what are we doing?

We are conducting a cohort study based in 30 secondary (11-18) schools across England. The sample of schools comprises fifteen with teachers who have worked intensively with Tate Learning (London, St Ives or Liverpool) and fifteen who have worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company. This sample  includes schools from across the country, that serve inner city, rural and regional communities. We have ensured a broad spread of school populations in order to include recent immigrant and economically challenged neighbourhoods. In each school we focus on Teacher (1) who has worked intensively with either Tate or RSC, and Teacher (2) who has had much less involvement. The pupil sample in each site has been drawn from Teacher 1’s and Teacher 2’s classes in equal numbers.

The research consists of three complementary strands:

(1) Interview Study

We are tracking 60 teachers over three years. Each year in each of the 30 schools we ask Teacher 1 and Teacher 2 questions about their own participation in the arts, both recreational and professional; their perception of benefits to their students and to themselves; professional development and work related benefits and ambitions. We examine their rooms, their teaching programmes and pupil work. Where possible, we watch them teach.

We are tracking 24 pupils across three years in each of the schools (720 students in total). In the first year, the pupil sample comes from years 10, 11 and 12. In the second year, these same pupils have been tracked through years 11, 12 and 13. In the final year, the pupils are in years 12, 13 and post-school (14). Some of course will leave school before the third year; our aim is to track them into work/FE/HE/unemployment through links established while they are at school. Pupils are interviewed in twos and threes once a year, to find out about: their participation in the arts in school and in extra-curricular activities, their recreational involvement in arts activities, their perception of any benefits they might gain from this engagement (e.g. ‘soft’ skills, wellbeing, citizenship), any jobs they do and their ambitions and intentions regarding work.

(2) Survey

We are surveying all students in years 10, 11 and 12 in all 30 schools to develop a broader dataset about their engagement in arts and cultural activities: we want to know what arts activities they actually do, what it means to them, why they do it and what they learn from it. This survey was administered at the end of the second year and the beginning of the third (to approximately 6000 students, assuming 200 possible respondents per school).

(3) Comparison with extant data

We are using some questions in our survey that duplicate those in the Taking Part survey; this allows us some comparative data about arts participation.

Background  information about  the project is available in this PDF – TALE add info.

One thought on “what are we doing?

  1. I love what you are doing. I think that Shakespeare needs to be studied as a performance rather than a publication. Every Shakespeare enthusiast will agree that the bards work should be seen and not read.
    Even so, we have found through our workshops that some of the students we have worked with do not engage with the text as well as others.

    We have found our own solution. I wonder if this could be of any help to you?


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