Research Questions

  • How are pioneer schools and teachers are building and shaping the Expressive Arts AoLE?
  • What are the implications for disadvantaged learners and schools?
  • How does impact vary between primary and secondary teachers?

This study aims to provide insight  into the construction of one aspect of the new  curriculum (Expressive Arts AoLE) by Pioneer Lead Teachers, with a  view to gaining a  better understanding of the process and the potential implications for and impact on teachers and schools.

The introduction of Areas of Learning and Experience (AoLEs) is a key aspect of the new curriculum. AoLEs are intended to support a broad, balanced curriculum. Teaching across the usual subject boundaries is not a new idea; Kerry (2015) identifies the 1967 Plowden Report as the providing the roots for this approach. Nevertheless, this development is undoubtedly a challenge to the traditional arrangement and delivery of the curriculum for many schools and teachers. Readiness for such curricular change cannot be assumed. Savage (2000: 8) notes that cross-curricular teaching is ‘characterised by sensitivity towards, and a synthesis of, knowledge, skills and understandings from various subject areas’.  Pioneer teachers have been charged with developing the necessary synthesis and this study focuses on how these Pioneers are tackling this  challenge. 

Interest in this study stems from an existing  project at Cardiff Met, focusing on the curriculum change demanded by the introduction of AoLEs. PGCE students from different secondary school subject areas (Drama, English, Music and Welsh) have been exploring strategies for working collaboratively across traditional subject boundaries (Figure 1).

Method & Sample
Interviews with a sample of Pioneer Lead Teachers (N=10).  The sample comprises 50% of the Pioneer Leads for this AoLE group – roughly representative of the population as a whole. The interviews are semi-structured, and designed to capture data relating to areas such as the their experiences, their role and the challenges faced. 
Data capture from AoLE Group meetings.