Uncover your artistic potential

12th September 2003 at 01:00
You quite rightly highlighted the positive effects that drama can have on the lives of pupils. I fully applaud that endorsement (TES, August 15).

As a senior moderator for art and design GCSE, I can say that you will find similar attributes in this subject, which is taken by tens of thousands of pupils every year.

As in past years, I have seen GCSE work this year that has been breath-taking in its quality and maturity. Even pupils for whom "attainment" may be low, have experienced massive personal achievement.

In your Opinion column, you mentioned a school's drama contribution to the Edinburgh Fringe'. This is also happening in art and design. As well as GCSE work being regularly exhibited in public places, there are many art teachers who give up holidays to take 15-year-olds to galleries and museums in the UK, France and Spain, to learn from the work of others and use it as a starting point for their own, thus engaging in a tradition used by all other artists and designers.

Such visits are equally relevant to much younger children. I once encountered a view that "art appreciation is too difficult for small children". But I have a slide of a class of four-year-old French children I encountered in the Picasso Museum in Paris, transfixed by his large sculptural pieces. I now start workshops with a slide talk that relates to the ideas that I want children to pursue. The main problem I encounter is stopping them talking about the images rather than encouraging them to find things to say!

In the article "Simple steps to creativity" (TES, August 29), you write that "creativity is stifled by teachers who were unwilling to let pupils experiment". It is much more serious than that.

There is a whole cohort of professionals who, through no fault of their own, have little confidence in their own creative abilities. Fortunately, more people are putting their fear behind them and are enjoying fulfilling something of their creative potential that our education system denied them in the past. Please continue to make it a top priority.

Jeff Teasdale Artist in education 114 Prestbury Road Macclesfield, Cheshire

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