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Arts Across the Curriculum (AAC)

Key Aims of AAC
Participating local authorities
The Chicago experience

The Scottish Arts Council, in partnership with the Future Learning and Teaching (FLaT) team from the New Educational Developments (NED) division of SEED and seven local authority education departments has launched Arts Across the Curriculum (AAC), a national arts education research project. At its heart, the project is an innovative approach to teaching, combining the skills of artist and teacher to inspire learning and bring the curriculum to life. It has been inspired by a project in Chicago that we have been studying for some years.

The key aims of Arts Across the Curriculum

  • increase pupils’ achievement, particularly in understanding, in identified subject areas across the curriculum
  • increase pupils’ motivation to learn
  • support and develop the skills of teachers to work collaboratively and creatively
  • encourage links between different areas of learning and erode subject barriers
  • improve the ethos of the school
  • explore the efficacy of the expressive arts as a delivery mechanism across the curriculum

The participating local authorities

  • Aberdeen City Council
  • Dumfries and Galloway Council
  • East Ayrshire Council
  • East Renfrewshire Council
  • Glasgow City Council
  • South Lanarkshire Council
  • West Lothian Council

The Chicago experience

For seven years the Scottish Arts Council has been following the progress of an  innovative arts in education programme in schools in Chicago, USA. Particularly strong links have been made with the Lakeview Arts Education Partnership (LEAP) and their project, Arts Impacting Achievement.

The project originally set out to reduce truancy by bringing artists into schools to work with inner-city school pupils who suffer markedly high levels of economic and social deprivation. The success of this early project led to an investigative study of the outcomes of embedding the arts more radically into learning and teaching.

The collaboration of artists of all disciplines and teachers in the planning and delivery of learning across the curriculum is now well established in several Chicago schools. In practice this means that for example, dancers are collaborating in the teaching of mathematics, drama specialists and musicians are team teaching history and visual artists are involved in English language teaching.

The Chicago model has achieved some remarkable results in educational terms:

  • improved school attendance,
  • enhanced school ethos,
  • enrichment of learning and understanding,
  • improved pupil motivation and
  • better test results.


See also
* Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education
* Future Learning and Teaching
* Chicago Teacher's Center
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