Welcome to the website of Susan M. Coles, Artist & Arts, Creativity & Educational Consultant.

Posted in Hope for the Future

I’m still enthusiastically pointing everyone in the direction of all the Arts support and anti-EBacc stuff that’s out there in the country. I am pointing to it being said at meetings, on twitter, on Facebook, on blogs, petitions, newspapers, editorials and wherever else it might be. I even had a long chat about it with a taxi driver last week….he agreed. Every time his grandson gets behind on his Maths at school, the punishment is that he isn’t allowed to do the Art and DT session. This week we have an influx of very creative videos which support the cause. The article in TES (this week) was a great summary of where we are at with this: TES article. Do read it.

But, as you can predict, I do get asked the question “What will you do if the proposed EBacc goes ahead?”. My answer is that we shall continue to form one active and very loud voice and collect evidence to support it. My answer is that the next General Election is not that far away. My answer is that I can’t even see this being implemented, and that it is riddled with faults. My answer is that I’m not giving up and I hope that everyone says the same thing. I might be living in the unpredictable shadow of Mister Gove, but pleased that I have more ethical values and moral purpose in my whole body than he has in one little toe nail.
There is a quote from Hamlet that sums this up:
“This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”
Because, if you believe in something then it becomes tangible to pursue. Not a whim, or a hope, or a dream, but a real purpose.

I had two positively good and memorable experiences last week. The first one was being the speaker and facilitator at the Arts Learning Consortium event in Manchester:
ALC event
What a lovely “audience” of Arts educators from HE, schools, cutural organisations etc. As well as trying to show exactly what the national pictures is, we explored ways that the Arts can be communicated to carers/parents, teachers, pupils and governors as a vocational route. Our conclusion was that we don’t do enough of this (in schools in particular), this being one of the reasons that girls outshine and outnumber boys in both the visual arts and the performing arts. The other important focus of the session was the need to network, locally and nationally. Social media offers opportunities here that didn’t used to exist, it’s a powerful tool for bringing like minded people together.

I think that ALC are an exemplary organisation for creating network opportunities and I must also thank them for allowing me to advocate for people to join NSEAD as well. I hope we can both continue to be active in creating those important links between people and between organisations.

I travelled to London after the Manchester event and had my second inspirational day with Art and Design subject leaders (and aspiring ones). This is one of the courses that I run for Keynote Educational.
Keynote courses
The course was designed to allow them to reflect on what makes a good leader (as opposed to manager) and to look at the need for vision to come before strategy. It was interesting that none of them had written their “vision” down before and the results were inspiring. The support they gave each other in discussion work was brilliant.

So, after a hectic week I came home, to snow and slow trains and traffic and then two days of making Art for my Sketchbook Circle work. Great to be snowed in and just making art work.
An update on this collaborative CPD project is available online at:
TEA update article

And, every time I create an image, or I see and understand one, it reinforces in me that need to make creativity an entitlement for all, in making sure that the Arts are there in the curriculum. They are absolutely essential to human development. Life is very short and we need all the fun and enjoyment that we can get.



4197 days ago

Gove has a large shadow but the direction of the sun will change one day and it won’t always shine down on him.


4196 days ago

It’s all very well to support networks but how do we access them with the lack of any art support in our areas? Our local teachers don’t seem to want to do any thing “connect”. PS- I’m based in the Lincolnshire area.


4192 days ago

Marcus- email me and I will see if we can connect you with other art educators in your area.

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