For many people working in schools these are dark days. Everything is being changed. Many of the changes seem to be made on purely ideological grounds. But spare a thought for our colleagues who teach the artistic areas of the curriculum. Less and less children will have access to these amazing subjects if schools react and follow the government’s arms length control measures (changes to league tables). Unfortunately the phrase, ‘a broad and balanced curriculum’ is one which is being ignored by policy makers
So, here at History Resource Cupboard we think it is our duty to help to continue to develop young people’s appreciation of art through our history lessons. We have fingertip access to a treasure chest of brilliant pieces of art work (search google images, go onto museum and art gallery websites to find these hidden gems). Many of which have deep historical meaning which all kids can access as the literacy barrier doesn’t hinder them. Check out Ford Maddox Brown’s ‘Work’ to give you a cross section of city life in the mid 19th century. The image was found on Wikipedia.
Not only is it important that we give our youngsters access to the wonderful world of art, we also have a duty to develop this understanding through what Ofsted describe as SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social, Cultural development). If a school does not provide enough of these opportunities, it can fail an ofsted inspection.
So, despite the darkness of the times, help bring light into your lessons by using more paintings!
If you want ideas for which paintings we love to use and how to use them read this article on our teaching ideas pages.