Test + Learn

Question: Could arts-based pedagogy improve curriculum engagement for looked after children?


Problem: Many looked after children (children who are fostered or in the care of the local authority) experience issues with ‘attachment’ due to early years trauma and abuse. This impacts children’s ability to regulate their emotions and behaviour, which in a classroom setting might present as outbursts of challenging behaviour, acute or low-level anxiety or a myriad of other learning difficulties. Attachment affects all aspects of a looked after child’s learning and engagement with the curriculum.

Partners: Our LCEP members include Virtual Schools (the local authority department responsible for the education of looked after children), arts specialists and primary schools. We are also in conversation with  national charity PAC UK, coaching specialists RD1st, consortium specialists Your Consortium Ltd and Leeds Beckett University to support training and evaluation.

Approach: We are looking to deliver a programme where initially teachers and artists are trained by specialists to both understand attachment and learn skills in coaching. Teachers and artists would then co-produce arts-based strategies which will be tested in a classroom setting, evaluated, developed and tested again. This project is in the planning phase. 

Findings: The outcomes that our pilot will be measuring against are as follows:

  • Teachers and artists increase knowledge and understanding of attachment and coaching
  • Teachers can identify what might trigger ‘dys-regulation’ in children
  • Teachers can identify when children need to ‘regulate’
  • Teachers can employ arts-based strategies to reduce ‘dys-regulation’ and promote ‘regulation’
  • Looked after children improve attainment, reduce behavioural incidents and improve wellbeing