city project

City Project

Over the last few weeks we have been creating a city in the studio.

First there were the big prints and collages by Little Art Club and Junior Art clubs. They imagined  skyscrapers and drew their own houses using monoprint techniques.


Juniors and Intermediates explored the idea of a city skyline using monoprinting techniques:

8 9

Then Little Art Club, Juniors and Intermediates started building skyscrapers with cardboard boxes and tubes:



and then explored how to create concrete colours by mixing primary colours.

Colourful chimneys were added!


Our Monday evening drawing class started the big drawing…

6 5

and the city started to take shape…


Little Art Club loved creating roads and buses to drive about the city…



city gang

The cardboard city has made a great subject for learning about perspective…



and then applying it on a large scale…


now the city is almost finished our young artists are developing monsters who are going to start to inhabit… and even destroy the city….watch this space!!


Letter 2

…a further communication with our MP about creativity in education

I believe it is disingenuous to suggest that schools/teachers/parents actively want academisation.  Academisation ultimately will allow business to run education with no involvement from parents: how can this ever be in our children’s best interests? I have not met any parents who support this (both personally and in my role as Director of The Children’s Art School).
The line ‘driving up standards’ is misleading. I can tell you that the standard of children’s ability and confidence in being creative and of hands on making and manipulating materials is going down. I can tell you as a parent that I don’t care what ‘level’ my child is at. I want to know that they are confident, can problem solve for themselves and that they are enthusiastic about learning. There are far too many children struggling with all of those things because the classroom environment and the emphasis on passive learning  to pass tests is not conducive to meaningful learning. And there are too many children being made to feel as though they are failing because their strengths do not lie in academic subjects.
You say you want what’s best for our children so I would also ask you to consider the need for our children to learn to be creative.  Perhaps you could answer these questions:
  • Why is your party actively pushing arts out of our education system?
  • Why do its policies not take into account and look to embracing our children’s differences?
  • Why do the policies not support diverse learning experiences?
  • How do you defend the way your government has actively undermined the value of creativity in our education system?
  • How do you respond to what I have said about the need for creativity in education and the need to give our children the ability to think for themselves?
I hope you will reconsider the importance of creativity in our children’s lives and education as a vital ingredient for their successful futures.

Acadamisation: bad for creativity

My letter to our local MP about the Governments proposed plans for acadamisation


I am writing to implore you not to support the governments plans for academisation. I cannot understand how the evidence provided by the existing acadamies can be taken to suggest that this is a sensible or desirable option.
I set up The Children’s Art School as a response to the under-valuing of art education and to champion and promote arts experiences as a crucial part of a our children’s education in terms of child development and well-being, in terms of developing innovative and original thinkers who have the skills to tackle whatever the future has in store for them and in terms of the future of our creative industries.
Through various roles within art education I have become increasingly worried about the lack of focus, at both primary and secondary level, on creative thinking.
I cannot understand why this government continues to place no value in teaching children to be creative. The creative sector of this country has been globally admired for decades and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport itself published  figures revealing that our creative industries are now worth £84.1 billion per year to the UK economy and generate nearly £9.6million per hour. As the creative industries continue to grow, we need to nurture the future generations of talent that this industry will need.
Teaching children and young people to be creative however is not just about creating artists and designers for the creative industries. All industries, from medicine, to computers to banking need innovators and original thinkers.

Heres a quote from our website:

A good place to start when trying to explain the value of art education is by asking ‘what does art do that maths doesn’t?’  Here are some answers:

art teaches you to make your own decisions
art teaches you to consider alternative solutions
art teaches you that mistakes can be opportunities
art teaches you to take risks
art promotes curiosity
art teaches reflective thinking
art develops problem-solving skills
art allows you to be yourself
art facilitates a sense of achievement and well-being

Creativity is crucial for our childrens futures. In order to meet the challenges that they will be faced with they will need to be INNOVATIVE. They will need to be good at PROBLEM-SOLVING and at looking for ALTERNATIVE SOLUTIONS. They will need to have the confidence to think their own thoughts and make their own decisions.
Art Education is not about encouraging all children to become artists or designers (although the creative industries do generate £8 million per hour and is the fastest growing sector of the British economy) It is about equiping children with skills that will enable them to be successful in all areas of their lives.

We are also faced with the challenge of an increasingly digital world. And yet, for young children, the opportunity to explore the physicality of the world around them is understood to be crucial. Art education for young children offers:
engagement with the physical world
exploration of materials
learning through doing
development of fine motor skills
development of communication skills
development of problem solving.

Art education allows children to experiment, to find things out for themselves, to make their own decisions and to have the confidence to take risks. Quite simply art can teach children to be  innovative.

Jason,  Acadamisation and the Ebacc support a one size fits all approach to education which is bad for our children’s development, bad for our creative industries and bad for our childrens mental health and well-being. I cannot understand what it is your government is trying to do and my fears for the future of our education system is keeping me awake at night.