The Arts Backpack UK - Fife pilot
Today marks the release of the final report for The Arts Backpack UK - Fife pilot. This report evaluates our preliminary pilot of The Arts Backpack UK, which we ran in Fife, Scotland from October 2020 - March 2021. Click here to download the report.
The key findings of the report are:
- The Arts Backpack UK can successfully foster arts and culture in areas where children may experience barriers to provision.
- The Arts Backpack UK has a clear value for the teacher and their professional development and confidence.
- The Arts Backpack UK can be presented as being about the art-forms, or as a way of engaging with curriculum topics, or a well-being agenda.
- Local partners (teachers and cultural organisations) can help co-design the contents and influence its make-up according to each location.
This pilot builds on our 2018 Feasibility Study, testing the recommendations of that study in context. We worked in five schools in the Fife Coalfields area with children in classes P4 to P7 (aged 8-11). At the beginning of the project, our plans did not anticipate the full extent of the second wave of Covid-19 and the new lockdown restrictions which meant that children were being home-schooled from January to March 2021. As a result of this, the pilot was largely redesigned to be delivered online.
The pilot demonstrated the value of The Arts Backpack UK for teachers, as well as their pupils. All of the teachers who engaged with the project noted how their confidence in delivering arts and cultural activities had increased over the course of the project. Their feedback about student response was also positive:
They were able to see pieces of art that they wouldn’t normally get to see, especially during COVID. Children were keen to go and look further on the websites to see other pieces of art. (About a Magic Lantern Art activity)
Children who normally would stay quiet and avoid music tasks were smiling and engaging and the children enjoyed sharing their creations with their peers and the staff. (About Google Chrome Music Lab)
They enjoyed being able to tell a story, that they created, in a different way. Other children liked that they could be more creative than they would in a standard piece of writing and that there were no right or wrong ways to create their comic book. (About V&A Dundee 'Create a Comic Book')
Many thanks to all the teachers and pupils who took part in the project and contributed to this report. Thank you to the young people at Chickenshed Theatre and the readers of First News for their valuable contributions to pilot planning. Our thanks also to the Worshipful Company of Haberdashers and Fife City Council for their generous financial support.
We are currently planning a second-phase of pilots to take place in the 21/22 academic year.