Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s Teacher Development Fund Opens

15th March 2018 - Sarah Beckett

A new open fund from Paul Hamlyn Foundation is an opportunity for arts organisations and primary schools in Yorkshire and the Humber to apply for up to £150,000 to explore embedding learning through the arts in the primary curriculum.

Education and Learning through the Arts, with a focus on supporting disadvantaged learners is one of Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s (PHF) six strategic priorities. Through its Arts-Based Learning Fund, PHF already funds a wide range of projects which explore how arts-based approaches can deliver excellent teaching and learning across the curriculum, achieving positive outcomes for pupils’ engagement, attainment, and soft skills. Its new Teacher Development Fund extends its work in this area and is now open for applications. IVE has been working with the Royal Shakespeare Company on its pilot phase.

The Teacher Development Fund, whose aim is to develop individual teachers alongside supporting whole schools to embed arts-based learning across the curriculum, is being launched following two years of pilot activity. Seven pilot projects have been exploring different models for teacher CPDL (continuing professional development and learning). The common thread is directly supporting the development of primary teachers, building their skills, confidence and experience so that they are able to embed arts-based approaches into their everyday practice. IVE is working in partnership with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Hull on one of these pilot projects.

Our collaboration’s starting point focuses on using rehearsal room approaches and theatre-making to teach Shakespeare at primary level. We are then working to develop teachers’ skills, confidence and ambition, to impact on students’ literacy and language development and to use reflective practices and action research to encourage teachers to consider how to apply this across the curriculum. Our model combines a series of immersive weekend training; including at the RSC in Stratford for teachers, with mentoring to support them to map their learning back into the classroom and their practice. Director of Development at IVE, Drew Rowlands, explains:

“RSC Rehearsal rooms are essentially places of exploration and shared discovery, in which a company of actors and their director work together to bring Shakespeare’s plays to life.  To do this successfully they need to have a deep understanding of the text, to get the language ‘in the body’ and to be open to a range of interpretive possibilities and choices. The ways in which they do this are both active and playful, connecting mind, voice and body. In this pilot programme we have employed these techniques to immerse teachers in a learning process that saw them experience texts from the perspective of one of their learners. IVE then applied our reflective practices and ‘Learning to Enquire’ action research methodology to support teachers to analyse how they might use these techniques in their day to day practice. This included a number of mentoring/coaching visits to each school. Our programme continues for the rest of this academic year, but impact to date has been quite profound on both improving the quality of teaching and on pupil progress. We intend to share our findings at a national school leadership symposium taking place in Stratford on June 22nd.”

The pilot phase has been an invigorating process, involving challenges and a lot of reflection as a learning community. Catherine Sutton, Senior Grants Manager at PHF describes the many questions the pilots explored as a cohort:

“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 arts organisations have right understanding of schools and their language to be able to support them with curriculum development?”

Learning from the pilots has fed directly into the design of the Teacher Development Fund. Each year PHF expects to give around five grants of up to £150,000 to projects which will run for two academic years. They 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.

The Teacher Development Fund has four key principles:

You’ll find films, blogs and other resources illustrating the purpose and priorities of the Teacher Development Fund and learning from the pilot projects here. This is a great opportunity for arts and cultural organisations and primary schools who have a strong record of partnership working and an ambition to learn deeply about the role of CPDL in embedding learning through the arts in the primary curriculum. The next deadline for applications is 23rd March, for projects starting in Autumn 2018 and you can preview the application form here.

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