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Monday, February 28, 2011

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Because the barbarians are coming today.

This afternoon, while grazing lessons across a school recently judged to be 'Outstanding' I came across a Yr 7 English class where students were reciting, or declaiming, the poem by C. P. Cavafy 'Waiting for the Barbarians'.  They knew the words and the rythmns and responses were confidently passed from side to side across the room. I saw much else that was inspiring but this will remain with me longest because of the quiet assured confidence of the teaching and the easy seriousness of these young students.

Well done Highcrest and I did look up and read the poem again: so thanks for that.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Contributing to the new curriculum debate

The National Curriculum Review is up and running. It should be an interesting ride, especially for art teachers. The good news is that all those on the 'Experts Group' have spoken publicly about the need for a broad and balanced curriculum.
If you would like to contribute to the evidence which will be used to inform the review you can do this on the Department for Education website. I think you should.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Teaching is...

I spent the morning looking at and discussing assessment and APP with colleagues. I heard a wonderful quote from Christine which she remembered hearing years ago from an experienced headteacher. 'Teaching is just about finding out what children don't know - and then teaching it.' In a nutshell?

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

A 'virtual gallery' to support art and other things

Last year I was involved in an advisory capacity with a new publication for art and design teachers in Key Stages 1 and 2. I think this is an excellent resource containing programmes of study for each year and covering all the major disciplines including drawing and IT. I would recoemmend it for all art subject co-ordinators as it contains practical carefully sequenced programmes which illuminate skills and good practice in the subject.

The publication includes a CD with really good resources for teachers including a large number of visual images and references that can be used to support the work. But I really like the software to create a virtual gallery that is also included, almost as an afterthought. It allows teachers and children to create a virtual gallery using their own pictures. The programme allows you to walk round the gallery and it also has a feature that enables a catalogue to be printed. This means that children (classes) can curate and share their galleries. It gets even more interesting when you stop thinking of it as an art gallery and start to think how it can be used in other contexts where children can construct a learning environment for themselves or other children.

The publication is called Art Express and details are here www.acblack/ I have been playing about with the gallery and here is an example of what it looks like.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Briefing Note December 2010

Dear Colleagues,

Just a brief note to wish everyone well and to hope you have a good Christmas break after what seems to be an interminably long and fraught term. It seems that next year will herald change on a variety of fronts although it is still difficult to tell where it will all end up. I have been very busy this term and have not really had time to write much about art education and the changes - perhaps I will catch up over the break. But the possible demise of 'Specialism' as a force for good and the pursuit of the English Baccalaureate which does not include art is perhaps a concern. 

I have not had time to read it, so cannot endorse it, but I know that John Steers of the National Society for Education in Art and Design has published a critique of the White Paper. If you are interested the link is

But the good news is that there will continue to be good schools with good teachers working hard in the best interests of their pupils. As always the system works on their good, professional common sense.

Best wishes


PS I did publish some stuff on assessment earlier, which I think is important earlier this term and this is having an impact in some schools (

Thursday, October 28, 2010

NSEAD Facebook Forum

Just a quick post to note the NSEAD forum on Facebook. It is an open online forum and is regularly serviced by officers of NSEAD so it really does get up to the minute news, references and comments about art education. It is probably worth opening a 'professional' facebook identity to access this as it is a good thing to distinguish between personal and professional facebook profiles. NSEAD is the National Society for Education in Art and Design.