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NCAD get involved in the #StateoftheArt campaign to reform the LC Art curriculum

By Meadhbh Sinclair

NCAD has come out in support of a new campaign by second-level art teachers that encourages more creativity and freedom in the leaving certificate curriculum.

Students showing their support for the #StateofheArt campaign. Credit: Twitter

Students showing their support for the #StateoftheArt campaign. Credit: Twitter

The #StateoftheArt campaign, which was launched by the Art Teachers Association of Ireland (ATAI), has called for “urgent reform” of the curriculum in order to allow students to be more creative and innovative.

The campaign, which held a national day of action this week, saw people taking a photo of themselves with a piece of their work and posting it on social media with the caption, “If only I could have done this in Leaving Cert art #StateoftheArt.”

People were also asked to send a postcard, with an image or piece of text on it, to Minister for education Richard Bruton, and to send an online petition for reform of how art is taught.

NCAD acting director Bernard Hanratty wished the ATAI luck with the campaign, writing in the Irish Times that “it is now time for a positive emphasis on the study of Leaving Certificate art”.

NCAD Students’ Union also urged students to take part in the day of action and sign the petition.

In a statement, the ATAI said: “Despite requests, the Leaving Cert art curriculum has not been revised since 1972. Art is the most difficult of all 32 Leaving Cert subjects to achieve an A1 grade in at higher level.

“In 2016, students were four times more likely to get an A in higher level physics than in higher level art and seven times more likely to get an A in ordinary level physics than in ordinary level art,” the teachers’ association said.

The group called for greater co-operation amongst all parties involved to implement reform of the entire curriculum, not just the assessment policy.

“It is essential that the Department of Education, National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) and State Examination Commission (SEC) work together with art teachers, parent and student groups and relevant stakeholders in culture and industry to implement a new Leaving Cert curriculum, not simply assessment reform,” the ATAI said.

The group also pointed to the declining number of students taking up art at second level:  10,783 chose art in 2011, compared to 9,747 in 2016.

Famous faces such as fashion designer Brendan Courtney, performer Panti Bliss and Labour senator Ivana Bacik also threw their support behind the campaign.

The online petition currently has 2,498 signatures.

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