Create Aspire Transform: How can Creative Professional Development (CPD) support Creative Cultural Learning in schools?

Judy Thomas*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
16 Downloads (Pure)


Between 2018 and 2020, eight teachers were involved in a two-year programme of visual-arts focused Creative Professional Development (CPD), delivered in partnership by the organisation Berwick Visual Arts (BVA) and Northumbria University. The overall challenge was to increase cultural leadership; with broader aims to engage North Northumberland schools with BVA and to identify and understand the value of cultural engagement by creating specific artist-led programmes for teaching and learning. Contributing new insight into teacher learning, along with fresh understanding of the challenges schools face in relation to engagement with cultural learning activities, the research informing this article draws upon individual perspectives during which the provision of cultural learning within Berwick primary settings is explored. Data was collected over a two-year period, from five CPD sessions, along with action research, a focus group and semi-structured interviews with the participating teachers. This article includes extracts taken from the teachers’ reflections; these give insight into the programme’s impact and highlight the importance of confidence, along with the barriers that make cultural learning difficult to embed across schools. Their reflections reveal heightened confidence as a result of the CPD along with positive impact for pupils and the wider school community. The article concludes with recognition of the potential of the cultural sector to broker opportunities and to work closely with school leadership to develop approaches that align with curriculum and Ofsted priorities, along with suggestions for future support and best practice that can also be applied in a wider context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-141
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Art and Design Education
Issue number1
Early online date19 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022


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