Why cultural spaces are key for supporting teachers and boosting educational outcomes

Posted by iChild, October 09, 2023 6:26 PM

By Jenny Waldman, Director of Art Fund, the national charity for art

Visitors at The Box  Plymouth  August 2021. © Janie Airey Art Fund 2021.

Visits to museums and galleries can help spark creativity and inspire people of all ages.

At Art Fund we believe all young people should have the opportunity to build their cultural confidence, develop their creative capacity and reach their full potential. Yet our recent research revealed real disparity in pupils’ access to museums across the country. Only 52% of less privileged* pupils have visited a museum in the past year, compared to 70% of those growing up with more advantage.

For teachers, cultural spaces can fuel a sense of wonder and curiosity that encourage them to find new ways to engage pupils in their own classroom practice.  In a pilot scheme with 1,000 teachers, thanks to the generous support of the Clore Duffield Foundation, 85% reported finding the benefits of museum visiting useful to their teaching practice, in turn improving educational outcomes for pupils.

Teachers play an integral role in a child’s life and with the right support, can help enable increased access to these cultural experiences. We know teachers are facing unprecedented challenges and pressures, at the moment.  Evidence shows that museums and galleries can offer important spaces to help teachers recharge their minds, find a moment of connection and inspiration. That’s why we want to better connect teachers with museums and galleries – it is good for their own wellbeing, generates creativity in the classroom and can help lead to more equality in museum and gallery access for pupils from all backgrounds.

Visiting cultural spaces offers a boost for all subject areas across the curriculum.  Adam Creen is Head of Maths at a secondary school in Surrey and is one teacher already benefitting from the Teacher Art Pass. Adam commented; “As a maths teacher, museums and galleries may not sound like the first point of call when seeking creative input for lesson planning. However, I’ve found, admiring art created using mathematical patterns such as Fibonacci, or discovering historical figures that have used the art of maths to create some of the world’s most ground-breaking inventions really beneficial. These works of art and objects help bring to life how maths is used in the real world helping to engage pupils in the value of mathematical skills.”

From just £25 a year, a Teacher Art Pass gives primary and secondary school teachers across all subjects in the UK the opportunity to explore the cultural spaces the UK has to offer for free or at a reduced price. Helping to bring innovation to the next generation. Find out more by visiting our website here.

By Jenny Waldman, Director of Art Fund, the national charity for art

*Please note socio economic status of those surveyed was broken down by ABC1 and C2DE


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