Artists in class do good work

17th October 2008 at 01:00

Your headline, "It didn't make any sense" (October 3), would lead the reader to presume the article was about a failed initiative, lambasted by one and all. For the first few paragraphs, it continued this theme and concentrated on the few negative findings from the 277-page independent report on the Arts Across the Curriculum initiative - which introduced artists into the classroom to work alongside teachers across a range of subjects.

However, the negative twist began to unwind towards the end and quoted positive statistics on how the project increased confidence, made topics easier to learn and reduced the need to re-teach subjects.

Your story could have highlighted a range of positive and fascinating finds from this innovative project: for example, 88 per cent of pupils thought subjects were more interesting when taught with artists, and 70 per cent of teachers thought pupils were more positive towards the subject matter because of arts activities.

In short, the report states: "The many different strands of evidence point in the same direction: the (integrated curricular lessons) engaged pupils; they were effective in enhancing understanding of academic and artistic content; and pupils, including those with social, emotional and behavioural needs, derived a range of benefits."

Arts Across the Curriculum was a pilot initiative by Future Learning and Teaching and the Scottish Arts Council, working with seven authorities. The aim of a pilot is to learn and develop, informing us what works and what doesn't. The report has informed A Curriculum for Excellence and fed into major new research on teacher training.

In addition, the project has been popular with the schools and teachers involved, and several authorities have continued working with artists following the end of the pilot.

The full report:

Joan Parr, head of education, Scottish Arts Council.

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