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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The New Secondary Curriculum

It's always the way: you don't see an art adviser for years and then three come along together. It was good to welcome Dr John Steers and John Bowden to Bucks. They are the two national subject leaders for art and I have known and worked with them for the last two decades.

The art conference on Monday 21 April was important on a variety of levels. It was useful to bring into Bucks the national training programme. The key message of this is that we are moving away from a period of intense national prescription into a period where schools and teachers are being encouraged to take ownership of their curriulum and make it relevant to their own distinctive students, aspirations and context. In Bucks this will mean that the curriculum of a girls grammar school in Beaconsfield is likely to be very diferent to that of a mixed upper school in Aylesbury. The key resources, information and links from this event have been added to the Bucksgfl art website.

It was also good to have an opportunity for art teachers to meet and share experiences. In the next few years there will be many very significant changes to the educational landscape (diplomas, vocational education, new technologies, personalised learning, the new secondary curriculum, etc. etc.) and it will be important for teachers to be able to continue to be able to meet and share ideas. It was noted that in Bucks, as in many other Local Authorities, there is no longer an art adviser or consultant and that it will be harder to sustain the network of art teachers. It was agreed to develop an art teachers' forum to secure the networks. The forum will enable art teachers to take ownership of events such as the MAD art exhibitions. It will also enable art teachers in Bucks to sustain a working relationship with the Local Authority which will support their professional development.

A few art teachers will meet soon to create an initial constitution for the forum. This will be put to a meeting and hopefully adopted. It is encouraging that there is also likely to be an opportunity to sustain the relationship with John and John and NSEAD who will be pleased to provide further support for Bucks art teachers.