A way to spark artistic talents of pupils
I found myself saying “I am terrible at drawing,” when I first introduced myself to the art teacher here at Glebe.
Her reply was instant; ‘You might not be good at drawing, but nobody is bad at art.’
The education system in Norfolk, and indeed throughout the country, focuses, quite rightly, a great deal on the traditional academic pursuits.
For example, league tables for schools focus on English and Maths.
There is no suggestion from me that this is not important. Our children need to be able to read, write, count and calculate to a high level.
What I don’t believe, though, is that creative subjects should be pushed out or neglected at the expense of other areas of learning.
There is a great deal of research into the benefits of art in child development. Starting in our nursery, fine motor skills and expression are supported by painting, creating and exploring textures and different artistic activities.
When children join our main school into EYFS (Reception class) they have countless opportunities to express themselves in learning through art, as well as specialist lessons in the subject.
Moving through the school, our older pupils learn how to channel their creativity, how to plan and map projects and how to express themselves freely through two hours of art and music lessons a week.
Now, this is not me putting forward an advert for my school, believe it or not. When you see what artists, TV presenters, musicians we have in this country and look into where they went to school, the majority of them come from private schools.
This is simply because the resources of time, effort and money are put into the creative lessons that children need at those schools.
Funding at state schools for creative arts is truly suffering. One teacher told a recent report into arts in primary schools: “There is little money in school for glue, paper and clay. I have to ration my resources extremely tightly and it limits what I can offer.
“For years we’ve only had a set of dirty, broken and worn-out box of mismatched musical instruments.”
My argument here is that reducing the funding for arts is incredibly short-sighted.
Whatever your view on the politics in this country, whether it is ‘in’ or ‘out’ so to speak, when was the last time any true focus was given to any of these bigger picture issues, such as the provision for art and creativity in the state sector?
So, if you are reading this and have some time, why not grab some paper, pens, dried pasta, glue – whatever you can – and have an art afternoon with your children?
It is fun, a great way to work together and could light a spark that, sadly, many schools are unable to do.