Policy and Practice round-up June 2020

05 June 2020

This month we bring you news of research from the Education Endowment Foundation showing the attainment gap could widen by 36% as a result of school closures; updated Department for Education guidance for school reopening and reopening dates from Scotland and Wales; Let’s Create packs from Arts Council England; Covid secure guidance being developed for arts and heritage learning spaces; a call for CLA members to contribute to ‘task and finish’ groups; and a survey on arts and heritage learning services and spaces.

New research from the Education Endowment Foundation: 36% increase in the attainment gap

On 3 June the Education Endowment Foundation published their rapid evidence assessment of the impact of school closures on the attainment gap, and actions they are taking to tackle the problem. The research suggests the attainment gap will widen by 36% – however there is a high level of uncertainty around this number, with studies showing the gap widening by between 11% to 75%.

Remote teaching can help mitigate this gap and research found that ‘ensuring the elements of effective teaching are present – for example through clear explanations, scaffolding and feedback – is more important than how or when lessons or support are provided’. This is something that will be useful for the arts education sector to reflect on if our existing provision needs to move online for the autumn term.

Once schools reopen the EEF is clear that sustained support and additional targeted provision will be needed to help pupils catch up. To respond the challenge of catch up support the EEF is launching an online tuition pilot in partnership with the Sutton Trust, Impetus and Nesta.

Department for Education guidance on reopening schools – updated

The Department for Education (DfE) continues to update and expand their guidance for schools and teachers on delivering education during the Covid-19 pandemic, including some practical guidance that could also apply to arts learning spaces, although the education sector has been critical of the lack of concrete information or protocols.

As you will be aware, the DfE was calling for English primary schools to bring back nursery, reception, year 1 and year 6 from 1 June, alongside priority groups, and for secondary schools to bring back year 10, year 12 and 16 to 19 students due to take exams next year, from 15 June. A National Education Union poll has shown that 44% of primary schools did not admit extra pupils on 1 June.

Scottish schools to reopen from 11 August

On 21 May the Scottish government announced that schools in Scotland would return after their summer break on 11 August, although they will still be offering a blended model of learning, with some work online as well as in person.

Welsh schools to reopen from 29 June

Wales has announced that their schools will go back from 29 June, with only a third of pupils at any one time. The summer term will be lengthened by a week to finish on 27 July and the October half term holiday will run for two weeks instead of the usual one. Parents who choose not to send their children to school will not be fined.

Let’s Create packs distributed across England

Arts Council England, using funds from the National Lottery with support from the Art Fund and Crafts Council, is distributing over 25,000 Let’s Create packs with paper, pens, pencils, crayons and easy to follow creative activities developed by Andria Zafirakou, 2018 Global Teacher Prize winner and member of the CLA Strategy Group. The packs are aimed at primary and secondary school-aged children who are currently most in need of support and are being distributed by Bridge organisations and their local partners, such as museums, local authorities, schools, food banks and other charities. 

To get involved contact your local Bridge organisation or to spread the word about the packs see the Arts Council England social toolkit.

Space for Learning: Helping museums, galleries, heritage and performing arts sites adapt their learning spaces and programmes in response to Covid-19

Working together the Clore Duffield Foundation, Group for Education in Museums (GEM), Engage (the network for gallery education), and the Theatre Education Forum (TEF) are drawing up guidance on how learning spaces in museums, galleries, heritage and performing arts sites can manage the risk of transmission and be 'Covid Secure' when they reopen. The Space for Learning: Covid Secure project is also considering how programming will need to change and adapt.

Guidance and recommendations on managing the risk of transmission of Covid-19, including guidance on fixtures and fittings including digital; movement through sites; outdoor learning; handling art materials; and staffing/working with freelancers are being drawn up, with recommendations in line with guidance from Public Health England, and from the DCMS Recreation and leisure taskforce on reopening. Look out for guidance being published on the Space for Learning website over the summer and autumn of 2020.

Call for CLA members to contribute to task and finish groups

The Covid-19 pandemic is putting unprecedented stresses and strains on children, young people, arts education practitioners and settings. To ensure a right to arts and culture is maintained for every child the CLA is forming task and finish groups, building on discussions with our Advisory Panel, to draw up recommendations and take forward actions. Five groups will cover the following areas:

  1. Arts Premium: what are our recommendations for its implementation for the DfE?
  2. The role of the arts in supporting pupil wellbeing: what further discussion is needed and what are our recommendations for schools and arts organisations?
  3. Continuing Professional Development & Learning (CPDL): what action is needed to support arts education freelancers and teachers?
  4. Careers: what action is needed to support young people entering the workforce?
  5. Advocating for arts and cultural learning: what actions are needed to ensure that learning is valued and supported as part of cultural organisation’s core offer? How do we make the case for the Comprehensive Spending Review?

CLA members are invited to join a group if you have capacity at this time to help shape recommendations. To express an interest in joining a group please fill in this poll by 16 June.

Survey on the impact of Covid-19 on learning services and spaces in arts and heritage organisations

The Clore Duffield Foundation, GEM, Engage and the Theatre Education Forum (TEF) are asking colleagues to fill in a joint survey so they can better understand the state and status of learning services and spaces, and the corresponding support and training needs of learning teams and freelancers.

The survey will be shared with funders to help them plan their support for museums, galleries, heritage and performing arts sites and fill in gaps that existing surveys have yet to cover.

If you work in an arts or heritage organisation learning team please consider filling in the survey to add to the knowledge of how Covid-19 is affecting arts and cultural education. The survey closes on 22 June.