Is there a place for arts workers in schools after the cut backs?

Sweeping changes in education and arts funding are having a big effect on freelance arts practitioners. I don’t want to get all negative, but having been to a few meetings recently, it seems the changes run deeper than I had imagined.

People are telling me that the days are gone when I can just pop a colourful postcard to some schools and they will call up with requests for project ideas. Hmmm… this really the case?

I worked in schools long before Creative Partnerships was formed, so now that it has ended (rather abruptly) it will have some effect, but it’s not the whole picture; CP only reached a relatively small number of schools across the country. So, it must still be possible for freelancers to play a role in education; the main issue for me, is how do we get through to the schools to let them know about our work?

I know marketing has changed a lot in recent years but the way marketing works in the real world does not apply to schools.

1. Schools are physical and virtual fortresses, they have limited access to the internet

2. Anything you post to them rarely makes it past the secretary to the relevant person

3. Same with emails!

I think ‘outsiders’ are needed in schools; there are many children who do not find the school system easy that shine when artists come to work with them. Artists and creative practitioners can develop a different relationship with the children and connect to aspects of their personality, skills and understanding that often cannot be reached through the normal timetable.

The most wonderful thing any teacher has ever said to me was ‘I did not really know these children until you came to work with us and now I can see them all as individuals with unique interests; I don’t normally get the time to stand back and observe, or let them make the decisions’. Wow. I thank her for her honesty.

I would be very interested to hear your thoughts

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