the RAPS project

Are the arts in trouble in English schools? Enrolments in secondary school arts subjects have fallen, and time devoted to the arts in primary schools is apparently greatly reduced. Creative teaching and learning also appears to be very patchy, with frequent media reports of schools using very ‘traditional’ methods in all subjects and for all topics. RAPS will shed light on how these issues appear in primary schools.

RAPs is actually two related research projects. The first investigates the creative arts in initial teacher education. We are conducting a national survey of ITT providers asking the question: Where and how are the arts  and creativity taught in initial teacher education in England?

The second project examines the benefits for children of being in an arts rich school. The arts rich school is one which:

offers a broad and balanced curriculum where students experience the full range of arts subjects taught by qualified and well-resourced teachers

sees the arts as integral to their organisational identity and thus offer a range of extra-curricular arts opportunities and an ongoing programme of performances and exhibitions: they also support community arts

builds and sustain a wide range of partnerships with artists and cultural organisations.

We ask:

What do arts-rich/creative primary schools offer to children? How do schools sustain this arts/creative education offer? What are the benefits for children of being in an arts rich/creative school?

Our research is a case control study of forty primary schools. The research involves a survey of children teachers and parents/carers, as well as detailed case studies.

RAPS is funded by the Freelands Foundation. The project will run from 2021-2023.