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  • 19 Nov 2017

Involving Senior Leaders

In the blog below, Nichola Clarke, Teacher Development Project Coordinator for Into Film, describes how their project enabled teachers to use the arts and arts-based processes not only in literacy and numeracy, as initially planned, but also in their every day practice in and beyond the school curriculum.


In 2016, Into Film, in partnership with the Nerve Centre, received a grant from Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s Teacher Development Fund to pilot a film-based CPDL initiative for primary teachers with the aim of supporting schools to embed learning through the arts in the curriculum. Ten primary schools working with disadvantaged and/or vulnerable pupils across Northern Ireland (NI) were recruited. The project, entitled Full STEAM Ahead, introduced film-based approaches to literacy and numeracy and was delivered to two Key Stage 2 teachers and one senior leader from each school. A delivery model was designed consisting of termly teacher development days, school support days with an arts practitioner, resources and a final sharing event.

Involving Senior Leaders

Throughout the project senior leaders have visited each teacher’s classroom to see a film lesson being delivered. The lasting impact of the project is reflected in how the senior leaders have recognised the success of the approach and immediately incorporated film watching and filmmaking into the school development plan. Meetings with senior leaders revealed that they were eager to embed film into other areas of the school, for example to support pupil wellbeing,

The first year of the pilot was busy and rewarding for all involved and Full STEAM Ahead proved to be a great investment for participating schools. Initially, teachers gained skills in using film as a tool for literacy and filmmaking to support numeracy lessons, however, it wasn’t long before it began to show that film was becoming embedded in the wider school curriculum. Teachers were beginning to integrate learning through the arts in their everyday practice such as using film for shared education schemes, anti-bullying initiatives, as well as other areas of the curriculum. Teaching frameworks and supporting resources were developed and shared with teachers to assist embedding learning through the arts in the curriculum. The ‘think, plan, create, evaluate’ framework and worksheets were designed to support film making activities but proved such a successful approach that some teachers used the approach and resources in other areas of the curriculum.


By the end of the first pilot year senior leaders were eager to continue embedding learning through the arts in the curriculum by supporting the dissemination of new skills throughout their school, to enable access for all pupils to film-based learning. A continuation pilot year was designed around this with a focus on increasing teacher confidence and autonomy. Now at the end of Year 2 Term 1, teachers are on their way to becoming established as film leaders within their school staff and are working towards disseminating their skills to colleagues in an end of year CPD session.



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