Paul Hamlyn was an entrepreneurial publisher and philanthropist with a belief in social justice, committed to offering new opportunities for people experiencing disadvantage, challenging prejudice and opening up the arts and education to everyone.
Paul Hamlyn Foundation (PHF) currently supports work in six key areas, one of which is Education and Learning through the Arts. With a focus on supporting learners experiencing disadvantage, we are funding a wide range of projects which explore how arts-based pedagogies can deliver excellent teaching and learning across the curriculum, achieving positive outcomes for pupils’ engagement, attainment, personal and social skills.
In 2015, we began a pilot programme looking at how PHF might directly support the development of primary school teachers, building their skills, confidence and experience so that they were able to embed arts-based approaches into their everyday practice. Not only did we want to develop individual teachers, we aimed to support whole schools to embed arts-based learning across the curriculum.
Partnering with the Centre for the Use of Research and Evidence in Education (CUREE) we initially spent time reviewing current thinking about what constitutes high quality and effective Continuing Professional Development and Learning (CPDL) for teachers.
The Teacher Development Trust’s Developing Great Teaching, 2015 and the Department for Education’s Standard for Teachers’ Professional Development point out some key features of successful CPD including duration, depth, involvement of specialists and, crucially, the importance of teachers reflecting on the impact of new practices on their pupils. With these principles in mind PHF funded seven pilot projects across the UK.
Over the last two years these organisations, ranging from Into Film, to Creative Scotland and the RSC have been exploring different models for teacher CPDL. It’s been a fascinating process, involving challenges and a lot of reflection with our grantees: How can arts/cultural organisations best deliver teacher CPDL? Do we perhaps know rather more about how to work with pupils than we do about how to work with teachers? What skills do artist practitioners need to support teachers effectively? Do we have the right understanding of the education landscape and the right language to be able to support primary schools around curriculum development?
From these pilots PHF’s new Teacher Development Fund has emerged. Each year we expect to give grants of up to £ 150,000 to approximately five projects which will run for two academic years. We are looking to support strong partnerships of arts/cultural organisations and up to ten schools; either an arts/cultural organisation or a school can be the lead applicant.
Through our pilot projects we’ve identified four key principles for the new fund:
CPD or CPDL?
We want to support projects whose CPDL approaches are consistent with the evidence about what makes a difference for pupils, as well as educators. We define CPD (continuing professional development) as the specific support offered to teachers, for example a training day, and CPDL as the processes and activities that they undertake as they participate in and respond to CPD, use new knowledge and skills in their teaching, and understand the impact this may have on their pupils.
- School leaders as lead learners
Evidence from our pilot projects tells us that the greatest impact has been achieved when school leaders are positioned as lead learners and closely involved in planning, delivery and reflection activities. By school leaders, we don’t just mean head teachers, but also others influencing curriculum planning such as subject leads or phase leads.
- Role of Artist Practitioners
A TDF project is a joint inquiry at the heart of which is the relationship between schools and artist practitioners. The role of artist practitioners is to facilitate CPDL for teachers and school leaders, supporting them to become autonomous in their delivery of arts-based learning and to achieve a sustainable approach to embedding learning through the arts in the curriculum.
- Reflect, reflect, reflect
Strong reflective practice should be embedded in the CPDL process. Our pilot projects have shown that it is crucial to have a clear process for reflecting on the effectiveness of the CPD input, how the work is impacting on teachers’ practice and the outcomes for pupils’ learning.
For more information about PHF’s Teacher Development Fund, visit www.phf.org.uk/Funds/TDF where you’ll find a wealth of films, blogs and other information illustrating the purpose and priorities about the fund and explaining what we’ve learned during our pilot projects.
The next deadline for applications is 23rd March, for projects starting in Autumn 2018.
Photo credit: School leader observes film and literacy work in the classroom