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 will include schools from across the country, that serve inner city, rural and regional communities. We will ensure a broad spread of school populations in order to include recent immigrant and economically challenged neighbourhoods. In each school we will 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 will be drawn from Teacher 1’s and Teacher 2’s classes in equal numbers.
The research consists of three complementary strands:
(1) Interview Study
We plan to track 60 teachers over three years. Each year in each of the 30 schools we will 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 will examine their rooms, their teaching programmes and pupil work. If possible, we will watch them teach.
We will track 24 pupils across three years in each of the schools (720 students in total). In the first year, the pupil sample will come from years 10, 11 and 12. In the second year, these same pupils will be tracked through years 11, 12 and 13. In the final year, the pupils will be in years 12, 13 and post-school (14). Some of course will leave school before the third year; the aim will be to track them into work/FE/HE/unemployment through links established while they are at school. Pupils will be 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.
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 will be administered at the end of the first year (to approximately 6000 students, assuming 200 possible respondents per school).
(3) Comparison with extant data
We will use some questions in our survey that duplicate those in the Taking Part survey; this will allow us some comparative data about arts participation. We will compare key attainment data from our sample schools, including results in arts subjects, with a comparable national sample. We will compare two sets of data against national patterns (i) GCSE, AS and vocational exams data in the first round of analysis at the start of year 2 (ii) GCSE, AS, A level and vocational in the second round at the start of year 3 of the project.
Background information about the project is available in this PDF – TALE add info.