A new Teacher Art Pass has been launched by the Art Fund charity giving free entry to hundreds of museums, galleries and historical houses.
It follows research by the charity which found that many pupils don’t have the opportunity to access museums and galleries with just 52% of less privileged students visiting a museum in the past year, compared to 70% of those with more advantage.
The data, collected from more than 1,000 children between the ages of six and 15 also found a regional disparity with pupils from London (75%) significantly more likely to have visited a museum in the past year compared to those living in the Midlands or Wales (57%) and Northern England or Scotland (60%).
In addition, research by the national charity for art, found that a third of teachers across the country are taking pupils to museums less than before the pandemic.
“We want them to experience as much as possible to add to their understanding of the curriculum because it’s those things that they remember.”
Adam Creen, secondary school teacher
To help tackle the issue, and better connect teachers and museums, Art Fund has launched the Teacher Art Pass . From £25 a year, the Teacher Art Pass offers all the benefits of Art Fund’s National Art Pass at a highly subsidised price for teachers including free entry to hundreds of museums, galleries and historical houses, up to 50% off exhibitions and guidance on what to visit.
Jenny Waldman, director of Art Fund said: “Children’s ability to enjoy museums, galleries and historical places shouldn’t be determined by their socio-economic status or geographical location.
“We want to support teachers, who play such a vital role in pupils’ lives, and we know that visiting museums can also help improve their own wellbeing. By connecting more teachers with museums and galleries, we can boost all children’s access to cultural experiences, inspiring teachers and their pupils and improving education outcomes for all.”
In a pilot scheme involving 1,000 teachers, 85% reported finding the benefits of museum visiting useful to their teaching practice, in turn improving educational outcomes for pupils.
How does the Art Pass work?
Registered UK teachers who are Art Fund members are eligible to apply for the Teacher Art Pass which gives free or reduced price entry to more than 250 places as well as 50% off major exhibitions. It’s just for the individual teacher but there is the option to add a ‘Plus One’ and ‘Plus Kids’ for children in your family under the age of 16.
A teacher’s perspective
Adam Creen has been head of maths at a secondary school in Surrey for 23 years. He told us since getting his Teacher Art Pass around five months ago he has visited a number of museums and galleries which have provided inspiration for his lessons and teaching.
He said: “I love using visual ideas in my teaching. For example, I visited the National Gallery for a huge exhibition on Dürer featuring engravings not shown in Britain before including the famous Melencolia. It has some mathematical shapes as well as a magic square which is an investigation I do with my students.
“As teachers we face a range of challenges which can lead to our own wellbeing being side-lined. It’s vitally important we prioritise opportunities to recharge our energy in order to deliver our best work. I found the Teacher Art Pass really helped with this, allowing me to discover new places for free or a discounted rate.”
We asked Adam why it was so important to get children learning outside the classroom. He told us: “As the research from the Art Fund shows there are a whole range of reasons why families don’t get to a museum from one year to the next so it’s really important for us to do our bit.
“Its all about adding to the curriculum, for example when Year 8 are studying castles, for them to visit a castle brings the curriculum alive. We want them to experience as much as possible to add to their understanding of the curriculum because it’s those things that they remember, those experiences stay with them.
Teachers can find more information and get their Teacher Art Pass at https://www.artfund.org/teacher-art-pass