Art teachers awarded Jane Featherstone Fellowships for postgraduate study at the University of Leeds
Five art teachers have been awarded Jane Featherstone Fellowships to complete a Postgraduate Certificate in Teachers Research and Practice at the School of Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies.
Jane Featherstone is the driving force behind some of Britain's biggest TV successes, such as Spooks, Life on Mars and Humans. An alumna and honorary graduate of the University of Leeds, Jane was keen to support the next generation of creative young people to find a pathway to their future.
Against a background of educational challenges – including the inequalities of access to the creative subjects as a result of the English Baccalaureate (EBacc), reduced school funding, and the wide inequalities that have resulted from Covid-19 – Jane made a generous donation to support a programme that enables art and art history teachers to creatively develop their own specific projects.
Through Jane’s generous gift to the University of Leeds, five teachers will have the opportunity to undertake a Postgraduate Certificate in Teacher's Research and Practice. This will allow them to build on their experience of the Plan, Prepare, Provide residential programme — run by the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Outreach Team, and developed in partnership with the Association for Art History.
Art teachers taking part in an activity as part of Plan Prepare Provide in the summer of 2021
The gift will provide fellowships to support the Postgraduate Certificate course fees and travel costs of teachers undertaking the programme for the next three years.
The Postgraduate Certificate programme supports teachers to take any aspect of their learning from Plan, Prepare, Provide, to complete wider research on the current educational context and apply their learning to complete a project in their classrooms. This will give them the opportunity to develop their knowledge and skills. The resulting work will be fed back to future teachers undertaking the programme, creating a valuable feedback loop.
Teachers in the studios of the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies during Plan Prepare Provide 2021
Art teachers who have already completed the programme have developed projects that have seen children in schools in Sunderland working with local cultural organisations on the themes of sustainability, and community workshops in Keighley, exploring the impact of teachers in non-formal settings. Both projects resulted in impressive results in terms of engagement in creativity.
One of the projects used the question, 'How can engagement with the arts empower young people to know more, do more and go further to engage with the community?’ Art teacher Gemma Roche – who graduated with a distinction in the Postgraduate Certificate in December 2020 – worked hard to apply her learning from Plan, Prepare, Provide to improve the take up of arts subjects in a secondary school where over 50% of the pupils qualify for free school meals (and where, typically, pupils enter the school with an attainment level below the national average).
Against this background, the teacher’s impact has been significant, in terms of art and design but also more widely on the uptake of creative subjects at GCSE. As a curriculum leader for the arts, she has been able to use the Postgraduate Certificate programme to produce research that demonstrates that young people in the school can excel within the arts regardless of their background. The uptake of the arts subjects in the school continues to increase.
An independent consultant noted in March 2020 (towards the end of the second year of the intervention) that ‘Art and Design enjoys a high profile in the School’ and that it ‘makes a significant contribution to the students’ cultural capital’.
Teachers taking part in a lecture for Plan Prepare Provide residential event at the University of Leeds in summer 2021
Jane Featherstone’s gift will enable many more teachers to benefit from the support of an experienced tutor, and to attend dedicated group seminars (delivered at the University on Saturdays to allow busy teachers to participate). They will also have access to our world leading libraries, studios and technical resources. This will allow the teachers to research, develop, deliver and evaluate interventions in their classrooms that will make a massive difference to the creative young people in their care.
In Autumn 2020, the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art generously agreed to support Plan Prepare Provide for the next three years. Jane's gift means that teachers can build on their experience of the three-day residential, tailor their learning to their own interests and context, and influence and support the young people in their classrooms.
Plan, Prepare, Provide and the Postgraduate Certificate in Teacher's Research and Practice provide opportunities for the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies to bring teachers together to learn from each other, support each other and make a difference to the creative futures of tens of thousands of children.
Art teachers on campus at the University of Leeds during Plan Prepare Provide 2021
“We cannot thank Jane enough for the support she has shown to the brilliant teachers that we have the benefit of working with every year.
“The Jane Featherstone Fellowship programme will enable more teachers, irrespective of background or location, to benefit from the chance to think critically about their practice and the way that they can encourage even more young people to consider a future in the creative and cultural sectors.
“We are excited to welcome our next group of teachers from schools across the UK to the Programme and to work with them and learn from them.”
Teachers sketching at the Plan Prepare Provide residential at the University of Leeds, next to Barbara Hepworth’s sculpture Dual Form.