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So fed up...Arts takeup at GCSE and A level is dismal..having to teach 'Twilight sessions'

(10 Posts)
missmakesstuff Thu 21-Mar-13 20:27:45

I am a HOD in a boys grammar. Numbers for Art have never been great, things have steadily been getting worse for the last 4 years, when I started there the results were bad and they have improved, but the numbers have dropped at GCSE, partially due to the harder work the boys are having to do, higher expectations etc - but generally subjects that aren't 'academic' are suffering a lot anyway. We have just been told our numbers at GCSE are 24 for for next year, the lowest ever, and the A level takeup as a result is getting worse - 5 students last year, 7 this year...
So got told today that our only choice is to pull the course at A level or teach it after school, 8 hrs between two teachers over a fortnight. This apparently means that I would get 2 hrs free during the day - but I know in practice this hasn't happened in other departments where they have had to do this, some teacher shave had 6-7 hrs straight teaching a day. The reasoning was 'you are always here late anyway'...

FFS, I just feel so fed up on so many counts - the unpopularity of the subject, the prospect of the GCSE and A level being dropped if it doesn't get better, then thats my job..

Also I am now looking at one night a week having to teach, when I am only just keeping on top of things doing as much work as I can at school till 5ish, 6 some nights, one night going on time and then another hour or two every night at home.., plus the odd weekend of a few hours of marking around this time and holidays of course - I have a young DD and we are TTC - I just can't see how this is going to make life any easier for us at home.

Looking for practical ideas to get the boys interested in doing the subject (and parents! who seem to think there is no future in it - they are wrong!) and just to have a rant really....

fridayfreedom Thu 21-Mar-13 20:50:21

You are right to rant , as someone who went to a grammar school many years ago I share your frustration. We were pushed into "academic" subjects when I would have loved to do art. As a frustrated artist I am now actively supporting my DD with her GCSES art and now A level graphic and textile art.
The work involved is very skilled and varied, looking at other artists, visits to exhibitions, galleries, not to mention organisation and planning skills, all hugely useful life skills.
We need future artists to enhance our lives and I get frustrated by people looking down on art as a soft option!
As for your students , surely they should be given equal opportunities and should not be treated as second class and expected to stay late after school and all teachers should have their subjects treated with respect.

sashh Fri 22-Mar-13 03:49:18

Why is there still this, 'keep that as a hobby' when it comes to art, dance, drama etc.

No, a big fat no, you can go back to academic study anytime, not the other way round.

Arts (any of them) use different parts of the brain, they enrich your life and learning and allow you to see academic subjects from a different point of view.

No future in art - how many millions has Tracy Emin made?

IMHO boys are quite money orientated, maybe look at the money side of things, and jobs that are only available to artists or where art is a big component, things like reconstructing a face from a skull.

Not one thing that has been man made has not been designed by someone. Cars, houses, chairs, kitchens, bacon packaging, footballs, cricket bats.

Have they seen a pixar film? Do they think the computers draw those images without human input?

What about Dr Who - who creates monsters, backgrounds, costumes etc. What impression do the costumes give? Why does the current Dr wear a watch that doesn't work?

Sorry I'm still raging from not being allowed to do an Art Foundation course 30 years ago. And doing Art in a department that ran out of paper half way through the term!

wild Fri 22-Mar-13 04:52:36

open day? write to a well known artist to come and talk, aim high, you never know? photography option? invite previous year group and parents to end of year show of work, make a real occasion of it?

Phineyj Fri 22-Mar-13 17:33:41

Hmmm art is very popular at our grammar, mind you we are majority girls in the sixth form. Want to come and visit, see if there are any good ideas you can borrow?

Phineyj Fri 22-Mar-13 17:35:11

Just a thought, getting designers, engineers and architects in to explain why art helps those disciplines may play well with boys & parents?

missmakesstuff Sat 23-Mar-13 08:08:45

Hi all - thanks so much for the support and ideas. I am feeling less glum - we had a family funeral yesterday and the news had come at the end of a bad wek anyway.

Phineyj - thanks - that would be wonderful - I have tried to get in contact with local schools and they are just not interested - most say yes, come along, then never get back to me when I suggest dates - we are all so busy! Whereabouts are you? We are in the SE.

My first thought was to ask parents and staff if they know designers etc - so I will do that, for the current year 9/10 to get them thinking about the subject.

We are getting a new building soon, with a lovely new art studio, which I am hoping will revive things a bit - along with a kiln, which I am ridiculously excited about - so hoping to get lots of ceramics going with all year groups, with lots in the GCSE and A level courses, as it does seem to appeal to boys.

Will keep thinking...I am down about it but everyone I have spoken to is saying it is not just us - theatre studies and other subjects like that have lost numbers, music had to be pulled altogether a while back.

Phineyj Thu 28-Mar-13 18:08:43

We are in Kent. PM me and I will let you know where.

orangeandlemons Sun 31-Mar-13 14:58:49

I teach a twilight. It is exhausting. However I do get 2 free lessons to compensate for it, when I can go home if I want. Those 2 free lessons make a world of difference tbh

Amiria Wed 19-Jun-13 13:15:26

Hi Missmakesstuff,
Having parents discount the subject is very common... sad
I have just written an article outlining reasons why students should study art in high school, which you might be interested in! Good luck!

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