Authors : Centre for the Use of Research and Evidence in Education (CUREE)
Institution: CUREE and Paul Hamlyn Foundation
Full Reference: CUREE & PHF (2019). Paul Hamlyn Foundation Teacher Development Fund Case Study: Heathfield Primary School
This study focuses on the role of school leaders in using arts-based approaches to teaching and learning to extend
and enhance the curriculum, to develop pupils’ executive function and to encourage creativity and collaboration.
For the last two years, Heathfield Primary has participated in the Art of Learning, a pilot project for Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s TDF facilitated by a partnership between Education Scotland; Creative Scotland; Creativity, Culture & Education; East, South
and North Ayrshire local authorities; and CEDETI, a research centre in the Pontifical University of Chile in Santiago. The Art of Learning focused on helping teachers embed a range of arts-based practices that allowed pupils to develop their creativity skills, executive function (for example, inhibitory control, working memory and cognitive flexibility) and close the attainment gap through increased engagement and by breaking down barriers for learners experiencing disadvantage. The Art of Learning
project aimed to give children at least one hour of high-functioning learning through the arts per day, for four days per week, over the ten-week period.
The school is confident that it is already starting to see the lasting impact of the project taking shape, including in the development of teachers’ and pupils’ creativity skills and collaboration, and the development of a common language around
creativity. It is looking now to strengthen and build on this in various ways, including:
■ featuring Art of Learning in the School Improvement Plan
■ continuing to work with one artist practitioner in particular, and using the Art of Learning session plans to provide a starting structure for collaboratively developing the approach
■ broadening the reach of learning through the arts through mobilising teachers and pupils who have already been involved – for example, by allocating the teachers who have already been trained to different year groups and using the school’s collaborative approach to planning within the stages (which teachers describe as “cooperative at every level”) to cascade their learning to new classes of children and to their year group partners. This will be particularly important for highlighting to new teachers where there are opportunities for the pre-existing session plans and resources to be adapted for other topics – for example, exploring the links to health and wellbeing and literacy – or for the needs of particular learners.