerships at the Royal Shakespeare Company and chair of the Cultural Learning Alliance, said: “Participating in the arts has provided inspiration and refuge during the pandemic for millions. The Festival of School and College Arts is a brilliant opportunity to value and celebrate the creative lives, talents and resilience of our children and young people.”

ASCL general secretary Geoff Barton added: “The festival is a chance to turn the page on bubbles, self-isolation, lateral flow tests and all the other jargon of the pandemic, and get back to the creativity and joy which forms such an important part of educating young people.”

NAHT general secretary Paul Whiteman said: “The arts will be a vital part of healing the damage lockdown has done, allowing children to be children again, to socialise, exercise, express themselves, play and learn. The best thing we can do to support schools in helping children’s recovery, both educational and wellbeing, is to make sure the curriculum remains broad and inclusive of the arts.”

NASUWT general secretary Patrick Roach commented: “Time for creative subjects was coming under increasing pressure before the pandemic, and it is essential that these subjects are protected within the curriculum, that the critical importance of the arts to education recovery is recognised and that access to provision is enhanced for all pupils.” 

NEU joint general secretaries Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney added: “This will be a fantastic celebration of the role of arts and creativity in education, bringing schools and colleges together and putting at the heart of this festival the brilliance of young people.”

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John Roberts

John Roberts

John Roberts is North of England reporter for Tes

Find me on Twitter @JohnGRoberts

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